Has your business outgrown its backup system?
Don't wait until you suffer a disastrous data loss to find out. Here’s how to work out if you can depend on your backups should disaster strike, and what to do if not...
How to determine if your backup system needs replacing
To work out your level of risk from serious damage to your business through data loss, ask yourself the following 2 questions:
- How much data can I get away with losing in a disaster?
Even if you back up every night, you could still lose up to a day's worth of data. Could your business survive that? What about two days' worth?
Be realistic and estimate the absolute minimum frequency with which you need to back up to safeguard your business. Work out how much financial damage a data loss could cost your business. Consider enlisting the help of an accountant or other expert to help you arrive at a baseline figure you can rely on.
- How long could my business last without access to that data?
Quite apart from the impact on your daily business operations, consider this: how long could you survive without your data before you were forced out of business? Again, use expert help to come up with a realistic baseline answer.
Your backup system is providing you with a minimum level of protection if it can:
- back up your data frequently and quickly enough to make sure you’ll never lose enough to put you out of business
restore your data quickly enough after a disaster to prevent irreversible damage to your business
Why it could make sense to consider replacing your backup system
Even if your backup system is robust enough that you would survive a data loss, it still might make sense to replace it. Why?
- It’s a business investment. You need to make sure your backup system is robust enough to protect your business through a data disaster. But you don't have to stop there. Having a reliable backup system and appropriate support in the event of a data loss marks you out as a proactive business owner who takes the risk of data loss seriously. It’s great for your reputation as a company too.
- It could reduce any financial loss. Consider your backup system as an investment. Paying a little extra for higher performance could help you do more than just survive a disaster – it could reduce the cost of the disaster significantly.
- Remember that your needs will evolve. Can your current system meet the demands that might arise in the future? If not, you need to replace it as soon as possible. Think about your requirements in 2 or 3 years' time. Do you expect your company to grow significantly, do more business online, or need to store more data to meet legal requirements?
Choose the right backup technology
There are 5 common backup technologies, each offering a different combination of cost, speed and compatibility with existing backup software. Here’s a summary of the options:
- Automated backup to tape (B2T)
B2T systems store data on magnetic tape.
Pros: Low cost and compatible with most existing backup software
Cons: Backups and recoveries are slow
- Backup to disk (B2D)
B2D systems store your backed-up data on hard disks.
• Pros: Fast backups and recoveries
• Cons: More expensive than tape backup and may not be compatible with your existing backup software
- Backup to virtual tape libraries (VTL)
VTL systems use hard drives, but work in the same way as tape backup systems.
• Pros: Fast backups and recoveries. Works with most existing backup software.
• Cons: More expensive than B2T and D2D systems
- Online backup (cloud computing)
Cloud backup systems send your data over the Internet for storage online.
• Pros: Low monthly fee for the storage you need with no initial investment.
• Cons: Slower backups and recoveries. May not be compatible with existing backup software
- Continuous data protection (CDP)
CDP systems backup your data to disks automatically as soon as any of it changes.
• Pros: No data loss, and fast recoveries
• Cons: Very expensive, and not compatible with most existing backup software
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