data storage

Inundated with Data? Here’s How SMBs Can Simplify Storage, Access and Security

While much of the nation is dealing with drought, small and mid-size businesses (SMBs) are drowning in data.

The data dilemma many SMBs face is stark and acute: how to store and protect ever-growing volumes of data to ensure optimal productivity and security.

In today’s digital world, data is growing exponentially. According to Statistica, 97 zettabytes of data will be created in 2022 — up from 79 zettabytes in 2021 and 64.2 zettabytes in 2020. Given that a zettabyte is a trillion gigabytes, that’s a whole lot of data.

SMBs generate their fair share of data — some of which is sensitive and much of which is critical for serving clients, maintaining compliance and informing future business strategies. Therefore, simplifying how you store and protect your data can have a significant impact on your organization’s productivity, security and reputation.

Do any of these scenarios sound familiar?

  • Users are saving data to multiple locations.
  • You’re not sure that data in all those locations is as secure as it could be.
  • You’re taking up valuable storage resources with old, stale data.
  • You’re not sure that all your data is backed up regularly.
  • Your users cannot share files easily, especially when working remotely

If you’re nodding your head at any of these, you might want to rethink your approach to data storage, protection, and access to improve business performance and safeguard your organization.

As You Scale Your Business, What Role Should Data Play?

Address data protection concerns

Think cybercriminals only go after the big players? Think again. According to Accenture, 43 percent of cyberattacks target small businesses, but only 14 percent of those businesses are prepared to defend themselves. Even more alarming, 60 percent of businesses go out of business within six months falling victim to an attack.

Considering these trends, it’s not surprising that 80 percent of SMBs identify cybersecurity as one of their top priorities. The problem is that it’s difficult to keep up with the ever-evolving cybersecurity landscape, especially for SMBs with limited IT resources. That’s why many SMBs are turning to cloud providers to host their applications and data in a virtualization environment built from the ground up for absolute data protection. SMBs should look for a cloud environment equipped with firewalls, intrusion detection and prevention systems, and regular software patches and updates — all running in a physically secure data center. Beyond all these purpose-built protections, it’s simply easier to secure data in one centralized cloud environment than it is to secure data housed in multiple locations — from end-users’ laptops to in-house servers to file storage services.

Backups are another important consideration in the event an SMB does fall victim to a cyberattack.  The safest approach is to back up data as application-consistent snapshots, read-only copies of data that can be stored using minimal disk space and are immediately available for restoration.

Make it easy to access data from anywhere

With the widespread adoption of remote work, employees may be saving time previously spent on their commute, but are they less efficient due to data access issues?  Without the proper IT setup, many SMB end-users must log into multiple systems at the beginning of each day to access key business applications and get their work done. Plus, they may spend too much time looking for files in multiple locations throughout the workday, further hampering productivity.

SMBs can address this productivity drain by using a single cloud provider to host applications and data in a central virtualized environment.  This approach gives employees seamless, secure access to their applications and data — on one screen and with one login — from any device or location. End-users enjoy an identical user experience whether they’re working in the office, at home, or elsewhere. Plus, they can easily access and share files from one centralized location for enhanced efficiency and collaboration.

Archive data for operational efficiency and cost savings

For many SMBs, archiving data simply isn’t a top priority, given all the other things on their plate.  Data archiving moves infrequently accessed data to low-cost storage repositories where it is retained for regulatory compliance purposes or future reference and analysis.

Archiving data not only saves on storage costs, but it also delivers other important benefits. It improves application performance by speeding up queries on active data. It makes backup and recovery faster and simpler by reducing the volume of data. It even reduces your overall attack surface. For SMBs, all this adds up to greater efficiency, better security and long-term savings that can be reinvested in the business.

Bottom line: Clean up your data mess once and for all.  Don’t let data difficulties hold back your business.

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