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Five Rules to Effective Data Storage

It's fairly easy to get caught up in the daily tasks of running your business. Things such as scheduling meetings, managing payroll, and marketing often supercede one of the most important tasks - securing business data. If data storage is the last thing in your mind, it's recommended that you take a new approach, one that will help to ensure the longevity of your business. More than likely, your business consists of invoices, sensitive client informatio,n and records that you may need to produce quickly later down the road. This is critical data you simply cannot afford to lose.

Now that we have touched on the importance of data storage, let's continue with the five basic rules that will help you secure your essential business information:

#1 - Device a Plan for Storage

A well developed plan is a key element to any area of business - and data storage is no different. You should begin by determining exactly what data needs to be stored and how often it should be backed up. Is the information documented on paper? A computer? Maybe a backup server? Who will be responsible for storing the data? You? One or more staff members? How will the data be stored? On or offsite? This first rule must be established before moving forward with data storage.

# 2 - Choosing a Method for Backup and Storage

When choosing a method of backup, try to make sure the system is easy to execute in order to make frequent backups. If you need to backup and restore data quickly, a disk-to-disk method may be a good option. With this option, a mirror system is used to back up your data, enabling you to retrieve all lost files when the proper configurations are made. Keep in mind that disks can be rather expensive and aren't considered a permanent method of storage. A disk system works best when used in conjunction with magnetic or optical storage such as DVD media.

Another option is to backup your data online with a third-party storage provider. This is very convenient for small businesses who do not have a lot of data to store. While some these services may be pricey, they offer the advantage of reliable offsite storage.

# 3 - Accurately Label your Media

Now that you have devised a plan and have your storage methods in order, you need to make sure the archived information can be easily located. Guidelines should be established to ensure that everyone clearly knows how to consistently store data. This makes for easier retrieval later down the road.

# 4 -Store Data Securely

Regardless if you're storing data in-house or with an online storage provider, it must be stored securely to protect against common disasters. The online storage provider may have a good track record, but what if their server happens to fail? Your server room may be protected against thieves, but what about a fire or flood? For the most effective data storage, the information you send to a storage provider should be kept offsite in another secured location. If you decide to store data in-house, make an investment in a fireproof safe to protect your sensitive information.

# 5 - Review your Storage Needs

As your business continues to evolve, you may feel the need to change your original method of storage. For instance, online storage may have been the perfect solution when the business only consisted of five employees, but may not be as effective with the new staff of twenty. Be sure to review your storage needs on a regular basis and make changes whenever necessary.

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