The Small Cost of Insuring Data – Modern Backups

One of the benefits of Cloud Computing is that you can access it from anywhere. In the event of a fire or other emergency in your office, your data is still safe and reachable. If you have the right redundancy and back-up packages from the Cloud Computing provider, you are likely to never go down for any significant period. Most businesses still have on-premise servers and this article looks at some options available today to protect your data and applications.

Redundancy and back-ups in IT are like insurance. There are many levels of redundancy and back up. The more you depend on your IT system for your business, the more you should spend in redundancy and back-up(s).

Most failures involve some form of hardware – usually either a power supply, hard disc or CPU/mother board.  For these types of failures, you can be back on your feet in minutes or weeks, depending on the investment you have made in back-up and redundancy.

Standard Daily Back-ups

Most businesses have daily and weekly back-up that they take off-site.  These are basically low cost solutions from the past.    Assuming you have all your files on a physical server(s), an older style inexpensive system takes a week or more to restore all your files, settings and data.   The restoration time depends on how quickly you can replace faulty hardware and how good IT is at restoring files and settings. If your hardware is not under warranty, it is a good idea to have spare parts, otherwise you will be out of action a much longer time looking for replacement parts.

For many businesses, being off-line for a week cost thousands in lost revenue and productivity, and one or more weeks of downtime would put their business in jeopardy.

Daily vs. Hourly and Instant back-up

By visualising your server(s), you are able to back-up the entire server, including settings and data which can save you heaps of time if you need to restore the server. Additionally, you can do hourly incremental back-ups which is an improvement over daily back-ups and is cost effective. The cost of incremental back up software starts at $1200 which works out to be less than a couple of coffees per day. This software backs up your entire server when first used and allows you to incrementally back-up any changes every 15 minutes. Furthermore, an image back-up of your server(s) allow(s) you to restore your server(s) within 4 to 24 hours depending on how quick you can get an IT person on-site.

At another extreme, you can have redundant off-site hardware in the cloud and install a SAN which produces instant images. The instant images from the SAN allow you to keep working if you experience a hardware fault. And the cloud — even if you have no power and there is a fire or natural disaster, you’d still be able to get your data from the cloud anytime as long as you have an internet connection.

Backing up Garbage

Okay, you think you have back-ups that will save the day in an emergency?  Are you sure?   Many do not realise a common problem where the back-ups are “working”, but the data files are “corrupt”.   Firstly, it is a good idea to back-up your data separate from your “images”. Secondly, you need to ensure you can restore your data from your back-ups. If not checked regularly, you are likely backing up garbage.  Here are the service steps to ensure you are not backing up garbage:

  1. Back-up data separate from images and applications.
  2. Restore files from back-up to ensure they are working.
  3. Retrieve files from last week or yesterday from back-up restoration as a test.
  4. Include above routine service each month.

I know the topic of back-ups is often a boring one for many businesses. However, if your IT network or information is critical to your everyday business, you need to understand the options and risks involved with backing up your servers and data.

Contact the Empower IT Solutions team for more advice.