Are You Prepared For Disaster? Is Your Data Really Protected?
by Ian Apps - Product Manager for EMEA at Plasmon Data - Wednesday, 7 July 2004.
Whether it be hurricane, flood, fire or simply a member of staff accidentally hitting the delete key, your company’s data is constantly at risk from being permanently wiped out. Companies need to ask themselves, ‘Do we have the strategy in place to cope with a disaster?’ The need to store, back-up, archive and retrieve both current and archived data is growing rapidly as companies get bigger and investment in IT increases. By 2004, world data storage capacity will reach 2,000,000 terabytes, but despite this, only 12% of European Boards of Directors are taking responsibility for disaster recovery planning. Now is the time to recognise the value of information and the impact that a disaster could have on your business. The best storage offering may not necessarily be the most expensive, or the cheapest. It may use tape or optical technology or a combination of both. The most important thing to bear in mind when making storage decisions is to choose carefully, think wisely and expect the unexpected.

Think about the impact on the organisation if your systems failed for just one day. How much money would you lose? How many customers would you forfeit? Now imagine that the same systems failure resulted in a complete loss of data. All your files, records and accounts could be lost forever. Could your company even survive? Broadcasters Network International analyst, Phil Proffit, says that the vast majority of data loss occurs because of accidental deletion and not due to viruses. The Financial Times reinforces this idea with the statistic that 50% of companies suffer data loss through human error. With this in mind, it is no wonder that storage strategy is increasingly becoming a boardroom topic of discussion.

It is obvious that organisations should want to protect their data. Research at Gartner states that 93% of businesses experiencing significant data loss are out of business within five years. PriceWaterhouseCoopers expands upon this by highlighting that 90% of all companies encountering a computer ‘disaster’ with no pre-existing survival plan go out of business within 18 months. A good storage strategy ensures that your organisation’s most valuable asset is protected and permanently available.

All this suggests that choosing the right storage products to protect your data is vitally important. The next hurdle is to decide which solution best suits your needs. When looking at the range of storage products on offer, it is easy to see why companies might be confused. Should you go for MO or LTO, DVD or CD-R, DLT or SDLT? Then there is RAID, WORM, AIT, 3480, Blu-Ray, Mammoth, Timberwolf, 3490 and UDO to consider. When companies approach a vendor to provide them with a storage solution there are three things to consider: what the customer thinks he wants, what the vendor proposes and what the customer actually needs. The discrepancies between these can often be solved through simple education. Storage products have to be tailored to each company’s needs and the best solutions may not necessarily be the most expensive or the cheapest, it is entirely dependent on the application and user requirements.

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