The multiplication of digital information and its increasing complexity comes with the growth of a business. While this issue is customarily dealt with by applying IT solutions and software to process and organise data, the spate of natural disasters from tsunamis to earthquakes in the past 10 years have heightened awareness towards data protection and backup. Businesses are not only faced with challenges of having to choose data protection technology with the capacity and scalability to keep pace with data growth and type. These days, when natural disasters, civil wars and riots could rain on off-premise server sites at anytime, cloud-based backup solutions have thankfully been a saving grace. Coincidentally, in an era of austerity measures in which backup hardware costs have become sorely augmented by shrinking profits, cloud-based backup is fast becoming a more cost-effective solution of choice. The reduction in backup and recovery times as well as its ability to automate and interoperate with available software endows online storage technology with features far more advantageous than traditional disk-to-disk or disk-to-disk-to-tape solutions.
The Capabilities of Cloud Computing
In addition, an online backup solution also serves as a collaboration platform that enables external parties or large corporations with multi-users to manage data of various client-sites globally on one interface. When integrated with software, cloud storage can be designed to work with and store data in the format of the specific software. For small businesses, it gives an early start to data risk management without the need for heavy investments into physical servers and IT support.
Cost Reduction and Savings
Per application, cloud computing will accelerate the implementation of data protection policies and is expected to save an estimated US$30,000 per year or 50 working days of performing manual backups and hiring extra IT consultants. These savings does not yet include the elimination of downtime costs, opportunity costs, expenditure on hard-disk data recovery or damage control, employee error (the 4th largest security concern) and hefty fines for violating Data Protection Acts which are proliferating across the world.
In 2009, HSBC was fined US$4.7 million for failing to implement adequate systems to protect data from loss or theft (BBC News, 22 July 2009). Subsequently in 2010, Zurich Insurance was fined US$3.6 million for losing customer details during a routine transfer to a data storage centre in South Africa (BBC News, 24 August 2010). Although the scope of these cases and data protection regulations cover the safeguarding of personal data, similar legal obligations are expected of companies holding and processing information about clients, employees or suppliers. So for companies which have not considered the cloud backup option, the question is whether due diligence have been done to take all reasonable steps to ensure that effective systems and controls are in place to manage the risks relating to data protection. This is a point to be taken seriously especially for companies managing customer information through outsourcing arrangements.
About Nealda Yusof
Dr. Nealda Yusof is a business and technology writer who has expertise in developing business plans, evaluating technology, establishing business processes and performing market literature research. She owns a small business BeegBee Technology Alliances. For more information about BeegBee Technology Alliances and its solutions, visit www.BeegBee.com.
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