By Guest Contributor Mike Ianiri
Your business creates and relies on an enormous amount of data: spreadsheets, images, CAD documents etc. Imagine a critical failure where you lose some or all of this valuable data – then what happens?
If, for example, you use Microsoft Word, Autorecover makes recovering a document much easier than it used to be. And other software applications have similar recovery functionality. However, they won’t recover large numbers of documents if your office gets flooded or you suffer a backup failure.
Let’s review the background and then look at your backup options. We’ll start with the basic and move onto the complex.
Reasons why your business needs an effective backup solution
Recent research by Beaming suggests that over 4 million of the UK’s 5.5 million businesses risk losing critical data through poor backup provision. With data suggesting that 70% of small businesses, which experience a major data loss, go out of business within 12 months. You shouldn’t need any additional reasons, but let’s throw in a couple more…
Insurance companies expect you to have cloud backups, for all cyber-security policies and for many business policies, dependent upon the cover selected, of course.
If you use Microsoft Office 365 be aware that it is not backed up. This means you need to protect the information you have and the data/documents you have created.
The external hard drive
Many single person businesses use an external hard drive to provide their backup solution. This is really basic and something we never recommend as a complete solution.
- Hard drives are a physical device and can fail, leaving you with no way of recovering the data
- They aren’t always connected to your devices, so you have to remember to manually backup
- Hard drives are getting smaller and easy to lose
- If you keep the hard drive with the device it backups and one is stolen, lost, burnt or broken, the other probably will be too.
With solution providers such as VEEAM providing SME backup solutions for as little as £25 per month, it makes sense to use more than just a hard drive.
As businesses grow and develop an on-premise server network, the obvious solution is to have an on-premise back-up solution, usually based around network attached storage (NAS) devices. Solutions such as Microsoft System Center will provide everything you need to build an on-premise solution. There are, of course, pros and cons to this as well…
Recovery times can be quicker than using a cloud solution when a document is identified as missing or corrupted, but it depends on when the last back up was taken. We recommend that multiple retentions take place each day to maximise the opportunity to restore the right information.
Some on-premise solutions provide you with the option, in the event of a major failure, to build a cloud-based server, with your data, but you have to budget accordingly if you want this level of failover capability.
Having your backup, either the actual data or the ability to restore, in the same location as the original versions is rarely a good option. What happens if:
- There is a fire in your office?
- There is an incident that means you are unable to get into your office to work?
- There is a burglary?
If you are still taking hard drives (or even tapes) off-site each day to mitigate this risk, they can still be lost or stolen. Don’t forget that taking these off-site is highly likely to breach your GDPR commitments.
Backing up your data to a cloud provider delivers far more benefits than issues.
Although you are highly likely to be paying on a per Gb basis for this solution and that may add up to a higher cost than an on-premise solution, the benefits, and convenience, outweigh the costs…
- Never having to worry about upgrading/replacing storage hardware
- Being able to keep multiple copies of your data for prolonged periods of time
- Knowing the data is being replicated to further protect your business
- Having the ability to restore that data to wherever you need it to be
- Knowing the security around it is far higher than your budgets would normally allow
- Never having to remember to back up.
All the major players provide a cloud solution, from Microsoft Azure to Veeam, so there is plenty to choose from. Whatever solution you choose, there is one thing you need to do on a regular basis to ensure your business really is protected: check your backups. An absolute worst-case scenario would be you get to a situation where you need to restore data, only to find that it isn’t there. Most cloud providers provide you with regular reports on the success, or otherwise, of your backup and may give you reports on a more granular level, showing what machines are missing and how much data.
Internet connection speeds
Getting your data into the cloud regularly throughout the day will use a fair amount of your available bandwidth. If you are still relying on ADSL connections, your backup is going to take a very long time. Even the incremental backups (taken after a main data upload) will take time. For this reason, we recommend you invest in, at least, a fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) solution. The faster data speeds, both up and down, will mean your backups can occur when you need them and they won’t slow down other uses of that connection in the meantime. If FTTC isn’t available in your area (although >90% of UK premises are now covered), you may have to look at fewer data sets. One backup a day, scheduled overnight is an option, but not recommended.
It’s important to review the backup solution your business currently has in place. I hope the information above will help you put in place the appropriate solution to keep your business data safely backed-up.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mike Ianiri is from Redsquid, one of the UK’s leading independent providers of business Voice, Data, ICT, Cyber Security and IoT Solutions. Redsquid is not tied to a single supplier but rather helps clients boost productivity, reduce costs, and protect and grow their business by creating bespoke solutions from the best technology available in the marketplace.
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