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Going Virtual With Your Technology: What SMBs Need to Know – #SMBchat Recap

Created: 21 Jan 2013 • Updated: 22 Jan 2013
Chris Halcon's picture
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Virtualization provides a lot of opportunities and advantages for SMBs.  They can reduce their capital and operating expenses and use fewer servers for the same number of applications.  But many SMBs are unfamiliar with virtualization and that was the key driver behind our latest SMB Twitter chat.

Last week, Symantec’s SMB security experts, Dan Nadir and Elias AbuGhazaleh, engaged with Small Business Trends’ Editor-in-Chief Anita Campbell for a Twitter chat about what SMBs need to know about virtualization. The chat covered a variety of topics including benefits, challenges, and how to get started. 

The chat drew more than 100 participants which included SMB owners and thought leaders; and it produced more than 550 Tweets.  Most importantly, we listened and learned a lot from SMBs directly: We learned they’re eager to take advantage of the benefits of virtualized technology and hungry for information.  We heard there is some confusion about virtualization vs. cloud, and so you’ll see us doing more education in the future to help SMBs move forward.  Thanks to all who participated!

In case you missed it,  following are some sample questions from Anita, with the resulting responses from Dan (tweeting from @SymantecSMB) and Elias (@BE_Elias), as well as other participants:

What are the biggest benefits for SMBs of going virtual with technology?

·         One of the best benefits we’ve seen is an improvement in efficiency because physical IT resources are simplified.  (@SymantecSMB)

·         Some of the top benefits SMBs have cited include reduced capital expenses & reduced operating expenses (@BE_Elias)

·         How much IT know-how is required to virtualize on site? (@Robert_Brady)

·         It is fairly simple utilizing #VMware or #HyperV, it is a simple installation (in my opinion) (@BE_Elias)

Does virtual technology automatically solve security issues –example:  antivirus and firewall in servers?

·        Previously implemented security tools may need to be reconfigured or replaced in order to maintain adequate protection (@SymantecSMB)

What about data backup in a virtual environment?  Concerns?  Benefits?

·         Carefully consider the user interface.  A simpler solution will save a significant amount of time in the long run (@BE_Elias)

·         Nearly half of SMBs would lose 40% of their data in disaster, acc to Symantec research: http://t.co/aZ4TQAxm #SMBChat >frm 2012 chat (@TJMcCue)

·         You will want a solution to manage physical and virtual backups centrally, eliminating the need for two processes (@BE_Elias)

What are some best practices if you are considering virtualization but haven’t yet jumped in?

·         You can work with a consultant/reseller on a strategy.  They can help determine your needs and help with implementation (@SymantecSMB)

·         Determine what hardware and software you want to virtualize and how many users will need to be accomodated (@Symantec SMB)

·         What size/type of organizations benefit most from virtualization? Industries or # staff (@CathyWEbSavvyRP

·         Generally, the more physical servers you have, the more compelling virtualization will be (@BE_Elias)

·         Develop guidelines and assess data protection & security needs.  Decide if you should move to cloud for these services (@Symantec SMB)

·         Research, research, research.  Read reviews and make sure that you make the best choice to fit your needs (@tiroberts)

Thanks again for a great chat, and we’re looking forward to the next one! In the meantime, we want to hear from you so please feel free to leave your thoughts and comments below, and don’t forget to follow us on our Twitter handle @SymantecSMB. If there is a topic you’d like us to consider for our next #SMBchat, let us know.