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Storage Solutions for Small Businesses

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Sooner or later your small business starts to become more of a large business especially when it comes to data storage.  Emails, ebooks, financial information, reports, presentations, and various other documents soon start to outgrow your current data storage.  Now comes the burning question of what data storage solution is right for my small business?  Do I store onsite or offsite?

Small businesses have many storage options available but first there are a few questions that need to be answered in order to select the right data storage solution.

  • How much data is not business related?
  • Which servers run which applications?
  • What applications generate the largest files?
  • How fast do you need to be able to access stored data

The first solution and the most practical for small businesses is the use of an external hard drive for data storage.  There are disadvantages to this solution such as when using an external hard drive that is attached to a PC you now have to schedule routine back ups for that PC  Also in the event of fire or another disaster, your data would not be protected.

Online storage is one solution that could prove to be beneficial.  Data is backed up through an online service then stored at an offsite location.  The advantages of this are being able to access stored data at your convenience by going to the online storage website, entering your user name and password which authorizes you to enter the area where your data is stored.  A small business can also give access to any stored data to a client by giving them a user name and password to access information.  The first back up is a slow process as the service is backing up original data.  Subsequent back ups are much faster since only modified data is stored.  If you are a small business that has a lot of large files to store you may want to consider broadband internet to make the back up process faster.

Network Access Storage or NAS is another good storage solution for small to medium sized business.  It's economical and several users can access data and share over the network.  NAS can start out using a single hard drive that has an Ethernet port.  Approximate cost for 300GB is $200.  An additional option to NAS is to have two hard drives or dual hard drives connecting to the network with one connection.  The advantage is that during back up if one drive fails the second drive is receiving the same data. 

An economical (but outdated) option is using a zip drive for a removable storage device.  Zip drives can be used with either laptops or desktop computers.

When considering which storage solution is right for your small business consider consulting an IT professional.  IT professionals can advise you as to which data storage solution is right for you.

Always make sure the back up procedure is either scheduled or an automatic event.  Performing back ups automatically can reduce the risk of an administrator or delegated employee forgetting to complete a backup.

- Adelaide Business Computer Services