Today in 2020, small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in South Africa are creating more data than ever. Your growth calls for robust solutions to back up your business-critical data.
Due to limited financial and IT resources, it’s crucial for SMBs to know exactly what to look out for. In this article, we’ll be outlining key criteria for SMBs to keep in mind when seeking out comprehensive and effective data protection.
But before we jump into the criteria, it’s important to understand why backups are critical for your SMB.
How Quickly Can You Recover if Data Loss Grinds Your Business to a Halt?
Successful backups are the foundation for disaster recovery and business continuity, allowing your business to get back in action with minimal disruption and impact to your bottom line. Without it, recovery and continuity simply cannot exist.
Technologies that were created decades ago are simply not enough. These outdated methods, like backing up to external hard drives, aren’t going to ensure data retention and recovery during business-critical time windows. Instead, your SMB demands a faster and seamless alternative.
The Six Things You Need for an Effective Backup Solution
When choosing a backup solution, SMBs should look for six important pieces of criteria:
- Ease of Use
- Performance and Reliability
Let’s take a quick look at each:
Most SMBs carry less than a month or so of operating costs in cash, so downtime can and does quite literally ‘break the bank’.
Instant recovery capabilities can remedy this.
If your hardware systems fail, your employees can rely on instant virtualization of failed systems to stay operational. Thus, minimising company-wide disruption and downtime.
The strongest of providers will be able to convert a backup into a running system in a matter of seconds to minutes. In the event of a natural disaster, a total system replication may be necessary. This creates a complete infrastructure on which to host and run your business.
From our experience, most SMBs in South Africa do not have an in-house IT department that is dedicated and experienced in managing separate backup, recovery, and business continuity solutions.
Does your current back-up solution provide key functionality that is seamlessly integrated?
A combination of on-premises and cloud-based services offer the best total protection for businesses of all sizes, especially small businesses.
Ease of Use
As SMB employees tend to take on multiple roles at work, managing IT shouldn’t be one of them. Solutions that offer intelligent user interfaces and are also supported by a vast network of managed service providers are often the best choices.
Performance and Reliability
It makes sense that quicker and more frequent backups limit data loss. So when choosing a reliable solution, SMBs should choose one that performs backups very often.
An ideal solution is incremental backup, where the technology adds to what you’ve changed or deleted, rather than backing up the entire volume of data repeatedly. This adds to a solution’s ability to perform more quickly. We regularly see outdated systems with this problem.
Successful small businesses often grow into larger businesses. With that comes the creation of more and more data. Alongside this growth is a need for more advanced backup and business continuity solutions.
Selecting a provider who works with businesses of all sizes, promises SMBs a bigger selection of products and services to meet their needs as they evolve. After all, all businesses want to make smart IT decisions. That’s how you stay ahead of the game.
SMBs likely (and understandably) don’t have huge IT budgets. With limited financial and technical resources, choosing a backup solution can be a trying task.
Many opt for cheaper solutions, which provide them less functionality. Cheaper solutions may seem like the right call in the moment, but down the road, it can be quite costly when the solution doesn’t do all that an SMB needed to prevent downtime.
It’s thus imperative to find the most cost-effective and affordable solution – which won’t require sacrificing significant features and capabilities.
Deep Dive: The Specific Technologies That SMBs Must Lookout For
Now that you know what to look for when selecting backup solutions, we’ll dive deeper into the technologies and features that add to more complete solutions.
When it comes to total data protection, SMBs should be on the lookout for these features to ensure their data is not only backed up but available in the case of a potential disaster:
Proof of Backup
It’s not enough to simply put a technology in place and assume it’s always working in the background! With any sophisticated technology, there are always potential points of failure.
An intelligent business continuity service should offer assurance to ensure that systems are always bootable and provide verification.
Keeping your data safe and secure, whether it be personal or business, is hugely important when selecting a backup solution. Natural disasters can wipe out entire facilities, so it is important to choose a provider with multiple, geographically separated data centers. For this, a cloud-based backup system is essential.
With image-based backups, your employees no longer have to pick and choose which files are backed up or worry about saving the most recent draft to the shared/backup folder. A ‘picture’ of the workstation or server is taken and stored as a place in time for that machine.
This is essential for restoration because rebuilding or virtualizing a machine requires not just files, but also the applications and systems. This feature adds significant usability in disaster scenarios.
Virtualization refers to the process around creating a virtual version of something. In the case of business continuity, this would likely be servers, devices, applications, or entire networks.
This feature keeps businesses functioning when the physical devices fail, minimizing downtime.
When selecting your backup and business continuity solution keep in mind the key elements you want to look for. Highly reliable solutions will yield full backups in a smarter, storage-saving way, limit downtime, and offer strong functionality at all levels.
Finding the best backup and business continuity provider for your business is the first step to safeguarding your business’s data and future as a whole. If your SMB is growing at a healthy pace, search for a managed IT services provider that can grow with you while catering to your budget.
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Since 2008, iSite Computers has worked with SMBs across South Africa to maximise their productivity, minimize disruption, and ultimately save time and money through effective backup and data protection.