Why SMBs shouldn’t ignore data backup and disaster recovery

Sponsored By: HP

Small and mid-size businesses rely on data just as much as larger enterprises, but they typically don’t have access to the same tools and expertise — particularly when it comes to protecting that data.

But the threat landscape (whether a security breach, natural disaster or unplanned downtime) has the same effect on a business, big or small. It means lost productivity, lost revenue and possibly even damage to the company’s reputation. That means SMBs require data backup and recovery, just like larger enterprises.

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Indeed, improving data backup and recovery was the most-cited IT priority of mid-market organizations for 2014, according to a survey by Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG). “As SMBs go about modernizing their production environment, they are forced to recognize that they are using inadequate approaches to protect the data in it,” says ESG.

SMBs no longer have simple, homogenous environments. Data resides within a variety of platforms across the organization and on endpoint devices, in remote offices or in the cloud. But, unlike larger enterprises, they’re unlikely to have IT experts on staff to troubleshoot outages.

Yet, according to various IDC customer-based studies, the average mid-size company experiences 15 to 18 business hours of network, system or application downtime each year (caused by anything from aging components that fail to weather-related outages). When employees, partners and customers can’t connect to the business, losses per hour average US$75,000, says IDC.

But there are options available to SMBs that don’t require investing in scaled-down enterprise technologies. IDC says solutions that improve system management, protect data assets and strengthen network security can reduce outages by as much as 87 per cent.

Backup solutions (whether tape, cloud or storage pool) allow SMBs to recover data according to specific timeframes. Archiving, on the other hand, is more about preserving content, particularly for regulatory compliance purposes. Data should also be replicated, meaning it lives in more than one location, as part of a disaster recovery plan. Business continuity means that data is always available, regardless of the nature of the outage.

Most vendors and industry analysts recommend a three-pronged approach that includes tape, disk and cloud. Tape is ideal for long-term preservation, while disk provides agility and cloud offers business continuity and disaster recovery (as well as endpoint backup). Virtualization is another option to consider, since data residing on virtual machines can boost both protection and restoration.

Proactive monitoring, scanning and alerting can help to identify potential problems before they occur (such as intercepting a device that’s failing) and ultimately improve uptime.

SMBs might consider data backup and recovery to be yet another expense they can’t afford. But minor investments in updated infrastructure and data loss prevention technologies can avoid major expenses down the road — from lost productivity to lost credibility —and keep business humming even during outages and disasters.


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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

Sponsored By: HP