The technology options available to the average small business twenty years after the advent of the web are more than a little confusing, even for experts. But one thing that has come a long way since the early days of the business PC is the ability to track, store and analyze business records, even between desktop PCs, servers, mobile devices and the web itself.
Portability with Dropbox
When the first computer networks were built, the process of getting data from one computer to the other became possible. The first thing developers and systems administrators wanted the ability to do was get files off one machine and on to another.
One of the first utilities developed for this purpose was called “FTP” or file transfer protocol. Older systems like UUCP or Unix to Unix Copy Protocol also provided networked computers the ability to move data from one location to the next.
Decades later, files can be transferred from one machine to another with the simple act of dragging the file into a mobile app/web app/PC application called Dropbox.
With Dropbox, any data captured on any machine can be shared with all the other machines in a small business network, even if that network is heterogeneous and distributed. The power of this technology cannot be overstated.
Databases for All
One of the least understood but most powerful components of the original Microsoft Office suite was the Microsoft Access database. While Access had its share of problems, as a desktop means of getting information into a tables and records format and making that information available to other applications on a PC or network, it had its uses.
The ODBC (open database connectivity) layer made it possible for database information to be shared with nearly any client application, even custom applications written in Visual Basic.
Now, any PC can be equipped with an enterprise-class SQL database platform like MySQL or PostgreSQL, and not only store information in records-based tables, but make that information available through a standard SQL interface. This makes custom application development possible, and opens the door for small businesses to do what before only huge companies could afford.
Off-site Peace of Mind
The fastest way for a small business to go out of business is to lose its records. A service like Vital Records Control can provide even the smallest business top-quality managed document storage at an off-site location. The utility of a service like this cannot be overlooked. It could mean the difference between success and failure.
Ancient and Powerful Technology
Disk-based storage is cheaper today than it has ever been, and the process of producing a bit-for-bit clone of a hard drive is a simple matter of a one-line command like the ‘dd’ utility built in to Linux. Combined with the managed off-site storage of documents and the ubiquity of databases, it is now possible for a small business to achieve nearly perfect records preservation no matter what volume of business they do.
Not all solutions to small business problems cost money. Many can be found by simply doing the necessary research and avoiding reinvention of the wheel. These data storage tips are a good place to start.