Choosing the best data storage system for your firm

By: MUTHONI NGATIA

You probably know of a friend or two who have lost their laptop or phone. Many of these devices are hot cake in the black markets.

The crime poses a big threat to both business and personal data. Even if you have insured your devices and may be compensated, you only get back the hardware by buying a new one.

But quite often, all your data is lost unless you had backup. And here comes the question, do you have data backup for your business records?

Many entrepreneurs have suffered loss of data. But data can also be lost when a device fails, a virus attacks or when someone sabotages your systems.

Some mischievous workers or contractors blackmail organisations using data. Be proactive, take steps to secure your business interest by having an appropriate data storage.

DATA BACK UP PLANS

As long as you are using a phone, computer, tablet or laptop, be sure to have a robust data backup plan.

Wherever you backup your data, ensure that you can quickly access it.

There are some businesses that generate a lot of data, for example, those doing photography, video production, design, architecture, law, healthcare, merchandising via point of sale systems, IT, non-profits, research, education etc.

They all need a good data storage system.

Many large-scale data storage systems can be expensive but there are bespoke products for SMEs.

Do not be stuck with only flash disks or external hard disks.

While they are good, they are prone to virus attacks.

You need a good package in terms of the actual storage and its location.

BEST STRATEGIES

It is useless to backup your laptop on an external hard-disk and be carrying the device in the same bag that holds your laptop.

So how do you decide what is best data storage plan for your SME?

First, consider your storage needs in terms of both capacity and physical location. For example, say your accounting system generates vital data.

How quickly would you need to access it? From what locations do you need to store it?

SMEs now have more storage choices than ever before.

They range from portable flash memory thumb drives to network-attached storage systems (NAS) that can be stored off-site.

Flash memory thumb drives or flash disks are particularly appealing because they consume little power, are small enough to fit on a keychain or pocket and have no moving parts.

You can hook a flash disk to your laptop’s USB port to backup files while on a Safari.

Some thumb drives even provide file encryption.

You can leave your laptop at home and just plug the USB drive into a borrowed computer. But we all know this is their weakest point since this exposes them to virus attacks.

External hard drives are also a simple and relatively inexpensive way to add more storage; they come in higher capacity than flash disks and are easily portable.

MESSY

However, external hard drives have several disadvantages.

Any files stored on the drive but not elsewhere needs to be backed up as well.

This can be messy if your business has several computers which is the case for many SMEs.

There are also online storage services that provide remote backup.

By: backing up your most important files to a secure, remote server, even if you loose your computer or have a break in, your data remains safe.

You can also easily share large files with clients, partners and others by providing them with password-protected access, thereby eliminating the need to email large files.

And in most cases, you can access your data from any computer simply using a web browser.

Remote storage, however, can be slow and tasking during the initial backup session so your mobile phone Internet will come in handy.

The service attracts a monthly fee which some people may not want.

Network-attached storage provides fast, simple, reliable access to data in a business.

The service is suitable for small and mid-sized businesses needing large amounts of economical storage that multiple users can share over a network.

And given that many small businesses lack IT departments, network-attached storage is easy to deploy, centrally manage and consolidate.

You can use a NAS without the need of an IT staff either at home or in the office.

Network-attached storage allows you to consolidate storage, thereby increasing efficiency and reducing costs; simplify storage administration and data backup and recovery; and allow for easy scaling to meet growing storage requirements.

SOURCE: DAILY NATION