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The Best Data Storage for Small Businesses

Given the massive amount of data that small businesses have to manage daily, a reliable form of data storage is critical to operations. When you think about how much information you receive and generate daily — from emails and documents to audio files, presentations, graphics and spreadsheets — you’re reminded of how the need for managing and storing information has become integral to business success.

Not only do you need to make sure that all of this information is securely stored, but you need to make sure you can access certain types of information immediately (or even from a remote location, when necessary).

Storage comes in different forms, and it takes looking at each type closely to determine which one is best for your business. In evaluating different types of storage, one of the first things to do is determine what your storage needs are. That process involves an evaluation of all business applications and determining how much data is used, who uses it and how or where they need to access that data. You’ll also want to consider your future needs to avoid having to pay for additional storage down the road.

Armed with that information, you will have a better idea of what type of storage will fit best in your environment. Let’s look at three types of data storage solutions for small businesses to help you begin the process of choosing which one works best for you.

A Closer Look at Direct-Attached Storage

Direct-attached storage devices, or DAS, are storage components that connect directly to a single computer. That device is not accessible to other computers, and the most common form of a DAS is a solid-state drive (SSD). However, they also can be hard disk drives (HDDs) inside a server chassis or can be an external storage unit that connects directly into a server; it may also be an individual drive in a desktop or laptop computer.

Although more than one system can use the same DAS device, it is not part of a storage network and each computer or server must have its own separate connection to use that device.

Some of the advantages of using DAS is that it provides the fastest speeds of these storage options, which is important when working with large amounts of data. It is less expensive than other forms of storage and is easier to deploy; all you need to do is purchase new drives and connect them to the server in order to increase your storage capacity. Because of its ease and affordability, DAS is often a popular choice for small and medium-sized businesses that are concerned about the cost of storage./

The downside of DAS is that it isn’t your most convenient option when it comes to backing up data that has been stored on multiple workstations. Since it isn’t networked, the DAS will have to be physically moved from one workstation to the next to back up the data. If you think DAS may be the best option for your business, you should consider Dell’s PowerVault line and the StorageWorks series from HP.

The Benefits of Network-Attached Storage

Network-attached storage, or NAS, provides exactly what the name implies: it connects to your company network and can be accessed by all of the devices that connect to that network. These systems are flexible and scalable, and it is an excellent choice for data redundancy using RAID configurations, which allow for the mirroring of data across multiple storage devices. This minimizes the risk of losing data through hardware failures.

A NAS is, essentially, a standalone computer that acts as a file server. It could be likened to having a private cloud in your office; it has the storage benefits of a public cloud but allows you to maintain all control — and is much faster and oftentimes less expensive.

Among the advantages of a NAS system is that the data is always accessible, which can improve collaboration and allow for quicker response times to customers. It allows you to consolidate all of your storage into one place and requires less equipment and cabling to manage it.

With NAS, users can collaborate and share data easily, which makes it a good solution for remote teams or for workers who are in different locations. NAS is also a good fit for multi-operating system environments, as it allows access to all authorized devices, regardless of the OS.

With a number of options to choose from, small businesses can find a NAS storage option that has the right amount of storage and at varying price points. Among those options are Dell’s PowerVault and EqualLogic storage arrays, HP’s StorageWorks solutions and Synology’s NAS solutions.

Understanding Cloud Storage

Cloud storage has become increasingly popular as an affordable and flexible solution for businesses of all sizes. Because you only pay for the storage space you need, you don’t have to worry about over or under buying. The private cloud allows you to store your data online rather than on-site, which immediately reduces costs including electricity, maintenance and personnel. You can also improve your security by migrating at-risk applications to offsite disaster recovery locations.

One of the biggest advantages of this type of storage is that your employees can connect to the system securely from wherever they are, but there are several other factors that make it appealing as well. Cloud storage lends itself to easy sharing, collaboration and scalability. And in terms of disaster recovery, it can play a key role in your 3-2-1 data backup plan, ensuring that you never lose your valuable data.

If the cloud solution is appealing to you, Aventis Systems’ virtual private server (VPS) hosting and plans can provide a way to immediately begin securing your data.

Find the Data Storage Solution That’s Right for You

Choosing the right data storage solution is simpler when you have identified what you need and understand what each one can (and can’t) do. It’s an important decision that shouldn’t be delayed since a data apocalypse can happen at any time.

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