There are only two types of businesses: those who have lost their data, and those who will

The portable computer was the secret business weapon of yesterday, and is today’s essential business tool.  The processing power, portability, storage, and connectivity available with laptops, tablets and even smartphones can create a seamless extension of the office.

Truly, the workforce of today is mobile and fully-enabled.  Business owners, working in conjunction with their accounting advisors and business consultants, are able to access all the information and analytical capability they need to make informed business decisions at any time, capture and collect important information, and keep productivity at the highest levels no matter where they are.

Mobility doesn’t come without risk, however.  Some studies estimate that as much as 80% of the business data that a company has (like customer files, contracts, financial data, product specifications) is stored on portable computing devices.   While these files may be recoverable from backups in the case of loss or damage, there is an even larger potential cost in terms of exposure of confidential or proprietary – or personal and private – information.

Loss or theft can create big business and legal problems, too. Customer or client privacy may be compromised, sensitive information may be exposed, and confidential plans may be made public if a business doesn’t take steps to secure mobile data.   Software and network attacks are also prevalent, with a variety of exploits designed to take advantage of any vulnerability present.

There’s an old saying we IT folks have that there are only two types of businesses: those who have lost their data, and those who will.  Imagine the potential chaos and risk exposure, not to mention the expense, of losing your valuable business data, or having it exposed to unauthorized users.

While computing mobility delivers a host of advantages to the business and the user, care must be taken to ensure security, privacy, and confidentiality of business information.  Cloud computing solutions and managed IT services will help you provide the mobile capability your business needs, but with the additional protection, additional security, and ongoing management that the value of the data demands.  Increased exposure to liability is a reality for any mobile business, and the risk is only multiplied by the number of systems a company has in the field.  The smart business reduces risk by deploying secure yet versatile platforms for their workers that allow data to be stored and protected in centralized environments, rather than on the individual computing devices. Via the cloud, businesses of all kinds are reaping the benefits of new and innovative service delivery models and enhanced security solutions, achieving the freedom and functionality (and data security) the mobile workforce demands.

Here are a few data loss statistics for your reading pleasure…

Enjoy  🙂


(stats drawn from summary on  They may be a bit dated, but the numbers have only increased since then.)

The following statistics were gathered from various sources:

  • 6% of all PCs will suffer an episode of data loss in any given year. Given the number of PCs used in US businesses in 1998, that translates to approximately 4.6 million data loss episodes. At a conservative estimate, data loss cost US businesses $11.8 billion in 1998. (The Cost Of Lost Data, David M. Smith)
  • 30% of all businesses that have a major fire go out of business within a year. 70% fail within five years. (Home Office Computing Magazine)
  • 31% of PC users have lost all of their files due to events beyond their control.
  • 34% of companies fail to test their tape backups, and of those that do, 77% have found tape back-up failures.
  • 60% of companies that lose their data will shut down within 6 months of the disaster.
  • 93% of companies that lost their data center for 10 days or more due to a disaster filed for bankruptcy within one year of the disaster. 50% of businesses that found themselves without data management for this same time period filed for bankruptcy immediately. (National Archives & Records Administration in Washington)
  • American business lost more than $7.6 billion as a result of viruses during first six months of 1999. (Research by Computer Economics)
  • Companies that aren’t able to resume operations within ten days (of a disaster hit) are not likely to survive. (Strategic Research Institute)
  • Every week 140,000 hard drives crash in the United States. (Mozy Online Backup)
  • Simple drive recovery can cost upwards of $7,500 and success is not guaranteed


The Cloud is Not the End of ERP

With the emergence and general acceptance of “cloud” technologies and services, many in the information technology industry have begun to wonder if the traditional approach to enterprise software – the ERP solution – is nearing its useful life.  Is this the end of ERP?  Well, the hype sometimes becomes the reality, and businesses are moving in droves to software-as-a-service to find the cost and efficiency benefits promoted in the sales materials, and they’re finding them.  Look at Sage’s acquisition of Intacct as an expression of increased focus on cloud-based solutions. This activity around the cloud and cloud-based software-as-a-service represents a major change in how people access and consume information technology and business services, a change that’s being driven by the huge momentum of the overall growth of “cloud”.  The market is moving to a customer-centric subscription model, where the legacy approach was more in tune with the “purchase it once and use it forever” mentality, and customer relationships were largely centered on upgrade cycles.

“As an economy and a culture, we are rapidly moving away from owning tangible goods and, instead, gravitating towards becoming members of services that provide us with experiences  – such as listening to a song, using a car, watching a movie or collaborating with our colleagues.

Of course, this cultural transformation has profound implications for business models. Why? Success is no longer gauged by counting how many units of your product you have sold. Rather, success is measuring how many customers are using your service on a recurring basis and how successful you are monetizing those recurring relationships.” guest post written by Tien Tzuo

While it sounds like the cloud is the right approach for everyone, looking at the variety of real business situations in the market suggests that, as always, one size does not fit all, and more “traditional” ERP solutions may well continue to be the right foundation for many enterprise operations.  Particularly when considering that many businesses already significant investments in platforms and infrastructure, software and data integrations, and operational process support, cloud software solutions may not provide the necessary functionality to support existing business.  Further, integrations that may be available and supported with legacy systems are often not available with cloud-based counterparts, while different integrations based on cloud standards may be present.

For smaller businesses and those in emerging markets, subscription-based IT models may make more sense, especially as popular traditional software makers have introduced their cloud-based counterparts which will likely incorporate the features or functionality of their legacy systems, while taking advantage of the capabilities introduced through cloud integration and interoperability standards.  Strong consideration should still be given to “traditional” ERP solutions, however, as there may be a level of stability, usability, or process support desirable by the business.

Utilizing these traditional ERP systems does not mean eliminating the potential for the business to benefit from cloud solutions.  Rather, cloud platforms and hosting solutions, as well as cloud-based integrations and extensions, are enabling mobility and collaboration around legacy systems, delivering cost and efficiency benefits just as significantly as those who have adopted a full-on “cloud” approach.

“It also makes sense to explore “edge” investments. […] there are significant innovation opportunities outside of core operations. Look to take advantage of the ERP platform’s capabilities in these spaces. Or implement low-cost, smaller-footprint solutions – even if on an exploratory basis. If they are fully adopted later, you can integrate them into the ERP backbone and expose standardized data and processes to the edge.”

from Deloitte’s Tech Trends 2011 report titled “the end of the “Death of ERP” 

So, what does this mean for your business?  It means you need to consider all the possibilities.

First, evaluate cloud-based options, and balance features with cost, time-to-value, and operational requirements.

Then, selectively innovate.  Figure out which areas of the business give you a competitive differentiation and innovate in those areas.

The traditional thinking, which is in line with the traditional ERP approach, is that all of the business functionality has to be incorporated into a single platform solution.  This is certainly no longer the case, and businesses are finding that they now have an ability to take advantage of the benefits of their existing systems while extending and innovating through the use of cloud services.