Tackling SMB storage hurdles

WD looks at the challenges SMB’s face when managing their data and how they can triumph

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Tackling SMB storage hurdles Wani says data protection is the top priority and key consideration for SMBs.
By  Khalid Wani Published  June 27, 2013

Khalid Wani, sales director - Branded Business - Middle East, Africa and India at WD looks at the challenges SMB’s face when managing their data and how they can triumph.

Businesses of today rely on data. It is the heart and soul of the modern enterprise, and the risk of losing this data is a daily threat that can have dire consequences. The increasing pace of business, as well as a growing trend towards mobility means this data needs to be shared, while it is simultaneously being protected against loss. For SMBs particularly, the challenge of ensuring that data is stored, protected and is accessible remotely on a limited budget has traditionally been problematic.

SMB data storage challenge

When it comes to data storage, SMBs typically face two challenges; how to protect important data, and how to share it amongst members of the firm both within the office environment and remotely.

Keeping multiple copies of critical data ensures that should something happen and one copy is destroyed or becomes corrupted, the data can quickly be recovered from the secondary storage.

Sharing of data can be as easy as copying data onto a CD or flash drive and sharing it but this method is slow and inefficient to say the least. Networks have made the sharing of data much easier. NAS devices can be used as a central repository of information that allows all users with permission to access the drive and the data it contains over a network. However, this does not address the growing issue of mobility and the need to be able to access data anywhere and anytime.

Cloud storage allows SMBs to safely store critical data offsite without the inconvenience of having to make physical copies, and can enable mobile workers to access this data using an Internet connection wherever they are.

So what’s the solution?

The needs of the SMB when it comes to data storage are clear: affordable and cost effective storage that enables the protection, sharing and recovery of data while supporting the fast pace of business in today’s world. Storage also needs to be easy-to-use because SMBs do not have large IT budgets or necessarily the in-house skills to maintain complex IT infrastructure environment.

Data protection is the top priority, and this should be a key consideration for SMBs when looking for a storage system. Storage systems should make use of enterprise class disk drives, which offer higher reliability and higher mean time between failures than consumer grade drives. The storage solution should also offer redundancy in the form of Redundant Array of Independent Disks (RAID) technology, either set to run in mirrored (RAID 1) or protected by parity (RAID 5) to protect against disk failure.

Recovery is the next critical consideration, since there is no point in creating redundant data if it cannot be recovered when needed. Fast recovery is the key to getting businesses back up and running, and the fastest recovery is attained using locally available storage. Storage should be easy to setup, use, and maintain because most SMBs can ill afford to call out an IT consultant every time new devices need to be added. Cost is another factor, specifically TCO.

Storage strategy

SMBs have limited resources and limited support, so when it comes to data storage and protection it is vital to choose an all-inclusive solution that ticks all of the boxes. Data loss can have devastating consequences, so SMBs should make sure critical information is stored on a central NAS with built-in RAID protection as well as hybrid cloud integration. This makes data available to both in-office and mobile workers, ensures that data is backed up from individual devices to central storage, and has the added security of cloud backup. This means that should the worst happen, critical data will always be available to get the business back up and running. The cost of storage is minimal compared to the cost of losing your data, so make sure it is protected.

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