Today’s business environment is more competitive than ever with customers expecting access to products and services 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days of the year. Participating in this always-on, highly available world presents a huge challenge to Small- and Medium-sized businesses (SMBs) which typically have tighter budgets and smaller IT teams to support them than larger companies.
One particular challenge is how to deal with the explosion in the amount of information SMBs now collect. The management of unstructured data, sophisticated applications and large file types can often get out of control. However, a well thought out storage strategy can help organisations set the foundation for the effective analysis of data. Helping to turn data into a valuable business asset and potentially providing a solution to many of the business challenges faced by SMBs today.
What are some of the business challenges facing SMBs?
The more an organisation grows the more business intelligence it will collect. A storage solution provides a central repository where information can be stored and more importantly accessed and shared among employees. This way data can be used to better inform business decisions and help understand customers – turning information into a valuable business asset that can be used to gain a competitive edge and expand the business.
Creating a central location for holding data is easier to manage than having employees store data locally on their PCs, laptops or mobile devices. It also avoids the multiplication of data which means that employees always have access to the latest version of a document or data. A storage solution makes archiving and retrieval of data and documents easier so there is no need to wait for an employee to come into the office to be able to access important documents.
Investing in the right storage solution can provide real cost savings by enabling companies to store more data on less hardware, with content-aware de-duplication and compressions. Storage solutions which include automated back-up reduce the time spent doing a manual back-up so staff can spend more time on other tasks. Consolidation of growing data volumes also ensures reduces risk of liability exposure.
Security Of Documents & Confidential Data
Organisations are increasingly coming under pressure to meet regulation, compliance and audit trails. A storage solution can enable organisations to keep track of where the latest documents are stored, who has access to them, as well as when and where they were last accessed. In addition, if data is lost or damaged a version will always be stored and backed-up so can quickly be restored to ensure business continuity is maintained.
Choosing A Storage Solution
Consider solutions that have integrated management software including performance and alert monitoring, fast recovery, redundant storage boxes, redundant array of independent disks (RAID) support, built-in failover and automated back-ups.
Disk Backup – excellent for backing up data from a PC, Laptop or single-server direct attached storage (DAS), provides organisations with a manual backup process
Tape Backup – provides a more automated solution, is suitable for either single server or multiple servers and data protection
Direct Attached Storage (DAS) – this type of system is permanently attached to a server providing automated backup and acting as a source of storage space on a drive. It is great for companies that need quick access to information or applications that are held on storage. Unlike Disk and Tape backup DAS provides a two way information flow. Users can send information from the company server to be stored securely on the DAS and can then retrieve information from the DAS via the company server
Networked Attached Storage (NAS) – NAS is similar to DAS but does not have to be physically attached to a server. It can be connected anywhere on the network, providing users with quick access to data and supporting easy data sharing. Increasingly NAS will come with wireless connectivity so users will be able to use it without even being attached to the network.
It is important that organisations look for a complete storage solution that is easy to implement and manage, rather than just comparing one vendor’s box with another. Ensuring that you have a storage solution in place so that your business remains always-on, available and protected is imperative in today’s business environment.
Storage is more than just backing-up data. So whether your business is a small organisation with no IT staff or a global enterprise with specialists, one fact remains the same – your data is a business asset. When managed in the right way data can be a powerful business tool for enabling business success and providing the edge over the competition.