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2 min read

Easy Ways Small Businesses Can Reduce Data Costs and Risks

Every week, I have conversations with business executives who want help reducing their Information Technology (IT) costs and risks. Some of the main concerns they bring up are around their data – reducing their off-site storage costs, organizing their files, and making sure the right people have access to the right data.

Since most companies’ operations rely heavily on technology, these are huge concerns for business leaders.

What's Being Stored on Your Company's Servers?

If data is stored on your servers, it’s important to review what is being saved to them. Many times after doing some investigation, businesses discover that employees are saving personal pictures and videos on company networks. These are generally large files that take up a significant amount of space.

Aside from the precious real estate that these files are occupying on the server, businesses may also be backing up these files and then paying to store them off-site.

Backup Costs

The issue is two-fold for businesses. One is that the bigger the backup, the longer it will take to restore; and two, as the amount of data being backed up off-site increases, so does the cost. Off-site storage is generally priced per gigabyte (GB).

Sharing Large Files

Another challenge businesses have is with large files, such as PDFs and architectural drawings. These files belong on corporate networks, but sharing them isn’t always an easy task.

Construction companies, for example, frequently need to share these types of documents with many different contractors.

Since emailing large files can cause performance issues for Microsoft Exchange, some companies are using online document services, such as Dropbox, to share information with the necessary parties. Services like Dropbox are not bad, but IT does not have control over the permissions settings for these documents, which means that some parties could have access to documents that they shouldn’t. Or in some cases, people have documents stored across three or four different places and it becomes very difficult to find things when you need them.

There are online file services that allow for tighter security, such as permission-based access levels. That way only the right people can access documents. These services are generally set up by IT service providers.

The "Big Data" Transfer Problem

The term “Big Data” has been floating around for a while and it’s clear that Big Data is a big problem. Businesses are electronically storing more data than ever before and that’s creating huge challenges for IT. Something that doesn’t cross most people’s minds is how long it can take to transfer that amount of data from one place to another. If you have to copy terabytes of data from one location to another, it could take weeks to do so depending on the speed of the connection and the amount of data that you’re dealing with.

This is another reason getting rid of unnecessary data from your servers, such as employee photos, is important.

Data costs and risks are an important issue for businesses. Executives should talk to their IT service provider, whether they are in-house or outsourced, to make sure their data is backed up and secured according to IT best practices.

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