'Selfish' archive strategy key to compliance for the SME

Develop data archive strategies for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) based on specific business and regulatory compliance needs.

IT channel takeaway: Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) must focus on specific needs when developing their data archive strategies. Help them identify and prioritize those needs so they ultimately save money.

With Steve Tongish, marketing director (EMEA) at Plasmon, a UK-based storage and archiving solution provider.

Question: In your view, how does the new and more complex compliance landscape brought about by the growing number of regulations affect the small to medium-sized enterprise (SME)?

Tongish: This is a dilemma for SMEs. I can imagine that most know very little about recent government and industry regulations that address record retention and even fewer know which regulations might apply to their circumstances. While this is a difficult situation, the worst thing [SMEs] could do is nothing. The absence of any archive regime could spell trouble with regulators or with the court. SMEs need a basic and documented archive strategy to protect their data and business interests.

Question: You have written that SMEs must be "selfish" in their archive strategies. Can you elaborate on what that means?

Tongish: SMEs don't have the resources to implement complex archive or compliance strategies for the abstract purpose of meeting a particular regulatory detail. They should start developing an archive strategy by focusing on their specific business needs — thinking of their needs first. Once these are clearly defined, they can see how [the archive strategy can be] incorporated into a wider compliance regime. If done properly, the business and compliance objectives can be very complementary. A totally artificial infrastructure that does not address day-to-day operations requirements will not be successful in the long run.

Question: How does the SME gain competitive advantage by looking at archiving as a part of overall business processes instead of a separate process in and of itself?

Tongish: An effective archive can represent a very powerful business advantage. We have seen a number of small public sector councils and private companies using their archives to offer new billable services to their customers. Quick access to high-value historic content is something that few SMEs cannot provide.

This 3 Questions originally appeared in a weekly report from IT Business Edge.

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