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Hot Spots: On-demand technology sized right for SMBs

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Small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are challenged by many of the same data management issues larger companies face. Mandated reporting requirements and rapid growth, along with remote or mobile locations, mean SMBs struggle with geographically dispersed data and ediscovery requests that can tie up systems and staff. At the same time, many SMBs still depend on tape-based backup systems and often don't have a designated IT staff member who specializes in designing or developing backup and recovery systems.

The good news is that many small- to medium-sized businesses are discovering that online--or on-demand--backup and recovery can work for them the same way it does for small office/home offices (SOHOs) and individual consumers. These online backup providers offer more than a place to store data; they automate the transfer of files over a WAN connection to safe storage at a remote site.

Technology advancements such as deduplication and bandwidth optimization, combined with the declining cost of storage and bandwidth, are making online backup increasingly attractive to small- to medium-sized businesses. The opportunity to "upgrade" from local, tape-based backup without making a capital investment, coupled with the more predictable "pay as you go" pricing model for online backup and recovery services, is a way to justify the change. On-demand backup pricing

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is typically based on service-level and capacity requirements. Pricing plans range from $5 to $20 per gigabyte per month, although providers moving upstream from consumer-level online backup have more aggressive pricing plans.

On-demand backup can also reduce operational expenses. Freed from the burden of tape--and its associated handling, shipping, storing, scheduling, monitoring, upgrading and troubleshooting--more resources will be available for strategic initiatives.

This was first published in October 2007

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