Getting a grip on managing data

Summary:Like their large counterparts, SMBs also deal with mounting data. The good news is storage tools are available to help ease the load.

The data management challenges that an SMB has are not that different from that of a large enterprise. Incidents that threaten a large company's ability to continue operations, such as loss of data, viruses and network attacks, can just as easily cripple a small business if proper security measures are not put in place.

But the biggest challenge for any SMB is the pressure to keep the business up and running 24-7 under tight budget constraints. This is even more crucial when one considers the fact that an SMB may not have internal IT support.

The practice of preserving the availability of data, such that it can be captured, distributed, and protected automatically, as well as recovered and backed up in the event of data loss is critical. This challenge is compounded as the amount of data a company has to handle grows every day.

According to an October 2004 report by the Yankee Group, 86 percent of SMBs surveyed worldwide identified managing explosive data growth as an issue. The same report stated 26 percent of SMBs were under pressure to comply with data retention and security regulations, and were looking at storage technologies that protect the integrity of business data.

Weed out complexity
How then should an SMB start designing a data protection strategy?

Vendors that ZDNet Asia spoke to recommend keeping things simple.

Ashwini Bhatnagar, sales program manager, SMB and commercial accounts, Asia-Pacific and Japan, HP, said that SMBs need to have a plan that keeps out complexity and:

  • identifies possible threats to their business;

  • has a backup and recovery procedure to ensure business continuity is possible in the event of a failure;

  • has procedures to use these backups; and

  • has a way to maintain on an ongoing basis accurate and up-to-date information.

Gene Nagle, manager of pre-sales engineering, at Overland Storage Asia-Pacific, agreed. "SMBs need improved data protection techniques, but they need tools that are very easy to install and understand, tools that don't require major changes in procedures. They can't afford the time out for a steep learning curve on a new product or procedure," he said.

For starters, the company could look at three key objectives, suggested Bhatnagar. Firstly, it could look at the recovery time objective, and ascertain how fast it needs to recover data should an outage occur. A second objective would be the recovery point--establishing how recent the recovered data has to be.

Topics: SMBs, CXO, Hardware, Storage

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