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Be paranoid about data. You can buy new boxes, rebuild the systems, reinstall software etc., but you cannot rebuild lost data” – Steve Burrows, IT director of Vanilla Group state in a column for Computer Weekly.

Any small to medium enterprise that is not willing to invest in data backup is at risk of losing their data. Losing important information can be catastrophic for your business.  Remember that data is the second important asset after the employees and it is the lifeline of any organization.

It is a myth that SMEs do not generate the same amount of data as large companies; hence there is no need for data security. Keep in mind that whether your enterprise is small, medium or big, it needs the same kind of data security to ensure that all the important business data are recovered in time. A survey conducted by London Chamber of Commerce reports that the 90 percent of the enterprises that are careless about their data are out of business within couple of years.

China launched its very first cloud-based distributed data center, Zhengzhou Hi-tech Zone, on April 27, 2010. Currently, they have around 3,000 companies and more than 90 percent of which are SMEs. The data bank at the Hi-tech Zone provides online data storage and recovery management not only for small businesses, but also for individual players. In China, the emerging cloud computing technology is playing a key role in small to medium enterprises and also among the individual users.

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Are SMBs liberal enough in spending on IT solutions to secure their data?

One of the mistakes made by most of the SMEs is that they think their data is safe and things cannot go bad. They are simply not willing to look beyond the horizon. Many of the firms still use the archaic methods of data backup and they assume that the data is safe in case of data disaster.  However, the truth is that your data is not 100 percent secure unless it encrypted.

Many SMEs do not invest in data backup because they feel it is an unnecessary expenditure that they cannot afford. In a recent survey, conducted by a disaster recovery company Acronis, revealed that one-third of SMEs do not have offsite backup and disaster recovery strategy. The survey also reported that 71 percent of the enterprises which have virtual servers do not take pains to backup the data as often as their physical servers. However, David Blackman, the GM at Acronis is optimistic that small to medium enterprises will work on their data disaster management as cloud computing becomes prominent in that sector.

Glendon Lee, Head of Campaigns at the Business Continuity Institute reminds the SMEs that they should stick to their data recovery plans while migrating to the cloud data backup. SMEs should ask their cloud vendor how secure is their data, where their data would be stored and what would happen to their data in case the vendor closes down his service. He also mentioned that “It’s important that small businesses ask them what their business continuity arrangements are, and where their business would be in its queue of priorities.”

Is Data De-duplication a Remedy for Protecting Business Data?

Deduplication is a technique of identifying redundant data in a data repository and substituting the reference pointers for these data for storage capacity optimization. For instance, if a 5MB PowerPoint presentation is copied to 100 users it will take 500MB of storage space on an Exchange server. Imagine what would be the situation if every week 500MB of data is backed up and this continues for a year. Don’t you think it is a waste of storage space? Deduplication storage systems are used for data backup and disaster recovery. Here we look at how data deduplication benefits the SMEs.

  • Reduction in backup storage capacity requirements – Introducing data deduplication will drastically reduce the cumulative backend storage by 98 percent.
  • Increase in Data Integrity – data deduplication reduces the overall cost of data protection. The retrieval of the data also becomes easier and faster.
  • Reduced Bandwidth Usage – Data deduplication will reduce the bandwidth required to send data over networks by approximately 90 percent.

Many SMEs were reluctant to use data deduplication because they felt it cannot be included in their data protection strategy due to cost factor. However, of late, cost of proprietary hardware deduplication products are priced keeping mind the SMES/SMBs. Today there are many software only deduplication that allow the work station data to be deduplicated, thus making it attractive to organization of all sizes.

One of the biggest assets of any business is its information and no business would want to fail due to data breach. Therefore, it would be wise to invest in data backup and restoration strategies.

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