Procurement 4 November 2015

Is backup a necessity for micro businesses?

Many new applications coming on stream are catered especially to small businesses and are more user friendly
Many new applications coming on stream are catered especially to small businesses and are more user friendly

King of Servers’ MD Albie Attias explains why blaming failure to prioritise backups on budget isn’t such a valid excuse with the options on offer for small firms today.

It is a very unfortunate reality for businesses of all sizes that the matter of disaster recovery and backup is one that is continually swept under the carpet. Let’s face it, this issue is not particularly topical, and it certainly isn’t juicy enough to dominate the headlines, but does that mean it is not important or, in fact, crucial?

For large businesses, this matter is often afforded enough budget and resources to correctly handle it, and everything related that needs to be carried out. However, the story is quite different for smaller companies. In this scenario, whatever dedicated IT staff there may be usually have their hands full with ongoing management and maintenance, meaning backup can be forced to take a backseat. This can have disastrous consequences.

Money talks

There is no denying that businesses in a variety of industries, and no matter how big or small, have found themselves stretched financially over the past few years. Somehow, somewhere, this must be factored into budgeting – and unfortunately backup often seems to take the hit.

Research carried out by Spiceworks in March 2013 revealed that 30 per cent of companies were realistic enough to admit that not enough money was going into their disaster recovery budget, and if they were lucky enough to avoid a hiccup back then, it is unlikely they’ve plugged that money back in since. Fortunately, an increasing number of IT departments are regularly backing up their more sensitive data, however, moderate and low risk data protection is still lagging behind.

One thing worth mentioning is that data storage is getting cheaper, which is therefore leading to more powerful servers and faster transfer rates. Overall, this means that backing up should be easier for micro businesses. On top of this, there are an increasing number of options when it comes to hardware and software, allowing companies to choose the solution ideal for them.

Another plus for smaller companies regarding backup is that many new applications coming on stream are catered especially to them and are more user friendly, with both installation and management more automated than ever before. The most popular technology is direct attached storage, followed by tape and replication.

The cloud prevails again

It’s no surprise that, as with every other aspect of IT, the cloud is making its voice heard with regard to disaster recovery and backup. Hosted backup offers a wide variety of benefits for users, including enhanced reliability and a cheaper price. When it comes to this aspect of business, the cloud can offer a viable solution, providing relatively cheap solutions and putting the mind of the IT professional at ease.

However, it is best to look at both sides of the coin, and a lack of control, security and cost issues could prove potential drawbacks for those micro business considering the difference that hosted protection could bring.

What does the future hold?

The IT industry is changing rapidly, placing smaller companies on a more even keel with their larger counterparts than ever before. What’s more, at a time when flexibility is key, SMEs and micro businesses are better placed to compete, especially as they operate without the layers of corporate bureaucracy that can sometimes cause large organisations to be slow off the mark.

It is also worth considering that the amount of data used by businesses of all sizes, and in all industries, is both growing and changing. More businesses than ever before are dealing with data loss, with a high percentage of this attributed to hardware failure, rather than human error. And when you consider the associated costs of repairing issues caused by data loss, the cost of backup seems tiny in comparison.

Overall, while many smaller companies can attribute their backup issues to budget, help is certainly at hand in the shape of new, user-friendly software and hardware, meaning traditional constraints no longer need to serve as an obstacle when it comes to this vital aspect of IT.

Albie Attias is the managing director of IT retailer King of Servers.

Sign up to our newsletter to get the latest from Business Advice.


 
TAGS:

On the up