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How can SMEs boost data security?

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Data securitySmall and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can often feel as if the odds are stacked against them. In the digital age, and in a competitive market, it’s not easy to get your message out there and make money, while paying attention to the constantly evolving world of technology at the same time. Luckily, one thing SMEs don’t have to worry about is data protection… right?


Unfortunately, there is still a common belief among the heads of smaller businesses that data security isn’t really an issue. Quite often, SME employees practice lacklustre security processes because they think in a world of big business, why would anyone want to target them? However, they do not realise that it is their smaller, more vulnerable, size that is the appeal to data hackers.

Data takes precedence

In 2015, data is more critical than ever to companies of all sizes, whether gigantic, large, small or miniscule. In today’s turbo-charged world, it is vital that if something untoward happens, business can get websites and critical applications such as email back up and running within minutes, ensuring that disruption to customer service is kept to a minimum. However, for some reason, SMEs are still failing to take note.

Protecting your assets is quite simply a must for all businesses in the digital age, so we’ve put together these top tips to ensure you are protected from illegal online activity.

Plan for disaster

Arguably the most important step for data protection: planning. It may be tempting to put it off, but those SMEs that take the time to do this will be thankful they did, should anything disastrous happen. When looking at preparation, address these key issues:

  • How long could you stand to be away from your customers?
  • Do you have copies of key records and applications?
  • How fast could you recover critical data? And how up-to-date would it be?
  • What would you do if your servers went down for any period of time?
  • How much data have you created since the last back up?


Appoint one employee to essentially “own” data protection and disaster recovery processes and ensure they have the support they need to do this job effectively. Then, get a group together consisting of all the people with a stake in the data and look at your various options and regulations more closely.

This is a great opportunity to decide which applications and data are critical, for example, ecommerce outlets, websites and email capabilities. Be realistic here, and take time to focus on what would have the biggest impact if it was lost.

Move your data

These days, cloud solutions are the go-to for businesses of all sizes looking to store data externally. The opportunities presented by this technology are seemingly endless – and it can also provide a viable solution for SMEs that are looking for ways to protect their assets.

Collect information

If there is downtime, calculate the overall cost – for employees, customers and even suppliers – which will give you a wider picture of just how much the loss of critical information will set your company back. Then, ensure this data is provided by other managers, as this will give further ammunition for your case for taking steps to protect data.

Look beyond tape

One good thing about using tape is its low cost and portable nature, not to mention the fact it is still a viable option in this day and age. However, it no longer cuts the mustard for those critical business applications because it’s too slow to recover data and leaves your business open to failure.

As an alternative, consider the following:

  • Hardware storage mirroring – this is good for meeting RPO, but expensive. It is also no good for low bandwidth in remote locations.
  • Software replication – cheaper than hardware storage mirroring, and also simpler, making it less bandwidth hungry.

Collaboration is key

All good businesses listen to their customers, and this is no exception. Speak to members of your target audience – including vendors – and ask them to identify the services that they consider to be the most important, and what they would want recovered first.

Overall, it is essential for SMEs to have a plan in place when it comes to disaster recovery, failure to do so could lead to more than just monetary losses in the long term.


Albie Attias

Albie Attias

Albie Attias is Managing Director at King Of Servers.

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Tags: Security, Technology