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On the necessity of a data back-up plan
In response to Bill Goodwin's article, which revealed that out of a survey of 1,000 businesses by the Department of Trade & Industry, less than 20% back up their data.
It is not surprising that the Department of Trade & Industry's 2004 Security Breaches Survey revealed that businesses are failing to back-up business-critical data (Computer Weekly, 24 February).
Many businesses live with this situation not because they like it, but because they believe that a solution for guaranteeing 100% uptime either does not exist or will be prohibitively expensive.
Any failure of electronic data results in operational, functional, or financial harm to the company. Every minute of downtime means thousands of pounds lost, annoyed customers, a negative reputation and even litigation.
It makes sense to spend on IT where the cost is justified in returned benefits. If that expenditure also removes a risk to the survival of the business, it must surely be a necessity.
Stephen Stobo, sales and marketing director, Neverfail Group
The article on compliance in your storage special report (Computer Weekly, 17 February) raised some valuable points about what companies should store and why they should comply with data requirements.
Therefore, it is worrying that the Department of Trade & Industry has found that 66% of firms have suffered data loss in the past year. The raft of legislation and guidelines governing data is bamboozling and set-up costs for back-up and storage are often prohibitive.
Firms need to meet standards without breaking the bank. One option is to adopt the utility computing model, which provides smaller companies with an affordable storage/disaster recovery strategy, as no expensive investment in new hardware or storage tools is required and the pricing model enables firms to pay as they go.
As data is housed off-site and as the performance of these secure services is managed by third party experts, businesses do not have to become legal experts to ensure they comply with the latest legislation.
Jon Roberts, director of hosting services, Interxion
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On whether Linux can rival Windows
In response to Cliff Saran's article, where Stuart Cohen, chief executive of the Open Source Development Lab, said many PC users ran one application and could switch to Linux
Cohen's assertion that "Many end-users run a single application [on their PCs]" is something I find intriguing (Computer Weekly, 17 February).
In these days of increased integration of business applications and holistic views of company data, the notion that many PC users are working with one application is a little hard to swallow.
Word processing, spreadsheet applications, e-mail and internet access are now almost endemic in UK businesses of all sizes. Add to this the use of business applications such as finance, manufacturing, distribution and customer relationship management software and the holes in Cohen's argument start to take over.
No one would deny that there is a demand for open source software, but to talk of it as a likely rival to Windows at this stage is naive. Most of the pro-Linux arguments focus on the issue of cost, but this is the rhetoric of the past.
Analysts have concluded that total hardware and software costs represent less than 25% of the total IT investment. The vast majority of expenditure is devoted to people and support costs; to focus on a small proportion of 25% is hardly likely to serve the needs of the business.
Linux has a long way to go before it can offer similar world-class applications backed up by a skilled and committed channel to market.
David Hurley, managing director, Anglia Business Computers