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January 14, 2011

Small Business Owners: Important Tips to Avoid Data Loss Disasters

By TMCnet Special Guest
Lee Garrison, Chief Marketing Officer, KineticD

The information used in running your business is one of your most valuable assets. What would happen to your business if “the unthinkable” happened? What if you lost all of your files? Would your business be able to survive? The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that 43 percent of U.S. companies experiencing disasters never re-open, and 29 percent close within two years.

As more business information becomes digital, many business owners don’t consider protecting their data until disaster strikes. However, back up, protection and preservation of data are an increasing focus for small and medium-sized business owners.

The threats to data are countless – fires and natural disasters, water damage, equipment theft and hardware failures. These are just a few of the lurking dangers. If you have only one copy of critical information, files, data, manuals and records at your work location—your business is at risk. If disaster strikes and you do not have access to an offsite copy, or if you are unable to replicate it, it will be gone forever.

Certainly, it is good to back up information to external hard drives, but they often sit right next to the PC and face many of the same risks. It is important to store a duplicate of your most crucial and irreplaceable data off-site, using storage devices such as disks (DVDs), removable drives or an online backup service for cloud storage.

Online backup and recovery services are widely available whether you have a small amount of data or many terabytes of data. File recovery from online storage is usually faster (depending on the size of data and your bandwidth connection) than recovery from tape or other backup method because it doesn’t require physical transport from the offsite location, tape handling or seek time. Files to be recovered are located and securely streamed over a WAN connection for improved recovery time.

Many online backup vendors operate in state-of-the-art data centers. Small and medium- sized business owners should know the right questions to ask upfront about specific protections included in cloud storage and backup services. Look for providers that have SAS (News - Alert) 70 certified (US) or equivalent data centers that provide advanced technology including disk-based backup, encryption, compression, server and storage virtualization and power backup generators. Many of the data centers also have 24/7 monitoring, including closed-circuit cameras and physical security patrols on the premises.

As the adoption of the cloud-based business services continues to grow, requirements for data integrity, physical data center security and application security are extremely important considerations. Knowing that all of the proper security protections are in place provides assurance to business owners that their mission critical data will remain safe, and protected against unauthorized access, natural disasters, computer viruses and human error.

The good news is that if you do a little planning for business continuity, you can recover quickly when disaster strikes – and that’s peace of mind.

Lee Garrison is a chief marketing officer at KineticD, a Toronto-based online data backup service provider.

TMCnet publishes expert commentary on various telecommunications, IT, call center, CRM and other technology-related topics. Are you an expert in one of these fields, and interested in having your perspective published on a site that gets several million unique visitors each month? Get in touch.

Edited by Janice McDuffee

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