Creating a Small Business Storage Strategy
With the amount of routine data being generated by most businesses continuing to grow seemingly exponentially, creating a storage strategy--policies and procedures for storing, accessing and backing up your company's critical business data--is an important function in the successful operation of your business.
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Most small businesses also have team members who routinely work outside of the office or network environment, complicating the company's ability to identify how data is being generated, let alone creating an effective small business storage strategy for protecting it.
More Than Technology
While the technology options for managing a small company's storage needs continue to grow, choosing the right one depends on more than just choosing the hottest or flashiest storage technologies.
Instead, you have to think about the types of data your company generates on a routine basis, how important that data is to the success of your business, and the applications used to produce that data to help design the best small business storage strategy.
For instance, your customer and financial data are among the company's most important assets, so it makes sense that you'd spend the most time worrying about storing and backing up that information.
Choosing Storage Devices
Fortunately, there is a variety of storage tools to help you safeguard important data. Most storage pros consider a company's different needs when designing a storage strategy, and align the ways data needs to be accessed with the most efficient tools for doing so.
For instance, the most recent or important data will likely be stored directly on the network or in shared online repositories. Older or less critical data can be shifted over time to external devices for archiving. It'll be available if you need it, but you can free immediate-access capacity for more important data.
Popular storage devices among small businesses include:
- Direct attached storage. This generally involves a large-capacity external hard drive (generally 1 to 3 terabytes) that's, as the name implies, connected directly to a PC. File backups can be performed manually or according to a schedule. This can be an inexpensive strategy, but is best suited for only a couple of computing devices.
- Networked attached storage. Perhaps the most common option among small businesses, network attached storage involves an external device that's connected to a company's server. This allows team members to access the storage device through the server.
- Online storage. An option that's gaining traction in the small business market, online storage offers the convenience of automatic backups as well as the ability of team members to share files easily. Data from a company's computing devices can be backed up and shared whenever a device connects to the Internet, making the process seamless.
Business owners evaluating their storage needs are also considering hybrid devices that include backup and recovery features, as well as deduplication software that removes extra copies of files (such as e-mail attachments shared among several users).
Additionally, many companies consider the ability to store more data online as one of the advantages of using online applications that are delivered over the Web. In most instances, this shifts most of the storage burden to the online application provider.
While this can be a cost-effective strategy, it's also a good idea to look for the ability to export critical customer or financial data so you can back it up locally and to consider the security implications of storing data remotely.
By considering the types of information your company is generating and how you use it on a routine basis, you'll be able to develop a strategy for managing and protecting your company's valuable data.
If you'd like to get technical advice about small business storage options, technicians at AT&T Tech Support 360 can provide guidance to help your company create the appropriate security standards and implement effective procedures and applications.