I’m still surprised in this day and age how many businesses still do not have an effective backup strategy in place. We are still finding that companies are either ignoring the need to back up their business critical data totally or opting for a cheap unreliable manual process. This is the process of backing up their data as and when they have time onto USB external hard drives, which are normally kept with the machine they have just backed up.
The first option of not backing up any business data is a recipe for disaster, as soon as you experience a hardware failure you can guarantee that most if not all of your business data will be lost. Even if you are lucky enough for a data recovery company to retrieve your data from the failed device, you are still looking at hours of lost productivity, great expense and loss of sales.
The second option, although a basic form of data backup, are still high risk for your business. It will obviously help recover files if the main device fails, but only up to the date a copy/backup was last taken. This could be days or even weeks old meaning that all the latest data would have to be reproduced manually, which potentially could cost £’000’s and take weeks to recreate. This is the best case for a device failure. However, what if worse should happen like your devices are stolen along with the attached USB drive, or your property and systems are damaged by fire or flood. Even if the backup device is stored off-site and not affected by the loss, you still could be facing days or weeks of data retrieval if the backups are not carried out regularly.
What about if tape backups are taken daily, well even these now old style tape backups are considered unreliable and high maintenance. This is because they are reliant on a member of staff changing the tape regularly and then storing them ideally off-site or in a fireproof safe. However this type of technology has had issues when it comes to restores, either the required tape cannot be found or will not read as it has got damp or used too many times. For larger companies, single files can also take hours to recover due to incorrect cataloguing used or slow tape reads. With the requirements to keeping multiple restore points also means that a large number of tapes are required to be purchased and stored, which can also be inconvenient.
For these reasons all businesses should at least review a Cloud Managed Backup strategy for their business to ensure that all their business critical data is backed up daily, off-site, automatically. Even if all their business data cannot be backed up due to costs, at least their business critical data like customer databases and financial and legal data should be included in this type of strategy. Other business data can then be backed up through other means and managed locally less regularly if required to save costs. However, this is a risk the business has to consider and accept.
So what does Cloud Managed Backup actually offer a company, well to start with it will take a copy of all your selected data and store it securely on the Internet. When we say the Internet, it’s actually insecure, fully protected data centres which are located miles away from your business. The data is then replicated to a second data centre which is miles away from the first data centre. This type of topology ensures that not only is the data available should you lose all of your business systems, but the data is still available should the backup company lose one of their data centres. Giving the maximum backup protection possible. I guess an easier way of explaining this is that your business data is backed up onto another device, USB hard-drive for example, this drive is then shipped 200 miles away to another company. Once the drive arrives at the second location, all the data is copied onto a second USB hard drive and then this drive is shipped 300 miles away from both the first and second location. This means that both your business and the first storage location can lose their entire estate and your data will still be retrievable. Obviously in real terms, your data is transmitted via the Internet so this process happens within seconds.
The other added benefit with Cloud managed backup is that the data is recoverable to any location anywhere in the world with an Internet connection. So should your business systems be lost for any reason, your data can be restored to a new temporary office or even your home within hours without the need of specialist equipment. Giving that extra level of business continuity for your business data. This ability to restore data to any location without the need for physical backup and restore equipment also makes it very quick and cheap to carry out test restores to ensure your backup strategy is working.
So what about if you have a slow Internet connection, doesn’t this limit your ability to use a service like this? No, because once the initial seed is completed, the first backup, only the changed data for that day needs to be replicated via the Internet link. This means that even really large data can be backed up successfully over small links as low as 1mbps. However, for these types of slow links, an initial seed will be taken locally onto an external hard drive and then replicated to the Cloud via a high-speed link managed by your service provider.
If your business couldn’t survive without its data, then review your backup strategy now.