Business owners, especially those without full-time technical staff, are struggling to store and manage the rapidly growing amount of data associated with doing business. As a result, many businesses are shifting their data overload to the cloud.
The market for hosted storage will increase by 11 percent yearly through 2015 to $270 million, according to a recent research report by AMI-Partners. Hosted data storage is a viable and cost-effective solution for organizations, but there are many factors to consider.
Ten years ago, online data backup was on the fringe—it wasn't a viable option for companies looking to protect their information. Today, by contrast, backing up to the cloud is more the rule than the exception for businesses seeking streamlined, secure and reliable business continuity or disaster recovery solutions. But just because online data backup is more commonplace, it doesn’t mean that businesses are managing this data explosion correctly.
Data growth demands prioritization. Businesses can’t afford to treat all data equally. They might encounter serious issues if they opt to put huge amounts of important data onto backup tape or into the cloud without careful thought. While all data is vital, organizations need a structured approach to ensure critical applications and systems are operational first in the event of a server crash or other data failure.
A survey of online data backup customers found that 10 percent of an organization’s data is business-critical whereas the remaining 90 percent is mostly unchanged and can be recovered in a phased approach. In other words, determine which data is dynamic and prioritize that over the static data.
Once an organization has determined which data is critical and that backups are working properly, it’s then time to create a plan. Many companies do not have an effective disaster recovery and business continuity plan in place because they haven’t taken the time to determine what data needs to be recovered first. Instead, many companies back everything up without priority. The problem with this approach is that it delays the recovery process, since critical and non-critical data will be recovered in no particular order. In the event of data failure, it is recommended that organizations recover the most critical data first in order to expedite a speedy recovery.
Organizations must proactively test their backups to ensure that they are working properly. All too often, organizations will take a “set it and forget it” approach to their data backup strategy only to discover an issue once it’s far too late.
As company data storage capacities have ballooned, data consumption has grown along with it. In many ways, the ability to store more data empowers organizations, but it also presents them with the challenge of managing scores of critical information. Choosing the right online data backup and recovery provider is critical, but it’s also paramount to have an iron-clad strategy in place to protect your data and, in the event of a disaster, recovery your data quickly and efficiently.
OPEN Cardmember Jennifer Walzer is CEO of BUMI (Backup My Info!), a New York City-based provider which specializes in delivering online backup and recovery solutions for more than 500 small to mid-sized businesses.