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Data backup is a must for any business

How to get started backing up your data

Choosing the right Backup solution

Business data backup has come along way from onsite WORM or tape backup drives we used in the 90’s and early 2000’s. Now in addition to on-site backup of those older technologies, you have the option to use USB thumb drives, USB SSD drives, Cloud backup options, or operating system snap shots.

Out with old, in with the new

In the not so distant past companies needing to backup data on machines and servers didn’t have a lot of choice. Windows had built-in backup software that was difficult to use (for novice users) at best. Windows backup also had a few quirks if you were trying to use a tape backup drive, specifically with drivers. Backup technology has certainly come a long way.

The good news you have options!

The bad news you have too many options!

How to start

In looking for a backup solution you need to consider your needs. This hasn’t requirement hasn’t changed much. How fast do you need access to recover? Do you need versioning or snapshots? How dependent are you on your data? Is your company centralized to a server? Do you need to backup individual machines? Or do you need to back up both servers and machines? Do you need long term storage defined by compliance requirements or just in the event of data loss? Is your backup solution going to be stored offsite, on-site, or both?

Your backup solution should be carefully planned, so your business is protected from disaster.

When trying to determine your needs you will need to think about:

  1.  What your business is storing
  2. How much space you’ll need
  3. Which storage medium you should purchase
  4. Responsible party for the backup solution.

What data you are storing

First, what are you storing? Large complicated blue prints or technical documents that require a lot of space? Excel and word documents that average 100K-200K per file? Email archive files a few gigabytes in size? Video? This question helps determine which methodology you should look to for backup storage. Large files such as HD/4k video, PDF’s, etc will take longer to sync to a location, on site or off site backup. What your storing and how often you add to this will determine

  • Schedule
  • Space requirements
  • Medium (SSD, Tape, etc)

Schedule

Calendar ScheduleFirst schedule, how often and when are you going to backup? Do you need incremental snapshots throughout the day? You might be able to get away with an overnight back up only. Depending how your company is storing data, what your employees store, and how often these change should determine schedule.

Space requirements

Second are the space requirements. This will depend on how much data you will be backing up. Typically this is decided by a Business Impact analysis, but most small companies don’t have the resources to invest into a report for this data. Identifying your necessary data is a crucial step to the success of any backup process you put into place. Your space requirements + schedule will determine how much space you actually need for backup.

Once you know this, you can begin to examine the storage mediums and decide which one is best for you. We recommend a data storage analysis, over a few weeks, to determine your storage needs for now and a year from now. This will help to ensure you don’t buy a solution that won’t fit in 6 months or a solution you will never fully utilize (overpay).

Medium pros and cons

HardDrive

Last medium. Medium is what you’re using to store the data backup. There are many options today from tape drives and tape cartridges, NAS appliances, SSD drives, and cloud solutions. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. Anyone who tells you that hasn’t experienced data corruption and data loss.

Each of the mediums have pro’s and cons. Tape is much more expensive, depending on how many tapes you need and what type of tape drive you decide on. NAS appliances can be very cost effective but many still use SATA disks that have moving components, they can fail. SSD drives start cost effective, but only until you get to 1TB and then the cost jumps exponentially. Cloud solutions can seem like a safe bet, unless your backup job takes 12 hours to complete because your firm works in files that are all GB’s in size. Some files could change again before a backup completes.

Responsibility

Who is responsible to ensure the data backup completes? Sure you can automate the job and most of the tools out there will do just that, on a schedule of your choosing. However, someone needs to ensure that each job completes without error. This is especially true when you’re backing up more than just a server. When it does fail, and at some point for some reason there will be a stubborn file or folder that won’t backup properly, that person is responsible for getting it on the backup. Having a point of contact for this also makes it harder for these failures to slip past and go un-noticed. This person is typically in charge of restoring data as well. In this way, data can’t be overwritten that shouldn’t be. Having a control in place helps to ensure more integrity.

Importance of proper backup solutions

Finally, don’t overlook the importance of backup. Even if your data is all in the cloud, things happen. Cloud backup of cloud data is becoming a hot topic. The reason? Businesses are discovering that even when data is housed in the cloud it can be corrupted, lost, stolen, deleted, etc. If you’re interested in backup, we highly recommend iBackup (affiliate link). It has many great features and we can help you ensure you’re utilizing their service to it’s potential.

Do you need help with a backup solution? We’d love to give you hand! Let us know here