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It is common for businesses’ to invest in their own success. These companies provide employee professional development, purchase expensive management systems, and spend on marketing.  Yet in most cases their most valuable asset, their intellectual property, is often overlooked.

For individual businesses’ data loss can be catastrophic.  The impact to the business, its customers and its reputation can be great….and expensive!!!

*93% of companies that lost their data center for 10 days or more filed for bankruptcy within a year. (National Archives and Records Administration)

*70% of small companies (fewer than 100 employees) that experience major data loss go out of business within a year. (DTI/Price Waterhouse Coopers)

*15% of tape backups are incomplete and 50% fail to restore (Gartner)

Many small to mid-sized organizations (SMB’s) lack the controls to adequately secure their data. If a disaster plan exists, it is often untested. The data is vulnerable, but the good news is, it is not too late to fix this issue.

Data Protection Challenges

Data Decentralization:  There are a number of factors driving the decentralization of corporate data. “Bring Your own Device (BYOD)” initiatives allow for a greater use of tablets, smartphones, and laptops making data portable. Companies are increasing use of outsourcing services or employing teleworkers moving data outside their four walls.

Regulatory Compliance: Many companies are governed by regulations dictating how personally identifiable data must be treated.  Regulations like the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA), and Payment Card Industry (PCI) state that data must be kept secure and private.  All come with strong penalties for non-compliance.

Manual Process: For most companies tape is still the primary medium for the backup of critical systems.  For many the tapes never leave the office or are taken by an employee for off-site storage. Tape reliability is a concern as the media ages.

Reputation Risk: One of the intangible threats a company faces in a data loss event is to their reputation.  A substantial data loss or breach can significantly shake your customers’ confidence and a prolonged outage may impact your ability to provide service.  Associated costs can include customer notification and credit monitoring, litigation, and settlement costs.

So what can a business do to minimize these challenges?

Create a Disaster Plan: The first step to protecting your data is to understand what you will need to do if disaster strikes. Conduct a Business Impact Analysis (BIA) to determine which applications and resources will be potentially lost in a catastrophic event.

Automate the Process and Eliminate Tape: Remove the shortcomings of tape backup.  Cloud Backup services offer and affordable alternative and can automate backup moving your data off-site without any human intervention.

Secure the Data: In choosing a Cloud vendor, assess the security of the solution.  Data encryption is a must.  You should look for cloud vendors with a solution that is FIPS 140-2 certified (U.S. Government approved computer standard) and stored in a data center with a SSAE16 Type II audit accreditation.

Quickly and easily you can protect your data and get back to the business of your business!

Story by Brian Doyle, PCNet, Inc., VP of IT and Data Center Services

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