Business information such as documents, emails, presentations, graphics, databases, spreadsheets, and audio files is the lifeblood of most small businesses. However, the applications required to operate and protect the sensitive information of your business may often consume a higher capacity of your disk space. Besides this, numerous trends are creating the need for having ample disk storage:
- As a legal obligation, most small businesses are required to archive their email messages that date back 5-6 years.
- The occurrence of spyware and viruses require backups that are even more vigilant than ever before – this means a higher storage capacity is a must-have for the survival of any business.
- Incorporating new versions of operating system or software application requires a higher capacity of a hard drive as compared to previous storage options.
- Larger media files like videos can be shared with a larger group of people only if those are available to them on a specific network. This requirement has increased the demand for adapting more upgraded and sophisticated storage options.
Storing information effectively is crucial for any organization’s long-term success. Luckily, there is a myriad of options available that help small businesses ease their storage concerns without having to worry about storage locations.
But how to ensure if a specific storage option aligns well with your business operations? Before going further, you’ll have to determine your data storage needs (depending on your data capacity and the physical location). After this, you should consider the data storage options that fulfill your business needs. At the end, you’ll only be left with developing a strategy to implement the chosen data storage option.
To assess your data storage needs, simply answer these questions:
- Which business applications does your organization use to produce the larger data files?
- Which servers are used for running each application?
- How much of your business data is stale or duplicate and how old is it?
- How much of the data is not specifically related to the business?
- Which locations do you use to access your data?
Keep in mind that it’s all about how, when, and where you store your data. Once you have clarified the storage need, you can easily choose a feasible option for storing your business data.
Below are a few data storage options that are specifically useful for small businesses:
Flash Memory Thumb Drives
Ideal for mobile professionals, flash memory drives can be connected to your laptop so that you can back up important files regardless of your location. Depending on their specifications, some of these drives provide an option to save your Outlook emails, calendar items, files, bookmarks, and even a few desktop applications. This level of convenience lets you leave your laptop at home as you can save all your business data in the USB drive and plug it into any borrowed computer.
By using computer support backup and remote storage services, you have an option to back up your business data to a remote server that’s not only secure but can be easily accessed from any location. Since the access is password-protected, only authorized users can get access to the data available in this online storage. This provides you the flexibility to share large files with your clients, partners, or other stakeholders. Hence, this eliminates the need to send those bulky files via email.
If you’re traveling but an urgent task comes up, you can still access your business data by logging into your account from any PC. However, the functionality of remote storage mainly depends on the speed of the network access.
External Hard Drives
This surely is a cost-effective way to store your data. However, saving your files on external drives requires you to create a backup. Besides this, traveling for work would always mean taking the external drive with you or copying the same files to another portable storage media so that you can have access to your files.
Network-Attached Storage (NAS)
NAS provides fast and reliable access to business data. It’s ideal for small or medium-sized businesses that require an economical storage which can be shared by multiple users over a single network. Since not all small businesses have a fully functional IT department, they can deploy NAS solutions. Interestingly, NAS also enables multiple users to print documents on a single networked printer.
The Bottom Line
Choosing the most suitable data storage option is crucial to the overall efficiency of any business. That’s why so much emphasis is given to analyzing your data storage needs. Once you have figured out what’s best for your organization, it’s the right time to consult an IT professional so that they can recommend the storage option that’s not only cost-effective but can be a good fit for multiple users of your organization.
Louise Hodgson is a tech savvy Mom who enjoys teaching, and showing others their way around a device. She has successfully taught her Grandmother to use the internet, and now has her Great Uncle using a smart phone!