As a small business, you’re a small fish in a big, wide ocean. Other fish have been there for longer and have become larger over time. A good reputation spreads quickly, and fish on the other side of the ocean will hear your name, possibly before you’ve heard theirs. Handling multiple clients at the same time not only increases revenue and productivity but enhances your skill set. It shows the world of business, that you’re building a great brand and that you’re responsible and competent.
Data loss can cause a critical meltdown for a small business. Disaster can strike out of nowhere and ruin your reputation before you’ve had a chance to show the world what you’re really made of. It’s not a question of if you’ll experience data loss, it’s when. As a small business with limited resources, being ill-prepared for such an event may bring about your downfall. Relinquish any doubt in your mind and calls of ‘’it won’t happen to me’’.
There are many ways that small businesses adapt to what their funds can achieve and storage is no different. There many ways to store data for your business, so here’s a run through of the many options small and medium sized businesses choose.
Image – Jisc
NAS – Operating at file level
Most small businesses lack the infrastructure to keep information stored in a synchronized, linear and secure fashion. So many opt for a most cost-effective option, in the way of a NAS. Metadata is aggregated in a network attached storage and retrieved from at any time through a server. A network attached storage is as you can probably guess, connected to your network. It’s not in any way physically connected to your computer. Think of it this way. Your computer is the customer of a bank. The LAN or router i.e. internet access port it is attached to, is the reception or clerk. The NAS stores valuable data like a bank vault. To access anything from your vault, you must first connect to or ‘talk’ with the clerk i.e. the internet. With the connection, you’re able to have access to whatever valuables are in your vault i.e. data stored in a NAS. Therefore you’re not directly linked to the NAS because you need a gateway i.e. an internet connection to access your stored data. Moreover, if your computer is not hooked to a router, you’ll be hooked via an ethernet cable to an ethernet switch, which in turn attaches to the internet access point; aka, the gateway. An NAS is accessible via the gateway because it bypasses the need to be connected to a server.
Source – Lore uni
DAS – Operates like a disk drive
A direct-attached storage is a disk drive or a subsystem which is either linked by IP/TCP link or physically via an ethernet cable. However, a (DAS) direct attached storage hooks to the server which treats it as an ‘owned’ resource. It does this by a SCSI protocol; SCSI is the most common technology that is used to connect with disks. How the data on the disk organizes and managed is done through the server.
SAN – Operating at block data level
Although possessing similar function as an NAS, a (SAN) storage area network behaves independently. Unlike an NAS which stores date in a linear fashion, a SAN provides access to data that’s combined into one single block, known as consolidated block level data. An SAN is used to transfer data between multiple storage elements; thus it behaves as a high-performance subnet. However, just like a NAS which is attached to a server, a storage area network is a network that gives access to multiple servers at once. It’s a network within a network without being an actual network. It cannot exist without the primary network. A clear distinction is that an SAN is connected via fiber channel wiring and physically connect by using a fiber channel storage protocol. The FCS links to a server. The server links to the gateway and the gateway links to your computer. But remember, an NAS different because it uses an ethernet cable or IP/TCP links straight to the gateway.
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It’s recommended you backup all of your data, as your business can only function if you have the data of your clients available at all times. High-end NAS units do have sophisticated management options that allow you to configure redundancy, also offering a monitoring system which has the power to alert you of any possible failures on the horizon for your data.
A quick solution to any storage Armageddon scenarios is to have drives based on HDD that you can use to swap a dying drive with a brand new drive without actually have to shut off the storage point i.e. an NAS. Switching on-the-go like this is the hotfix for a problem which could get out of hand just as quickly. This type of technology is aimed at businesses like yours.
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RAID is the most common and usually most effective way of recovering lost data. RAID combines multiple drives into a single high-capacity and faster-amalgamated volume. It’s designed to shoulder or tolerate failure redundancy, aka ‘fault/failure tolerance.’ It offers protection because the array of drives provide a multilayered backup entity should a disk fail. Essentially, RAID makes backups of your data which is on your disks, one after the other; therefore protecting you from hardware failure.
However, It’s not without its limitations. As you store more data, the RAID can become full as it is practically speaking, just a bunch of disk (JBOD). In order to interconnect the RAID you’ll have to buy larger and larger RAID systems, which is what large multinational corporations do. But you’re a small business, so what is the alternative for you should this happen? Specialist companies like BudgetPCUpgradeRepair.com have the capacity to recover and restore lost data in a way which small businesses and consumers can’t. As aforementioned, it requires an extensive infrastructure to have multiple backups and multiple storage hardware, connected to the network even to make it possible to be protected from a disastrous data loss.
Storing data on an independent Cloud system such as Google Drive is one way to prevent valuable data from being lost. Albeit somewhat clumsy and primitive, but online services even like Microsoft Outlook can and should be utilized in some form or another. If you’re a small startup business, your resources are taken up elsewhere, so use every avenue you possibly can.
Deploy baseline security. Complex encryptions, password protectors, foreign connection jammers, anti-malware, and a good all-around anti-virus system. Make your employees aware of harmful practices, like opening junk mail or visiting explicit websites with the computers at work. As with most technological security breaches, the human being is the weakest link in the chain. Give your staff training lessons on good practices and procedures should they spot something irregular. Develop a handbook or guide which is part of an employee’s welcome package. Support your staff in tough situations and educate them about the importance of secure systems and how your network infrastructure operates. The most they know, the better they can protect your business.
Perform regular updates and maintenance on your systems. Don’t leave anything to chance; you should be a well-oiled military-like operation when it comes to data protection. Your clients would feel much safer knowing their valuable and often personal business information is treated with care and sensitivity. Regular software updates keep you ahead of the game. There’s an entire black market industry, dedicated to hacking and stealing information from businesses. Therefore, as a small business the quality of hardware you buy is crucial to determining whether you’re an easy target or robustly protected. As a startup, your reputation is everything. Bad news travels around quickly, and you don’t want to be an untrusted name in your respective field.
Photo source – Sage Ross
Understanding what kind of storage system you use is imperative. If you haven’t already, you must read up on RAID and how to recover lost data. Alternatively, you can contact a specialist, but as in the world of business, time costs money. SAN, DAS and NAS are all interconnected with one another, so learning what functions each layer of storage performs what role is another lesson you as a small business you need to learn. Buying the best hardware won’t solve everything, it’s the understanding and learning about it that counts. Data leak prevention technologies have been advancing in the detection of malware and increasingly implemented into systems for not just large businesses, but small businesses too. Data leak prevention software is an affordable option for the startup business if funds are scarce. These solutions may also be configured for silent monitoring, and they feature modes that will aggressively fight off an attempts to bust into your central network system. Above all else, take the time to know you network inside and out. As a startup, the buck stops at your door and you’re answerable to your clients personally.