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Tue 21 Jun 2005 04:00 AM

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Windows Middle East electronic edition 21st June 2005

I recently published a news story on itp.net about Maxtor’s plan to bring its ‘Backup Awareness’ campaign to this region in September. However having researched the topic in-depth since then, I suggest small business owners in the Middle East’s don’t even wait that long to get their data protected.

Data in danger|~||~||~|As this month’s Dubai power cut highlighted, unexpected problems can – and according to Murphy’s Law will – affect your business. While that particular day of fun might not have meant your company losing crucial data (after all, PC and server hard disks were still there and useable after the city switched back on), there are many situations in which data loss can occur. Situations for which this region’s small firms are seemingly unprepared.

In order to put together an accurate, informative SMB piece for next month’s mag, I’ve spoken to a plethora of hardware and software vendors, all of whom know a thing or two about how to keep data safe. Some of the comments I heard were, quite frankly, amazing, and cause for some serious eyebrow raising.

Forget viruses and hackers – because between 50% and 70% of data loss is down to simple human error, or so one vendor expert told me. Most of the others then concurred. Distracted users overwriting and corrupting files is, it turns out, a major problem. What’s the solution then? Providing free espresso shots to keep staff on the ball might help, but really the problem is just one reason why having fully backed-up copies of your info is of paramount importance.

One vendor even claimed to have met owners of firms in this region - running just 40 or 50 PCs –who didn’t deem it necessary to back up ANY of their data! Another told of a firm he knew that had endured an office fire, which in turn led to it going completely out of business. And it didn’t go down the swanny because of the office being burnt to a crisp, but because the company simply couldn’t function without its crucial information.

“If it's stored on a hard disk, you need a safe copy of that data,” one expert advised. And he’s correct. After all, even disk drive companies offer statistics showing that at some point their drives will eventually crash.

It’s with this in mind then that our next issue explains details some of the back-up options available for small firms. Because taking care of data is important for home PC users too, we even talk readers through using Windows XP’s built-in ‘Backup’ function. There really is no excuse then - if you’re reading this you’ve been warned! As one vendor put it, “Data back-up right now might be like a dull pain in the back of your head, but you need to transfer to centre of your eyes, notice it, and act on it.” Indeed.

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