The emergence of the Internet and its increasingly sophisticated use by small businesses raises means that that they will be able to play with the big boys.
That's great, but nothing comes without a cost. In this case, small businesses suddenly must also conduct their businesses like the big players.
Emerging data archiving requirements—such as Sarbanes Oxley and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act—make little or no distinction between large and small companies. Thus, a 10-doctor health clinic is just as responsible for protection of patient records as NYU Medical Center in New York. A boutique investment house is as responsible for guarding customer data as Fidelity Investments.
It's even more complex than that, since these laws—and many others like them—also mandate that companies answer to regulators in a very strictly controlled manner.
Luckily, storage vendors see a goldmine in small business. Up until now, they have taken products aimed at enterprises and tweaked them for the low end of the market. Increasingly, they are creating hardware and software that is built from the ground up for small businesses.
The bottom line of all this that in many ways small businesses no longer get a free or easy pass from regulators and legislators. Consequently, the have no choice but to pay more attention to storage and archiving software and hardware.