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Small Business Data Management in the Cloud

Forbes reports that a recent survey showed more than 60 percent of small business owners are using the cloud today. Businesses with fewer than 20 employees are more likely to use the cloud than larger companies. The use of cloud backup in small businesses has become popular due to cost savings and easier data management. Make the most of the cloud for your small business with the following tips.

It's Not All or Nothing

You don't need to keep all of your data in one place. Business News Daily outlines three different cloud architectures used by small businesses:

Public cloud - This is maintained entirely by a cloud service provider. Your data resides on their infrastructure and you could share space with other businesses, or pay extra to have dedicated space.

Private cloud - This is a cloud maintained by your technical team in your own office space. You are responsible for all of the data in this cloud. This might be where you process highly sensitive information and want exclusive access. There are many virtual private servers that work as dedicated servers where you can customize your environment and make the settings work for your business needs.

Hybrid cloud - This is where your data resides in both public and private clouds. This could be a good place for you to start using the cloud concept for data management while you learn about the capabilities of cloud computing.

For example, you could use a public cloud-based CRM system for tracking your customer information. Using the best address standardization application integrated with your CRM system along with other data consistency tools, you'll keep your customer data free of errors. In a private cloud in your office, you can maintain your sales management data which will also use the CRM data in the public cloud. Once these systems are set up, the physical location of your data becomes transparent to you and your staff.

Data Backup and Recovery

A Tech Radar study showed that many small businesses underestimated the amount of data they needed to backup leaving much information unprotected. Some small businesses relied on DVDs and flash drives which don’t have the needed capacity. Backing up your data in the cloud means you don’t have to manage storage devices or storage capacity.

When planning to use an online backup service to the cloud, some questions to consider are:

  • Are the physical devices stored in a secure location? Are the servers on U.S. territory or on international sites? This could be important for certain information, such as government and some financial data.
  • Is data encryption standard or offered as an additional service?
  • What backup speeds can you expect from the cloud vendor?
  • What is the turn around time for data recovery? How soon can it be initiated?
  • How long will the service store your data?

Make sure you understand all of the costs associated and servi0ces provided. Some services charge a fee per gigabyte. Others offer a flat rate for a large amount of data (e.g., 100GB).

With a hybrid cloud environment, you can back up your data to a public cloud and make copies of specific data onto your private cloud. This can give you immediate access to your data if your should need it for recovery.

For example, a 24/7 service contract with your cloud service is much more expensive than 24/5 service (Mon - Fri). You can sign up for the 24/5 service and keep a copy of your backup data in your private cloud. That way, you have it to recovery a file late Saturday night when you don’t have support from your vendor.

Published Wednesday, October 30, 2013 6:41 AM by David Marshall
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Small Business Data Management in the Cloud - Telapprise - (Author's Link) - November 26, 2013 3:50 AM
Small Business Data Management in the Cloud - Telapprise - (Author's Link) - November 26, 2013 3:50 AM
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