When Times are Tough, There's No Room for Risk
used with permission from the HP Midsize Business Center

Don't Stop fortifying against risk
Four ways to mitigate risk in a tough economy

Every business deals with risk. But medium-sized businesses, with smaller IT staff and tighter operating budgets are often more exposed to risk than larger companies. This reality is never more evident than in a down economy: When the repercussions of a business disruption are as grave as they are, how do you insulate your business from risk?

"For mid-sized businesses, the financial impact of business disruptions is tremendous," said Anil Miglani, senior vice president, AMI-Partners. "We estimate that through security breaches and data loss alone, medium-sized businesses worldwide lost approximately US$4.7 billion in 2008."

According to strategy consulting firm AMI-Partners, in 2008 medium-sized businesses worldwide lost approximately US$4.7 billion due to security breaches and loss of data.

However, taking the right precautions with your IT infrastructure can help you steer clear of danger. Here are four steps you can take to mitigate risks to your revenue, your reputation, and your investment all the things that keep you awake at night as you wait for this storm to pass.

1. Reduce the probability of downtime
Your order system goes down, leaving your e-commerce customers unable to place orders. In addition to lost revenue, this downtime can derail employees, leading to productivity loss. While you're focused on fixing the problem, your competition has a chance to poach your customers. Worst of all, failing to detect and fix the problem means it may happen again.

High availability of critical systems is the medium-sized business's highest IT priority, and it's attainable with a few key changes:

Invest in reliable servers. Look for servers that have been extensively tested and certified to run on the latest operating systems. Couple that with a comprehensive set of server management tools.
Virtualize. Virtualization can improve application availability, reduce costs and simplify IT management.
Build redundancy into your network. Look for routers and switches with virtual router redundancy protocol (VRRP) to eliminate single points of failure.

2. Protect your data
Data breaches might not happen as often as network and application downtime. But when they occur, they can be catastrophic. Implementing a few key protections can greatly minimize the chances of data loss.

Replicate and use deduplication. Look for a storage backup solution that lets you cost-effectively replicate data for quick recovery. Deduplication helps ensure that you don't waste bandwidth, disk space and effort backing up multiple copies of the same data.
Encrypt the data you back up to tape. If you don't encrypt your tape data, anyone can walk off with your tape and access its data. Hardware encryption that comes with the Linear Tape-Open update (LTO-4) for tape drives, will give you the added security you need.

3. Secure the network
Prevent security breaches. Deploy a solution that has automated threat detection and offers a single-screen view of the network. It should allow you to map, configure and monitor both wired and wireless networks.
Don't forget printers and PCs. Improve your data security with print security solutions that can prohibit unauthorised users from accessing information and documents.

4. Reduce disruptive changes
If your own planned maintenance and management tasks are the biggest cause of downtime, opt for automated solutions. Automation simplifies management so you focus on the business.

Automate routine server and PC management. Management software can minimize complexity and lower risks of downtime. As for PCs, it can accelerate installations and deployments of software and operating systems.
Delegate. If you don't have in-house IT staff who can monitor your systems around the clock, consider outsourcing that function.

How HP can help
You may not be in a position to deploy every possible solution to prevent every conceivable business risk. But when a bad economy narrows your margin for error, you can't afford unnecessary exposure to business risks. View an solution configuration of how the solution is designed.

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