As an entrepreneur, I’ve made a conscious decision to distinguish between smart business and good business. Running a smart business means accepting that my time is finite and my expertise doesn’t cover everything, so it’s false economy to try to handle all aspects of my business in-house. Dedicating my time and energy to my core functions—serving my clients and building my business—is smarter than allowing myself to get bogged down with the myriad of other tasks. And I know I’m more successful when I focus my efforts, rather than trying to be a Jack-of-all-trades.

In other words, running a smart business means doing what I do best, and handing off the rest to reputable providers who specialize in “the rest”—including human resources administration, information technology, lead generation, and so on.

So, what non-core functions are keeping you from running your business the smart way? I’m willing to bet that the necessary evil of data backup is one of them. Since 9/11, the outsourcing of offsite data backup to third party providers has gained significant traction. More and more businesses are recognizing that getting their data backed up and stored by experts greatly improves the reliability and security of their critical data protection, while at the same time reducing the time and money they spend on manual data storage.

Here are just a few of the many smart reasons to outsource your company’s data backup functions.

Save Time and Avoid Errors with Automatic Daily Backups

Thanks to new technology, online data backup and recovery services fully automate the storage process, backing-up your critical data 365 days a year to secure offsite servers. By removing the human element from the backup process, the risk of manual errors (and negligence) is eliminated. And the best part is that you (or your already stretched-to-the-limit IT personnel) don’t need to press a single key to protect your company’s most valuable asset—your data.

Eliminate Dependence on Unreliable Backup Media

Traditional backup media become unreadable over time, corrupting your data just as VCR tapes chew up your home movies. Being able to recover lost files is the obvious point of data backup, and outsourcing the process to a reputable online data backup and recovery service ensures that your backups are accessible when you need them most.

Limit Down-time to Save Money and Your Reputation

When disaster strikes and you need to retrieve your backups, traditional methods are slow and costly. A great deal of time is lost in locating the appropriate recovery disks or tapes, transporting them back to where you need them, mounting the tapes on your system, locating the files you need, and restoring the data. But by using an online backup service you can restore information immediately with a click of your mouse.

You need to ask yourself: How much money do we lose per hour of down-time? And how does prolonged down-time affect our reputation? For many businesses, every minute of down-time results in lost revenue, lost productivity, and irreparable damage to customer and investor relations.

Cut Your Costs

By outsourcing your company’s data backup functions, you eliminate all hardware expenses (capital and maintenance) as well as all personnel expenses (time spent on training, cleaning and rotating tapes, testing backup media and recovery processes, and so on) related to maintaining your own backups. Online backup providers charge monthly storage fees that depend entirely on the quantity of your data (measured in gigabytes) and the type of data you’re storing. Look for a service that stores static data (which doesn’t change) at a lower rate per gigabyte than dynamic data (which changes regularly).

Ever Needed a Time Machine?

The ability to store multiple snapshots of your data is another smart reason to outsource your data storage. This feature is particularly useful if you need to retrieve files that were lost weeks (or even months) ago, or if your industry’s regulations require you to archive data for extended periods. The best online backup services provide this feature at no additional cost.

Use the Internet to Protect Your Backups from Local Disasters

Online backup services store your critical data at secure remote data centres. This is a critical part of the service, since any physical backups that you store at your site are vulnerable to viruses, theft, vandalism, power surges and dips, and anything Mother Nature can throw at you, including fire, floods, hurricanes, and tornadoes.

Of course, you must evaluate the cost of outsourcing your company’s data backup and storage. But the harsh underbelly of opportunity cost (in this case, unrecoverable data) almost always tips the scales in favour of these new online backup technologies. And the ability to bounce back quickly from a frightening critical data loss is smart business at its best.

Copyright 2007 - Blue Melnick. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Reprint Rights: You may reprint this article as long as you leave all of the links active, do not edit the article in any way, and include the following byline:

Blue Melnick is the Co-Founder and Lead Storage Specialist of Virtual Tape Drive Canada. Blue invites you to contact him through www.vtdcanada.com or by phone at 416-462-3323. Not sure if online data backup is right for you? Why not sign up for Biz Link News—Blue’s free monthly ezine—to learn more about how this new technology can “save” your business?

Author's Bio: 

Blue Melnick, Co-Founder and Lead Storage Specialist of Virtual Tape Drive Canada, has a decade of experience in IT management. Blue is the driving force behind VTD Canada’s SOS Support Team, which provides the most comprehensive 24/7/365 telephone and onsite technical support in the industry. A natural spokesperson, Blue advances VTD Canada’s vision by communicating the importance of secure offsite data backup to other entrepreneurs and business leaders in the SME space.

Prior to co-founding Virtual Tape Drive Canada in September 2006, Blue was the General Manager and Senior Vice President of Information Technology for R.A.P. Marketing Promotions Inc. He spearheaded the multi-million dollar fundraising campaign for the Police Retirees of Ontario for nine consecutive years, and was also responsible for R.A.P.’s multi-office predictive dialing communications system.

Blue represents Virtual Tape Drive Canada as the President of Business Network International’s (BNI) Toronto Danforth Chapter. On the weekends, he teaches young teens to ski at Alpine Ski Club in The Town of the Blue Mountains, Ontario.

February 2007