As 2009 gets into full swing, many SMBs are thinking about their 2009 resolutions. Symantec has created a list of the top five resolutions they expect SMBs will make when it comes to better managing their information and infrastructure.
To help you decide if these should be on your own list of resolutions, we asked IT expert Chris Zawacki, Partner at Greenhouse IT, to give a quick explanation of each and some suggested questions to ask your own IT consultant.
1. I will reduce complexity: Today the average SMB manages four or more different data protection methods to meet backup and recovery requirements. SMBs will implement a simplified data protection approach that reduces the management of their backup infrastructure, increases reliability, and provides the resources to help them maximize their investment.
It’s of great importance that SMBs have a comprehensive data backup and recovery plan in place; it’s equally important that they ensure it’s managed appropriately and tested periodically to confirm reliability.
- To what degree is our current backup solution managed?
- Is there an on-going program to test the reliability of the solution?
- I’d like to understand the degree to which we have a business continuity plan currently in place; also, are there things we can do to reduce the likelihood of needing to implement one?
2. I will maximize my IT resources: SMBs are challenged with limited resources to manage rapidly increasing amounts of data, which can lead to increased data security risks, more downtime, and less regulatory compliance. It is no surprise that improving data availability, recovery, and storage utilization will be among the top concerns for SMBs in 2009.
It’s important to discuss your work culture with your IT advisors; understand the critical data set your staff has to have access to and make sure there is appropriate infrastructure in place to store it and a management plan to care for it.
- How is our network storage monitored and managed now?
- Based on our business type (e.g., large graphic file storage), do we have an appropriate storage solution in place?
- Regarding email, what retention policies should we have in place for storing emails? From a legal perspective, how long do we want to store emails? From a compliance perspective, what does our business entity/industry require? (e.g., public companies or those that are HIPAA compliant, will need to consult with experts in their fields to determine the archival requirements)
3. I will stop wasting my server space: Many SMBs are experiencing a strain on their existing servers. In 2009, they will put an increased focus on consolidating space and lowering costs. Many SMBs will turn to virtualization to accomplish this task.
There are many new technologies that are rapidly becoming generally accepted by the mainstream SMB market that can help streamline your network infrastructure and address server storage space and management. It’s important to understand what options you have currently and how fully those options have developed to date. This will help in making the best short and long term decisions for your business.