Should I backup online?
I often get asked by clients about backup strategies and I always suggest backing up online but due to the recurring cost this is not what businesses want to hear. It used to be that online backup was only for large enterprise businesses but recently this has changed and it is now affordable for small and medium sized businesses to gain access to this very useful service.
According to Gartner it costs a business on average £10,000 for a single data loss, not to mention the problems that could come after the event like customer dissatisfaction if you could not deliver on what you prommised. There are a few reasons that you could loose data and they include
- Human error
- Network connection problems
- Hardware problems
- Employee grievance
While an onsite backup solution will cover these events to keep you safe you need to keep your data at a different place so you don’t have all your eggs in one basket. For this you generally need to switch hard drives or tapes and take one away with you but here lies the problem, human error. If you are in a rush you may forget to swap the hard drive or tape, out of habit and speed you might not check the backup software to make sure it ran.
I have seen this all too often in business that got their backup setup a while ago and just left it and forgot it. In fact I visited a business that got their backup setup to go to a tape device and was told to switch them every day. For a while they did this but then complacency set in and they stopped it. Eventually the backup failed to start at all due to tape errors so they went without a backup for 6 months.
Why offsite backup?
Cloud backup or offsite backup has a few benefits compared to traditional onsite backup. The first is automation or the set it and forget it factor, as there is no need for a storage device to be attached or swapped out you don’t need to change tapes or hard drives, once it has been set up it will keep on backing up. As long as you have an internet connection the program will automatically upload your documents to their servers, this helps prevent human error and hardware failure. people forget or can be in too much of a rush to change a tape which could mean no backup at all. I visited a business that had their server programmed to backup to a tape every night but when I went to see them they had not put a tape in for over a year
Another advantage is central administration, with online backup I can see all my clients settings in one place, making sure that everything that should be backed up is being backed up. If a client needs a separate folder backup, on all his computers, that is not located in the normal location then I can make that change in my administrators control panel and all the backup programs will pick this up and start backing up the new folder. This saves you time and money as I don’t need to access your computer to make these changes.
A disgruntled employee can cause damage to your business and with your backups. All it takes in an onsite backup system is to pull out a cable or possible alter the backup settings. With a good online backup solution you should be able to lock these settings down so only the administrator can change any settings. This means no employee can willingly or accidently change any of your backup settings, which could result in lost data.
The last point I think is important is faulty media, if your backup destination, whither that is a tape or hard drive, becomes faulty then you could miss it and not have any backups at all. With cloud backup you don’t need to worry about this as the backup company checks there hard drives to make sure they are fine and with a good backup company, they should have multiple copies of your data should they get a fault. Our online backup has your data on three different computers in two different locations, just to make sure your data is safe.