Imagine, forty or fifty years ago, the vast amount of physical space SMB’s would have required to store the many paper documents they accumulated over the years. Pages upon pages of paper had to be housed and often secured under lock and key in an office. Cut to the present, where even small to mid-sized MSP’s have to maintain terabytes of files and applications but can do so in a single tiny space, just roomy enough for a server or two.
But the big question for many IT Directors is: “how do I determine how much space my business requires?” This is one of those pesky questions that can be difficult to determine, especially if your business is in the midst of expanding. Either way, it’s incredibly important you develop a clear data storage plan before purchasing a storage option.
The following are some particulars to keep in mind when you are developing your storage plan for your SMB.
Think of Physical Space when Determining Your Digital Document Storage Needs
It may be helpful for you to visualize a physical space and convert that to digital units to figure out how much space your documents require. One drawer in an average filing cabinet can hold approximately 2,500 pages, so, therefore, a cabinet with four drawers will hold around 10,000 pages. It’s safe to assume about 25,000 pages (or 2.5 cabinets) will require about 1 GB of space or two physical CDs for storage. If your business is on the small side with two or three staff, this can be a great way to determine whether you should invest in a server or continue to use hardware.
Got a bigger business? This may not be an ideal method of storage calculation for you, though it can still be a good jumping off point for your storage plan. If you have a whole storeroom of cabinets or hundreds of thousands of documents, you know you need to consider upgrading your storage to a server, which works in terabytes.
Know All Your Options
Regarding what you can use for storage, you have a few different options. You can choose one or combine some of them.
- Direct-Attached Storage (DAS) devices attach or plug into your server or computer. Although DAS devices can be external like a USB thumb drive or external hard drive, they can also be internal like a PC’s internal storage drive.
- Network-Attached Storage (NAS) systems connect to an office network, making them a bit more cost-effective than other options.
- Storage Area Networks (SAN) are often used in medium to large-sized businesses and create a storage network independent of a server.
- Offline storage like Blu-Rays and CDs are often viewed as obsolete, however, they can come in handy when you’re in a bind. Take Google for example, who ended up reverting to tape backups during a deletion crisis in 2011.
- Private and public cloud storage are also both viable options. A private cloud is developed for your business specifically and houses your data and applications on a platform designed to suit your company. Public cloud options are chosen because they are managed by a third-party, making them simpler to implement, and they can be accessed anywhere by any employee who has log-in details.
Don’t Put All Your Data in One Basket
It’s essential you make more than one copy of your data and applications in case of disaster. Say all your data is on one server, but you have yet to make copies onto a separate physical or digital source. What if that server fails? This is a major cause of downtime and something that can be avoided if data has been copied to different avenues.
Remember, it’s not enough to simply backup your data into alternate storage spaces. This data also needs to be able to be easily and efficiently recovered.
Every company is different and requires the implementation of a storage plan. StorageCraft is here to help you determine how much and what kind of storage you need for your business. Contact us today to learn more or register for a free trial of StorageCraft® Shadow Protect™.