August 19, 2010
TULSA WORLD | JEFF CATO Business Viewpoint
In today's digital world, the influx of online information is staggering.
A recent study by Interactive Data Corp. indicates that the amount of digital information created in 2010 will equal 100 years of Tweets and 75 billion iPads packed with data. The number of files, records, images and other digital documents is expected to multiply this year by a factor of 67, and each of those items should be managed, secured and safeguarded against loss.
Too often, businesses wait until disaster strikes before devising a backup plan. More often than not, the disaster is the result of simple human error, not necessarily a fire, tornado or other phenomenon.
The National Archives & Records Administration found that 60 percent of companies that lose their data will shut down within six months of the disaster. Given the tendency to save everything electronically, the potential for loss is that much greater.
In order to safeguard essential company information and avoid data loss, a comprehensive data backup strategy is vital. Keep these tips in mind when developing your plan:
- Consider security. Data backup should be physically stored in a strategic location off-site to safeguard against natural disasters. In addition, power outages and system failures can affect retrieval of data, so having multiple data storage locations and options to restore your data is optimal. When choosing a provider, look for highly credible third-party certifications that speak to security and credibility.
- Establish a backup routine. Businesses must back up information on a regular basis. Just as a document must be saved for retrieval, digital information must always be backed up. Automating backup daily will ensure that newly created critical information isn't lost. A feature such as "de-duplication" - removing duplicate data - will help minimize the file size and maximize the efficiency of your daily backups.
- Tailor the process to fit your needs. Various industries require data updates at different times of the year, month, day, hour or even minute. A data backup strategy should be customized to secure data as often as it is updated. Establishing a deletion policy for data after it has met the company's retention policies will eliminate the use of valuable storage space and cut costs. There are also legal ramifications.
- Think long-term security, not short-term savings. While there are systems designed for home use that can save money in the short term, they are not typically robust enough to serve the needs of a business. Consider the cost of a potential loss when investing in data backup and recovery. If a data loss could cost your company millions, then a $50 a month system is probably not adequate.
As the amount of online data increases, storage and backup of that data is becoming an even more important aspect of doing business. Companies across the board want to know their data is secure, off-site and easily retrievable as they look to improve their security, automation and regulatory compliance. Companies without an efficient data management plan will be left behind.
About the author
Jeff Cato is vice president of Marketing at CoreVault, a cloud solutions company specializing in helping companies identify, protect and manage their company's most valuable data assets. Based in Oklahoma City, CoreVault has clients statewide, and in 33 other states and several countries.
The views expressed here are those of the author and not necessarily the Tulsa World. To inquire about writing a Business Viewpoint column, e-mail a short outline of the article to Business Editor John Stancavage at firstname.lastname@example.org. The column should focus on a business trend; the outlook for the city, state or an industry; or a topic of interest in an area of the writer's expertise. Articles should not promote a business or be overly political in nature.