Protect Your Business From Disaster

Loss of data can have catastrophic consequences for a business. Files can be accidentally deleted, damaged by a virus, lost due to hardware failure or on a larger scale, computers could be stolen or damaged in a fire or flood. If these damaged files contain your critical data you will no doubt experience major problems. Most companies cease to trade after complete data loss. Some stats…

Of companies that had a major loss of business data:

43% never reopen.

51% close within two years of the loss.

Only, 6% will survive long-term.

(Figures taken from – Hoffer, Jim. “Backing Up Business – Industry Trend or Event.” Health Management Technology, Jan 2001)

What is critical data?

With the world becoming more and more paperless, all your data is stored on your computer or company server, what would happen if you lost this data? Think about what data you could lose that would stop your business from running? What would happen if you lost all your accounting information or all your customer details? Would your business still be able to function?

Anything that would affect the smooth running of your business can be classed as critical data.

The importance of backing up critical data.

The main reason for backing up your critical information is peace of mind, if something happens to the original copy of your data, you can restore the data from that backup copy. Losing data is more common than you think, the two most common reasons for data loss are hardware failure and human error.

In our digital world, all of your data is stored on hard drives, these drives become less reliable with age and drive failure rates are said to increase at higher drive temperatures. Hard drives are mechanical devices and with them having moving parts, they will eventually break. Unfortunately it is impossible to tell when, however, safeguarding against failure is so simple, just backup your data. Power failures or surges contribute to computer hardware failure and ultimately result in data loss..

The other major reason for data loss is human error. Files and or folders get deleted by accident, coffee gets spilt on to the computer or a laptop gets dropped. Who hasn’t deleted a file they later need?

You may also believe that backing up your critical data is not necessary because of the large number of companies that offer data recovery. Unfortunately data recovery from damaged or faulty computer hardware, is unlikely to be completely successful. Usually only some of the data can be recovered and in certain cases no data can be recovered from the damaged drive. This is why data recovery should only be used as a last resort, preventative methods such as data backup should be put in place.

It is not just prudent to ensure that your data is always in two places at one time – it is common sense! If your hard drive breaks, your computer dies or gets stolen and you have a backup, you can simply buy another computer and restore the data back. Panic over.

Ways to backup up critical data

Popular methods of backing up data are:

Tape Drive

External Hard Drive

Raided Internal Drive

Offsite Data Backup

Tape Drive

An old and previously popular way to backup data was to use a tape drive, as they could store large amounts of data. The disadvantage with tape drives is that they are slow and the tapes are somewhat sensitive to heat, magnetism etc. which does not make them the most reliable device. They also rely on human intervention; someone has to remember to back up the critical data to the tapes, a task that could easily get forgotten.

External Hard Drive

These drives are very easy to use and are very mobile. However they still require human intervention and are sensitive to power surges, also because they are mobile there is a chance they could get damaged by being dropped.

Raided Internal Drive

You can set up hard drives in your computer or server so that if one drive fails you have a backup drive. These drives are housed securely within the casing of your computer hardware, however they are still hard drives and therefore susceptible to damage by power surges and environmental factors. Not forgetting the possibility of the whole machine being stolen.

Offsite Data Backup

This is the safest method of backing you your data. It uses specially designed software, located on the computer or server you are backing up, to encrypt your data and pass it over the internet to a secure remote location, this is usually a data centre which is specifically designed to hold mission critical data.

Which method to choose?

The first three methods of data backup have one major issue in common, the backup copy of the data is kept in the same location as the original copy. This leaves the risk of whatever destroyed the original copy of the data potentially destroying the backup copy.

For example, a client of ours had a burst pipe over the Christmas holidays which caused the escaping water to flood their offices including their server room. Fortunately for the client they already used our offsite data backup service, so all of their data could be restored to new hardware.

In these trying times where everyone is trying to cut costs, data backup is not considered a necessity. But consider the alternative; could your business operate without critical data?



Source by Samantha E Rogulska

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