Small businesses face the same basic data protection
challenges as large businesses. The
dangers and potential costs of unprotected data can easily be catastrophic. Unfortunately, small business IT departments,
if they have one, have far fewer resources to address the problem then larger
businesses. According to an established
IT research firm, 46% of small businesses have less than 4 IT or less and 60%
have a storage budget of less than $50,000.
Most small businesses I talked spend significantly less.
the same distributed data protection challenges that plague larger
companies. As branch offices proliferate
and employees spend more and more time on the road or working from home,
critical business data is being created and stored, usually on a laptop or
desktop, away from the main office.
Being a small business doesn’t save a health care company or
brokerage firm from having its data retention polices audited by regulators. Litigation can happen to anyone. Earthquakes, blackouts, fires, and hurricanes
don’t discriminate between small and large firms. Losing data and then having to recreate it
from scratch are enormous.
A recent Computerworld survey of IT professionals found that
of those who reported data loss in the previous six months, 50 percent said the
data was lost from desktops, and 24 percent said the loss was from branch
Most small businesses use tape backup as their primary means
of protecting their valuable corporate data.
What is really interesting is most tape backups routinely fail. Enterprise Strategy Group estimates that 60%
of traditional backups fail. Small
businesses rarely have the time or expertise to test their backups.
Several years ago, my laptop was stolen from my car during a
dinner meeting. At the time, the company
used a manual process requiring employees to copy their documents to the
network. I followed this process for a
few weeks and then stopped doing it. I
lost three months worth of data and it was a painful, time consuming, and embarrassing
process to recover my documents.
What is the alternative?
With more and more people working remotely, on site tape backups or
manual processes are costly to implement and unreliable. There are low cost alternatives that automate
the backup process and store the data securely offsite. On-demand remote backup allows businesses to
backup data without the associated capital costs with pricing based on the
amount of data protected. Costs are
usually a $3 – 4 per GB per month.
On-demand remote backup is simple to implement and the
backups occur automatically as long as your computer is connected to the
internet. The first backup generally
takes several hours because this backup includes all of your business
documents. My initial backup was 1.5 GB
and it took about 2 hours. Subsequent
backups only include new or changed files and typically takes less than 10
A lot of people are interested in this service but are
concerned about security. Good services
use 128-bit encryption and only authorized people can access the data.
There are many on-demand remote backup services. Our company uses Arsenal’s remote backup
service which is $9.99/3 GB/month/person.
The service takes about 30 minutes to setup and there is no on-going