You do backup your company’s data right? Right?! If not, here’s a sobering statistic to consider: 60% of companies that lose their data will shut down within 6 months of the disaster. I’ll spare you the other statistics but I assure you, the end results of not backing up are just as ugly as the one above.
Choosing the right backup system for your business is as important as choosing reliable hardware for your server and choosing the right network operating system for your information infrastructure.
These days there are many options to choose from but there are a couple of important points to keep in mind:
1. Redundancy is key: Backing up your data is all about having a disaster recovery plan. In effect, your backup system should be designed so that if you drive up to your office building one morning and are met with the sight of a concrete pad where your building used to be (think September 11th, 2001), you could replace your server hardware and be back up and running the same day. One way to ensure this is to have multiple generations of backup media. For instance, we recommend that our clients backup everything, everyday. While this may not be feasible for clients with very large data storage requirements, it works for the majority of businesses. When a tape backup system is installed, we recommend that a client have 2-weeks worth of backup tapes that are in constant rotation, divided into two backup sets. This way if a few backup tapes were to fail, it’s not a big deal. One set is kept offsite in a safe place, like a bank vault. The other set should be kept on-site in a fireproof enclosure of some kind.
As an aside, every once in a while a client asks the question, “Isn’t tape backup considered old technology?” The answer is no. Tape technology can hold more data in a smaller form-factor than hard disks and tape is relatively cheap to buy. Also, wait one-year and try to buy the same hard drives you bought for your backup system. Because of technology advancements, I guarantee you will not be able to whereas you WILL be able to buy the exact tape cartridges to replace failed ones in the same time frame.
2. Use good backup software: The easier it is for your server administrators to check backup logs and interact with the backup system, the more likely it is that they will know if something is amiss with the backup system and they will be able to recover data faster and more reliably.
In the same vein, consider this word of caution: If your IT Services vendor delivers a quote for a new server solution and they don’t include a backup system of some kind, you should probably consider using a different IT Services company.