Total Business Magazine

Scalable Storage: the Key to Safe SME Growth?

By Andy Zollo, Vice President of StorageCraft EMEA

 

As organisations expand, it is crucial that their technology systems develop in tandem, so they are able to best support, facilitate and protect business growth. Many companies, SMEs in particular, find that as they grow, the volume of data they send, receive and store grows exponentially, whether that be in the form of employee data, customer data or simply administrative content.

Businesses will start to find that their existing storage systems cannot cope with the influx of data and are liable to crash, not back-up data or store it in a way that leaves it vulnerable to ransomware attacks. If businesses fail to invest in scalable storage architecture or don’t work with Managed Service Providers (MSPs) to scale as they grow, they are at risk of out-growing their storage architecture, potentially leading to catastrophic consequences, including data loss and increased vulnerability to ransomware attacks.

Research from the British Insurance Broker’s Association (BIBA) actually shows that approximately 90% of businesses that lose data are forced to close within two years[1]. Businesses, particularly SMEs, simply cannot afford to take shortcuts here. Business systems must be truly scalable if a company is to fulfil its potential for growth. In addition, ransomware attacks are now almost inevitable, with the Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2018[2] finding that 43% of businesses have experienced breaches or cyber-attacks in the last 12 months. This means storage systems also need to provide continuous monitoring, encryption and data retrievability options.

But when a business is growing quickly, processes often aren’t in place to ensure that storage requirements are kept up-to-date. There are a number of steps businesses can take to make sure their technology, particularly storage, grows with them:

 

Self-organising Storage

Businesses should deploy self-organising storage that applies intelligence and, specifically, machine learning to the management of information. Real-time analytics done by the storage system itself decide what the optimal placement for data is and what the necessary protection for any element of information within a dataset may be. Don’t go out and buy a storage system that you hope will be sufficient five years from now. The digital world moves far too fast and is far too fluid for that kind of guesswork.

 

Disaster Recovery Plan

A Disaster Recovery (DR) plan outlines the technology, processes and procedures that are necessary to recover vital IT business data after an emergency or crisis. The objective is to get data restored and the business up and running again in the shortest time possible. In the case of an emergency, the DR plan will list the steps needed to recover networks, servers, laptops/desktops, data and connectivity. The need for a structured data storage system is only exacerbated by the recent GDPR regulation that requires organisations of all sizes to comply with data security regulations or risk being faced with a substantial financial penalty.

Disaster Recovery is a classic example for a situation where Managed Service Providers (MSPs) can be an SME’s best friend by offering Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS). A strategic offering that provides fully integrated, on-premise, off-premise, and cloud solution, DRaaS allows customers to instantly spin up a virtual server or entire infrastructure in the cloud. This means they can rely on a perfect working replica while they rebuild their on-premise environment in the background.

Arguably the most business-critical step SMEs need to take is recognising the importance of putting storage and data backup at the top of their list of priorities. Businesses know that just one data breach for example can cost a company millions, as well as plenty of indirect costs too. Whether it’s working to ensure your storage can scale as your business grows, or working with an MSP who can tailor the service to your requirements, rapidly growing businesses can’t afford to sit back and watch one of the most important assets in this day and age, data, go unprotected or stored inappropriately.

 

[1] https://www.biba.org.uk/insurance-guides/small-business/business-insurance/

[2]https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/702074/Cyber_Security_Breaches_Survey_2018_-_Main_Report.pdf

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