Dealing with vast amounts of data used to be a problem faced purely by large enterprises. However, in today’s world of rapidly increasing data, it’s now an issue for companies of all sizes, including SMEs.

Symantec’s recent State of Information Survey conducted over 38 countries worldwide found that SMEs expected their storage to increase by 178% over the next year.

The large amount of data companies now produce, which can be in the terabytes and petabytes, needs to be backed up and stored so it can be accessed easily and quickly. It needs to be archived in case it is needed in the future, and also for compliance reasons; and it needs to be replicated, so it’s available for use in the case of a disaster. All this needs to be done cost-effectively and securely.

Increases in data volume now make storage a key business issue. Performance issues, which result from companies being overwhelmed by data or by backing up, could impact on profitability. Not being able to find data quickly enough, if it is needed for compliance reasons, could result in fines. Ease of access for data analysis is crucial.

And the inability to access data quickly, in the event of a disaster, could put a company out of business. Some recent statistics indicate that 43% of businesses that close after a natural disaster never re-open and a further 29% close within two years.

Which route forward?

The question is how to choose a storage solution that will cope with current storage needs, as well as taking you forward into a future of unpredictable and mushrooming, data growth? Storage solutions range from traditional tape to the cloud, with other options and permutations in between. Tape is not a viable medium-term solution for a number of reasons, including capacity, back-up time and the unsuitability for disaster recovery.

One solution for more conservative companies is to use RDX removable hard disc cartridges for storage. They combine the best of hard disc and tape storage. They scale with a business, but, unlike tape, are very rugged and reliable. It’s a step forward, for those who have been using tape, which isn’t too different from what went before.

For some organisations, cloud may be the answer. For others, particularly if they have been using tape in the past, the leap to the cloud may be too great and they want something more tangible. One disadvantage of the cloud, which many aren’t aware of, is that the data is probably going to be stored on traditional tape.

Another option is to go for a hybrid solution, which gives local back up with background cloud back-up. This option provides speed of access with the security of offsite cloud. For example, you could have a network attached storage (NAS) backup appliance which uses hard disk drives, removable RDX disk cartridges, replication, and cloud storage to provide up to four layers of data protection.

This would shorten back-up windows and allow for fast recovery. You would be able to make multiple copies of content as local online copies, replicated copies, optional offline RDX copies and remote online (cloud) copies. So you can have all bases covered. You don’t have to go with the cloud straight away, but the facility is there to do it when and if you are ready.

Alternatively, you could go with a backup service. This might provide full local data back-up, combined with a storage subscription, to replicate data to the cloud at two offsite locations. So you get onsite back-ups for fast restore times and secure, offsite storage for disaster recovery.