As a business owner, you’ve heard about the must have business plan, but do you have a disaster recovery plan? How would your business be affected if you suddenly lost all your computer data? Most of us back up our important files (or at least we should!) but what if there was a fire? A system crash before backup? Flood? Theft? Virus?
There are any number of backup solutions available these days, from the ubiquitous USB key to an external hard drive to a tape-based solution with additional software attached. It may even be as simple as writing a DVD. But when considering any backup solution, you need to do your research and look at the ongoing cost of ownership of that solution. Tapes have, at best, a chequered history for failure to record and/or recover. And no matter which of the above solutions you might choose, who takes responsibility for checking the backup’s success or failure and removing the backed up medium off site, every day?
Sure, if you’re a General Motors, and somehow one of your data centres gets destroyed, you can probably failover to another data centre, and it’s a minor operational blip. However, unlike General Motors, you’re unlikely to be able to afford to create a replica copy of all of your I.T. operations at a remote location.And if you are a medium sized business, and all of your I.T. systems got wiped out, it may well put you out of business. In this instance, secure off-site storage of business critical data is a good additional security measure to have in place.
If you have large amounts of data to backup, an off-site data backup service should be able to deliver to you, either personally or by overnight courier, a full copy of your data on some form of easily accessible external storage medium.
In backup terms, what really are the benefits of a solution constantly and permanently running in the background checking for new files or changes to existing files as they happen, all the while claiming resources such as system memory and processor time? As opposed to an application which wakes up at a specified time (or at scheduled intervals throughout the day) and, does its job?
Are you a Windows XP/Server 2003 user only? Or do you use MAC/Linux/Solaris or some older version of Windows?
How much does the tight integration of a solution with the Windows operating system impact that system’s overall performance? And what else is it doing once in there?
Go for an online solution? Online off-site backup can be a convenient medium dependant upon how much your data changes daily. Most organisations’ data only actually changes by about 5 percent per day.
From a performance perspective, you want to look for a local provider in your country as first choice. The geographical location of a North American backup service won’t be a problem for Americans, but will definitely affect Australian users.
It doesn’t matter what any site says you can down or upload in a day. Everything is governed by the speed of the connection between your server and the site/backup server and the bottleneck is usually your business’ ADSL/BDSL connection. Then you still have geography to contend with. Computer speed or not, geographical separation equates to time taken to traverse the divide. And you and everyone else in Australia are using the same two lane highway out. Are global communications links infallible?
Secure off-site backup really is the minimal level of protection anyone who depends on I.T. can afford to have, and if you think you don’t depend on I.T., consider how you would get through tomorrow without a computer!
How valuable is your business data to you? More importantly, how valuable is your “business” data to your customers? How comfortable are you or your customers with your data going offshore? Is it even legal?
In the end, it’s your business and your customer data. Make the decision that best fits your organisation’s security and continuity needs.
criticaldata provides secure online off-site backup services for small to medium business in Australia & New Zealand. Visit us at www.critical-data.net.au