Three ways to backup your business data safely

By Mike Ianiri, Redsquid

You have a mass of data in your business, from Word files to invoicing data to product images. What will you do if you have a critical failure and lose some, or all, of this?

Autorecover in Word, Autosave in Photoshop and similar functionality in other software applications is useful. But these won’t recover large numbers of documents in the event of an office fire or backup failure.  If you’re one of the many small businesses using Microsoft Office 365 it’s also important to realise that this is not backed-up in any way.

Let’s look at your business backup options.

  1. External hard drives

Normally used by micro businesses to provide a backup solution. This is a basic solution and something we never recommend as a complete solution.

·         Hard drives can fail, leaving you with no way of recovering the data

·         Hard drives are getting smaller and easier to lose

·         They aren’t always connected to your devices, so you have to remember to manually backup

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.

2.      On-premise solutions

As businesses grow and develop an on-premise server network, the obvious step 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 pros and cons to this …

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.

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.

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. Also taking these off-site is highly likely to breach your GDPR commitments.

3.      Cloud-based backup

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Backing up your data to a cloud provider delivers far more benefits than issues.

You’re highly likely to be paying on a per Gb basis for this solution. It may have a higher cost than an on-premise solution, however, 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.

Your internet connection

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.

If you don’t have an effective backup solution get something in place.  If you have a solution perhaps it is time to review to see if it is still providing everything you need.

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