SME's in the Digital Age

The British Library’s recent decision to archive material on one billion web pages from nearly five million UK websites struck me as a true reflection of the digital age that we are now living in.

Not only does it highlight the significance the internet has had on our daily lives for the past 15 years, but it also shows how much we rely on information being available online, anytime that we need it.

The desire for information anywhere, at anytime is as important in the lives of consumers as it is in the business world. Once physical formats have now become digital with our music, films and documents taking up space on our hard drives instead of rooms in our homes.

The ever-growing digital world brings with it a pressure of making sure that if a laptop is dropped, a tablet is smashed or a phone is stolen, data can be recovered and is not lost forever.

For SMEs, this is arguably even more important. I hear many such stories from small businesses all the time. Employees working remotely on an important document lose their laptop, have their bag stolen with the memory stick inside or leave tablets in the back of a taxi.

For some organisations the document will be lost forever, with the business having to invest valuable hours in attempting to recover the information or begin creating the document from the start.

This is just one example of a potential issue with losing data. A flood can render servers redundant, a fire can burn years’ worth of backups and a rogue employee could choose to exact a vendetta and erase valuable data as a parting shot. The issue with natural or man-made disasters is that they result in prolonged periods of downtime can result in lost revenue, impeded productivity and damaged credibility in the eyes of clients.

SMEs that have never experienced a disruption may believe they do not need a sound disaster recovery plan, but having this mentality is dangerous on many levels. Many companies have paid a very heavy price for failing to prepare for such contingencies.

How can SME’s legislate against these issues? One of the simplest ways is through Cloud Computing which offers several solutions to help companies plan for and meet business continuity and disaster recovery requirements. Simply put, the Cloud backs up your data and information to a web-based service that can be accessed remotely or in the office via a device with an internet connection.

Storing information in the Cloud has a number of advantages. It can be accessed from anywhere through almost any internet enabled advice, it can be upgraded as and when a business requires and offers a quick way to restore data in the case of an emergency.

A recent study found that 80% of firms using the Cloud can retrieve mission-critical information in less than 24 hours, compared to one in six that said it would take more than a week to recover data with on-site backups. Of the companies leveraging the cloud, 25% said they can access resources instantaneously.

With the roll out of superfast broadband, over 90% of all premises in Northern Ireland have access to high speed internet. This places Northern Ireland ahead of most European countries in terms of fibre broadband availability. Our access to powerful broadband speeds means that instant connectivity will soon be something that all local SMEs will feel the benefit of.

In an age of remote access, working on the go and protecting electronic information, Cloud computing can be a vital asset in SMEs technology portfolio. The Cloud enables businesses to keep their information safe while allowing employees to access the tools of their trade from virtually any device with an internet connection.

Embracing this emerging internet technology is a one sure way for businesses to protect themselves from future IT disasters while offering their employees full access to important programmes and documents on the go.

To find out more about Cloud Solutions, get in touch with the Xperience team.