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Thinking inside the box

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Using the Cloud – Is there no silver lining?

Did you know a full capacity data centre uses the same amount of electricity as more than 100,000 homes? Worldwide what has become known as the Cloud uses a network of millions and millions of computer servers in order to operate.

When you look at the worldwide picture, globally the Cloud is responsible for 1.5% of all greenhouse gas emissions – that’s one million tons a year according to a recent BBC Panorama programme. This is all from an industry that did not even exist two decades ago.

As a business operating in the storage industry but dealing with paper documents upon which data is stored, rather than the digital equivalent, we take a keen interest in other methods of storage and this is particularly true when we see companies making the decision to switch from the more traditional methods of storage to “The Cloud”.

The very word Cloud feels ethereal and unreal, and few give much thought to the physical energy it uses and the resultant carbon emissions. Consequently the environmental footprint of data centres is becoming a big issue.

There is no doubt that the Cloud has changed the way we live; whether working from home or conducting Zoom calls, we see the benefits of online working that helps to cut the amount of travel we have to do and therefore saves energy. Not many stop to think about the machinery whirring around beneath the surface making all this possible, but actually creating greenhouse gases. Research shows that a five minute search on the Internet uses as much energy as boiling a kettle for a cup of tea.

Talking of tea, water is another huge resource consumed by the growing number of data centres across the planet. In Arizona’s Salt River Valley huge chunks of the desert have been transformed into more than 40 data centres and they have been granted water allowances of more than one billion litres a year to keep the servers cool. With water levels already falling thanks to drought and climate change, the numerous data processing centres are becoming a further drain on the supply.

Closer to home the growth of the Cloud is seeing communities coming under pressure. There are now more than 70 data centres in Ireland using 14% of the country’s electricity and this is projected to increase to 30% by 2030 with implications for environment and housing.

The impact of the Cloud on people’s lives is also becoming an issue in the UK as well. The Greater London Authority has said that new data centres mushrooming across the area are restricting the amount of electricity that will be available to new homes in the London area. Last summer millions of customers faced a hose pipe ban, but data centres still continued to have their supply. The building of new homes in Staines is being put on hold as the building of new data centres takes precedence.

It’s not all doom and gloom. Recently it was announced that a local swimming pool in Devon would benefit from the heat generated by a new data centre being built next door to it.

The Cloud has brought so many positives to our lives with undreamed of resources at our finger tips day and night. However it is also becoming an environmental problem that we are all making worse; a power and water guzzling network that is never switched off. We need to think about what we can do and take some responsibility. Most of us think nothing of storing 1000s of photos on our phones, keeping old messages and failing to delete read emails. Think about the costs of what you store!

Devising a plan that will give you the best prices for storage is something Filofile can assist you with when it comes to hard copy documents that you don’t want to digitise and trust to the Cloud. We are a business that understands how to store your files safely and when the time comes provides comprehensive destruction of redundant documents and records when they are no longer needed.

Documents are shredded into an enclosed container that is then baled and taken for recycling ensuring the maximum environmental benefit in terms of sustainability and efficient utilisation of resources. We issue certificates of destruction to ensure your audit trail is complete.

There is no fear that your documents are going to be stored in some remote location hundreds of miles away. With your files stored safely in one of our locally based climate controlled secure facilities that are monitored 24/7 you can be sure your documents will be in safe hands. We use a comprehensive barcode indexing technology to track your files which can be integrated seamlessly into any records management processes you have in place.

If you are working remotely, Filofile is able to deliver documents straight to your home based office when necessary. Our cost effective service lets you store your documents in a state of the art facility that is secure, discreet and linked to Police and Fire services, as well as being ISO 9001 compliant, adding an extra layer of security as compared to storing your own records on-site or in a storage unit.

All your documents are securely filed and available when you need them. There is a next day delivery service for document retrieval as standard and an emergency service for those crucial moments when you need a record in a hurry. Give us a call today on 0845 6027006 or send us a message here to see how we may be able to help your organisation.

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