network securitySmall businesses are living in the perfect storm for data loss. They create more data than ever before, with more value, and yet often they are less protected than larger companies. Since small businesses need data protection that is reliable, yet on a smaller scale than large companies who can afford their own IT department, we’ve compiled a list of five steps to remember when considering your data protection protocol.

1) How fast you can recover data? A small business can’t afford a long amount of down time, waiting to recover data. Make sure your data protection includes instant restore capabilities.

2) Is your protection comprehensive? Since most small businesses can’t afford their own IT departments, it can be tough to manage backup, recovery, and continuity solutions. It’s often best to outsource this task to an independent firm so that these functions are seamlessly integrated with less down time in the event of a cyber attack or data loss.

3) Is the system easy to use? Common sense tells us that no one will consistently use a system that is difficult to understand or time-consuming to use. Quicker and more frequent data backup is key; your system should utilize incremental backup, which adds whatever you’ve changed or deleted to existing data storage.

4) Is the system reliable? A small business needs a system that is reliable, which updates in real time. This means data will be up to date at any moment, and can be recovered any time there is an attack or loss.

5) Is the system affordable? Many small business budgets operate on a month-to-month basis, without a lot of capital in the bank. Operating a separate IT department, or even hiring one person to manage everything, is often beyond the business’s capabilities. Hiring an outside expert to consult and provide solutions, however, is often quite affordable. Small businesses may need to look away from trying to manage data themselves, and toward experts who can provide this service at a reasonable rate.