Grassroots group addresses data protection

By Kevin Komiega

A new storage industry group is asking that smaller companies resolve to educate themselves about the risks of data loss and their options for data protection.

The newly created National Data Awareness Program (NDAP), a consortium of storage vendors, IT managers, professional development organizations, and distributors, was recently launched to address the gap between real data vulnerabilities and existing data-protection practices at businesses ranging from SOHOs to global enterprises.

The companies involved in the launch of the NDAP project—whose theme is, “Are You Remotely Ready?”—include Asigra, Bell Micro, Breece Hill, Data Protection Services, Office Depot, PowerFile, ProStor Systems, Yosemite Software, and ZeroWait, as well as the Data Management Institute.

According to Jon William Toigo, one of the project’s founders and the head of the Data Management Institute, an alarming number of businesses still fail to adequately protect their data assets despite events such as 9/11, massive power outages, and the devastation of the Gulf Coast hurricanes.

The NDAP’s goal is to help businesses develop a systematic approach to evaluating their current data-protection and disaster-recovery capabilities, look for weak spots, and choose the optimal data-protection products, technologies, and services to minimize or eliminate their exposure to potential data loss.

Although a good data-protection strategy is necessary for any business, the main target of the NDAP project is small organizations. “The most underserved market is smaller companies. The lack of preparedness in small companies amazes me,” says Toigo.

The NDAP Website (http://ndap.da tainstitute.org) will function as a clearinghouse for educational resources, free of charge. The Website currently includes only a few White Papers, links, and case studies, but the group plans to expand the content significantly in the near future.

The project was born of Toigo’s conversations with end users and vendors at various storage industry events and forums. “There seems to be a proliferation of products out there that portend to protect data, but very little information to discriminate one solution from another. The NDAP is the first step in a broader effort to begin developing reference models for [data protection],” says Toigo.

Toigo maintains that the NDAP is not out to make a profit by pushing specific products to small companies. “No money changes hands here and there is no cost to anyone,” he says.

“We’re not trying to sell anybody’s products. We want there to be a place people can come for [data-protection] resources. It’s sort of a grassroots effort to bring a sanity check into the data-protection space,” adds Toigo.

The NDAP is also asking local government representatives to join the initiative to encourage their constituents to ensure business continuity.

This article was originally published on February 01, 2007