A Publication of WTVP

Business does not stop because of a changing economy—it adapts by finding ways to work smarter and more efficiently. In 2011, that means utilizing technology.

The economy is gaining strength! I, and many others, believe that the real estate market has bottomed out and is on the rise again. Many operational battle scars will begin to be seen in the business models of companies that have emerged from the transformation of the recent recession. Business owners and operators of all kinds have made countless difficult decisions to lower costs and operate more efficiently in order to survive in the current business climate.

The Growth of Offsite Storage
For most companies, the biggest expenses are the real estate they utilize for their business operations and employees. To shift these expenses to a viable level, many companies had to make sacrifices and work more efficiently through technology. Virtual file storage has emerged as an inexpensive alternative to the space-intensive and potentially perilous method of physical on-site file storage currently utilized by most existing companies.

Utilizing virtual file storage can be a way to increase the security and accessibility of files. It reduces the need for physical storage space of files and adds flexibility in the business model as employees and clients alike can electronically interact with files from anywhere in the world. This capability absolutely reduces the need for storage space, and in the right circumstances, office space as well, therefore reducing costs. Offsite virtual file storage adds a second layer of security from the many risks that exist with on-site physical file storage.

Nationally, the trend for data and technology-related real estate such as virtual file storage facilities is showing strong growth. Healthcare organizations, corporate archives and public documents are some of the drivers of this industry growth.

According to CEL & Associates, Inc., “Industry experts are also projecting that the amount of information will grow 44 times larger between 2009 and 2020. If information is growing at 44 times, the number of containers holding that information will increase accordingly.

“The shift to offsite, secure data storage facilities will accelerate over the next decade. As the impact of Ethernet fabric products and technologies, virtualization, and cloud computing take hold, the need for ‘current,’ state-of-the-art facilities will continue to grow.”

A Local Opportunity
Federal Companies has long been a staple of the Peoria-area business community, both through exceptional community stewardship and its core business of providing moving, storage and related services. This organization has taken the bull by the horns to provide virtual file storage and other technology-related business solutions through a related business called Virtual Cloud Solutions (VCS).

This is a great example of a forward-thinking, local company finding opportunity and adding the capability for local business to operate more effectively in a transitioning economy. I asked Jeff Bogdan, vice president of sales and marketing at Federal Companies, to describe the effects of VCS’ service to local businesses. This is what he said:

Virtual Cloud Solutions can help organizations achieve better utilization of their new or existing office space by reducing the amount of paper being stored onsite.

By providing imaging documents, companies and organizations can conveniently store and access those documents online. All this can be accomplished by having browser-based web access and a scanning device. Customers can manage documents with maintenance-free and scalable storage without tying up IT department resources or having to make a capital investment. The added benefit is that there is no software to buy.

With VCS’ remote backup service, customers reduce their records management costs, improve customer service and business processes, with 24/7 online access to their securely stored data. In addition, organizations significantly reduce the risk of expensive document discovery compliance obligations with our proven electronic indexing capabilities. VCS’ Tier II offsite security bunker is located in Illinois and is 11ft x 20ft x 10 ft high.

Within the industry, there is a growing demand to replace hard copy backup disaster recovery with an automated process that stores business-critical data to an offsite storage facility that offers better data protection. Large businesses have had this capability for some time; small to medium businesses are now becoming aware they need to improve their recovery capabilities. This is being driven by laws such as HIPAA and by auditing firms challenging out-of-date processes.

In a survey conducted by Gartner Research, 64 percent of small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) said they backed up their data onsite, not offsite, for disaster-recovery purposes—“a disaster waiting to happen,” noted one Gartner analyst. “Anything that happens to their servers is also going to happen to their backups.”

Many local businesses are already realizing the benefits of Virtual Cloud Solutions. Lynn Brady, RN and administrator of Hallmark House Nursing Center in Pekin, offers the following testimonial:

With VCS’ remote backup service, backup of our server is now performed automatically after hours, with no effort on our part. Our data is automatically sent to VCS’ offsite storage facility. If we ever have a disaster, I know our data is securely stored and can be retrieved at any time. I can restore a single file with as little as six mouse clicks. If our server was completely lost from a disaster such as a fire, VCS employees will bring out my data in a secured data cube and assist in reloading our data onto a new server. I no longer have to replace any backup tapes. I like the fact we only have to pay for the storage space needed. There are no license fees and no transmission charges. I only pay one monthly storage fee.

Business does not stop because of a changing economy—it adapts by finding ways to work smarter and more efficiently. In 2011, that means utilizing technology. Changes in how companies utilize new technology will have a significant impact on their requirements for real estate and the need for employees that will ultimately occupy that real estate. The need for breakthrough technology creates opportunities for new and existing businesses alike. Virtual Cloud Solutions is just one example of how a local company saw an opportunity to service the needs of post-recession companies operating in the Peoria area and beyond. iBi