Talk about “risky business.”
A recent survey
has found that while small and midsize businesses are grappling with explosive data growth, the backup processes they have in place often put that data at risk.
The survey, by Rubicon Consulting, found that 92% of companies have deployed some form of data backup technology, yet 50% of them have lost data. Of the companies that lost data, approximately one-third lost sales, 20% lost customers, and one-quarter claimed the data loss caused severe disruptions to the company.
The survey also found that concerns about potential data loss run high among SMBs. Respondents rated backup as their second-highest computing priority, after defense against viruses and other malware, and ahead of issues like reducing costs and deploying new computers. And yet nearly one-third of SMBs surveyed do nothing to back up their PCs.
This article looks at some of the top backup challenges SMBs face today and the steps they need to take to ensure that their backup practices keep pace with their data growth.
While small and midsize businesses don’t typically generate the same amount of data that larger enterprises do, they still need the same kind of protection to ensure the timely recovery of essential business data. Given their smaller budgets and lack of technical expertise compared with larger enterprises, SMBs require solutions that are both cost-effective and easy to use. A recent study by the TANEJA Group
emphasized that point when it identified the top challenges SMBs face today with regard to data protection:
- Implementing comprehensive protection with minimal impact on business operations. It is estimated that data volumes are increasing by as much as 50% per year. At the same time, the demand for higher system availability is shrinking backup windows. Together, these trends are placing greater pressure on small and midsize businesses to improve backup efficiencies and deliver prompt Microsoft Windows data and system recovery. Gone are the days when critical systems could be shut down to perform backup operations.
- Meeting increasingly stringent backup and recovery requirements. The requirements to recover lost or corrupt data to a specific point in time and reduce the overall time to restore data are becoming more stringent and are now often measured in hours instead of days. Increasingly, tape-based backup infrastructures are unable to meet these requirements.
- Dealing with limited backup administration resources. This is a key issue particularly with smaller companies that may not have dedicated IT staff. But even larger SMBs rarely have a dedicated backup admin. According to the TANEJA Group study, “a large percentage of critical data is generated by distributed clients, and an inability to protect this data can leave SMBs open to data loss that can have a significant impact on the business.”
- Deploying disaster recovery strategies cost-effectively. As the Rubicon Consulting survey made clear, data protection practices aren’t where they should be for most SMBs. Too often SMBs lack the resources, administrative expertise, and off-site storage required to provide true disaster recovery capabilities. Plus, as a disturbing number of news stories has made clear, the legacy practice of backing up to tape can be fraught with risk.
- Leveraging new technologies non-disruptively. Because SMB have significant investments in their infrastructures and processes, they are unlikely to deploy new technologies unless this can be done without disrupting day-to-day business operations.
- Maintaining a secure backup and recovery environment. The TANEJA Group is unequivocal on this topic: “SMBs need to think about this issue in two areas: providing adequate security including encryption and virus protection, plus centralized management of an entire data protection infrastructure, ensuring backup data both in-flight and at rest is protected and efficiently managed.”
Meeting backup challengesSMB environments may not need the scale provided by enterprise backup and recovery solutions, but they do need much of the functionality. That means policy-based backups, automated operations, and centralized management should be key design tenets to help lightly staffed SMBs effectively manage system and data protection operations. Integrated disaster recovery capabilities, meanwhile, make it easier to rapidly restore complete systems. And newer technologies such as disk-based backup, snapshot backups, data deduplication, continuous data protection, and cloud-based backup options can help SMBs address shrinking backup windows, increasingly stringent RPOs/RTOs (recovery point objectives/recovery time objectives), and recovery reliability concerns.
Backup Exec for Windows Small Business Server
is Symantec’s data protection solution for Microsoft Windows Small Business Server Standard and Premium Editions. Easy to install and manage, Backup Exec for Windows Small Business Server includes many valuable features with the core license:
- Provides continuous disk-based data protection and automated disaster recovery for Microsoft Windows Small Business Server
- Optimizes both tape and disk storage environments
- Provides complete data protection of physical and virtual server environments
- Supports fast and efficient backups and granular restores, allowing administrators to restore individual Microsoft Exchange email messages, Microsoft SharePoint documents, and Microsoft Active Directory user preferences in seconds
- Offers continuous data protection for desktops and laptops, providing point-in-time recovery
- Allows users to easily restore their own files, saving IT administration resources
- Ensures that all data is backed up even while files are open.
Symantec Online Storage for Backup ExecSymantec Online Storage extends the key capabilities of Backup Exec, adding the ability to store copies of backups in secure, redundant data centers managed by Symantec. Online Storage gives businesses a secure, cost-effective option for storing backup data off-site without the inconvenience and cost of tape vaulting services or other forms of off-site tape storage.
To use Symantec Online Storage, administrators simply connect to the Symantec Protection Network portal through the Backup Exec console, create an account, and select a service plan that meets their off-site storage requirements. The cost of the service is based on total storage consumed, with pricing by storage tiers. Businesses can upgrade storage tiers as their needs grow. The cost of the service can be controlled by limiting the amount of data stored in Symantec’s data centers.
For small and midsize businesses, where money and staff time are at a premium, there is always something more pressing to do than manage backups. But as data volumes increase, so too does the risk of irrevocable harm to a company’s bottom line if that data isn’t protected. SMBs should look for solutions from a trusted provider that offer simplified management and the ability to scale as their business grows.