What's the most important thing of all in modern business? Client facing skills? People management? Proper ambitions? Well realised action plans? No, no, no and no. All of these things are aspects of a good business, even a successful business - but none of them are completely, utterly indispensable. No - the one thing no business can afford to be without can afford to skimp on or do wrong, is data storage. Properly storing one's data means no loss of business, no loss of records and no tax or freedom of information difficulties. Poorly storing data can lead to law suits, collapsed businesses, hundreds or thousands of jobs gone, millions of pounds lost. And all because no one took the time to find the right place to back up key files and information.
That's a key point, actually, as far as the storage of data is concerned. Storing operating systems and programs is pretty much by the bye - whether or not a program lasts, or an operating system is recoverable, is nothing as far as business is concerned. Data storage is all about files - money files, staff files, work files. Files are defined as anything created by users and stored - documents, spread sheets, forms, lists, contact details, invoices, and accounts. The important stuff, by which a company actually conducts its business - the stuff, in other words, that makes it different from all the other businesses. When data is lost, the thing that goes wrong is this: a company loses its identity, because its identity, its history, is tied up in all the files that have vanished. In the worst case scenarios, that data loss leads to a vanished financial history (which means huge monetary loss) or a lost transactional history (which means active bits of work between the company in question and its clients go missing). These are the things data storage protects - without it, a company risks going from hero to zero in the space of an eye blink.
We're all so used to using data that we often forget how fragile it is - which is daft, because we all know how fragile an operating system or hard drive can be. We simply don't think that a computer or network break down, which we see as a failure of equipment, translates into a black hole that sucks all our important information down to nowhere. We know, intellectually, that failing to do proper data storage leads to exactly this - but we can't shake our feeling that networks and computers are just hardware, which can be replaced.
It's time to wake up and smell the danger. Our world is now run completely by data. All our businesses are only as big or as small, as successful or otherwise, as the data they own and manage. That data absolutely must be stored in backup facilities away from the physical location of a company's premises. Unless that is done, unless off site, professional backup data storage is a given for every company in Britain, then any company in Britain runs the risk of catastrophic data failure wiping it off the map.