It’s once again the time of year when most of us make a New Year’s resolution. Some make personal resolutions to lose weight, spend more time with friends, or hold back on making those really funny but really inappropriate comments in public.

But New Year’s resolutions can be professional ones too. If you’re a small or medium-sized business (SMB) owner, the beginning of 2012 is a great opportunity to commit yourself to better protecting your business. And in that spirit, we have a very appropriate New Year’s resolution suggestion for your company: NO MORE TAPE BACKUP.

There was a time when tape backup solutions got the job done. But c’mon, this is 2012. Today, tape backup solutions cost too much time and money and do not meet the security needs of SMBs – especially those in the financial services, healthcare, and legal markets, who face stiff fines for not effectively backing up and restoring customer data. And that’s only the beginning of it. The bit density of tape is too low. Tapes need to be rewound, and searching through them to find a deleted file that you want is time-consuming. And tape does not give SMBs quick enough access to their data in order to minimize downtime. Remember: The average cost of downtime for an SMB is $12,500 per server, per day. Translation? Time is money, and tape backup systems can cost you a ton of both.

Then, there’s all the troubleshooting and back-end work you’re required to handle as an SMB with a tape backup solution. SMBs with tape backup solutions need onsite workers to do things like swap tapes at the end of each day and replace old ones before they degrade. Really? Paying workers just to run through a tape swap? Talk about an out-of-date backup solution.

And you can forget about cloud virtualization if you are using a tape backup solution. If your servers goes down and you are using tape, how exactly are you supposed to get your data and applications running to continue your business without any loss of productivity? Let us know if you figure that one out.

We can go on and on about the hassles of tape backup, but it all comes down to this: Tape backup solutions require a lot of unnecessary work on your end. Do you, as an SMB, really have the time and money to spend on maintaining your tape backup solution when there’s more modern cloud- or hybrid-cloud-based technology that can take care of all your BDR and business continuity needs for you? And if you do, isn’t that money and effort better spent on revenue-generating projects like product development or lead generation?

Consider that, according to the data loss statistics figures from the Boston Computing Network (BCN), 77% of SMBs that tested their tape backup solutions found that it failed to restore. Managed services providers (MSPs) and SMBs alike are both finding tape backup solutions unreliable. Here’s Andy Harper, CEO of Gaeltek, an MSP, on why his company did away with its tape backup solution:

“We were using high-end tape backup, but were concerned with reliability of tape restores. Furthermore, there wasn’t integrated offsiting or built-in business continuity functionality. Because we work with clients who demand rock-solid reliability and uptime, we knew we had to look for a new solution.”

And listen to InPursuit Solutions IT Director Sean McLean describe how moving from tape backup to a hybrid-cloud backup, business continuity, and disaster recovery solution helped his business:

“We were using tape and local disk backup, both of which can get damaged and cause data loss or corruption. Now we pay significantly less (for a hybrid cloud solution), plus it’s easy to manage.”

Time and time again, people like McLean, Harper and others continue to tell the tale of the tape: even high-end tape solutions do not give SMBs the kind of data restoration speed and reliability that they need today in order to minimize downtime during a failure and continue to deliver their services as customers expect them to.

So remember: Even though dropping the ball on New Year’s Eve might have been a good thing, dropping the ball on business continuity is not so much. Make a 2012 new year’s resolution for your SMB that’s easy to keep. Save time and money by switching from tape backup to a cloud-based business continuity solution. It’s a resolution that you’re sure to stick to for longer than a week!