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Scaling Backup and Disaster Recovery to the SMB

Date posted: 29th September 2015

Small and mid-size businesses rely on business critical data and applications as much as the enterprise. Many though are lacking the talent pool or expertise in order to execute an appropriate Backup and Disaster Recovery strategy. The spread of Cloud Backup and Backup-as-a-Service are making the solutions more affordable than ever for SMB and threat landscape is the same effects on business large or small.

Lost productivity, lost revenue and possibly even damage to the company’s brand. These can happen to any company thus Cloud and Disaster Recovery strategy should remain on top of mind for SMB as well.

SMBs no longer have simple, single platform environments. Data resides within a variety of platforms across the organization and on endpoint devices, BYOD,  in remote offices or in the cloud platforms. But, unlike larger enterprises, they’re unlikely to have IT experts on full-time 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.