Is there anyone who hasn’t stared in horror at their device as it crashes and burns, taking all data with it, whilst muttering in shock, ‘Oh my god, when did I last back this up?’!?
One of life’s true horse/stable door moments, it’s something we urge our clients to keep on top of as much as possible. And yes, we’re very good at giving advice, not so good at acting on it ourselves *starts back up procedure…
But do you know how to go about it? We spoke to Mike Ianiri from Redsquid, one of the UK’s leading tech security brands, to get some hot tips.
WHAT HAVE YOU GOT TO LOSE?
You have all sorts of data in your business; invoicing, records, Excel and Word files and images, possibly design work, there’s a long list. What will you do if you have a critical failure and lose some, or all, of this data?
Autorecover makes recovering Word documents, for example, much easier than it used to be. Other software applications have similar functionality, such as Autosave within Photoshop. But these won’t recover large numbers of documents in the event of an office fire or backup failure. And 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.
So let’s look at your backup options, from the basic to the really complex, including the pros and cons of each.
EXTERNAL HARD DRIVES
Normally used by micro businesses to provide a backup solution. It’s a really basic solution and something we never recommend as a complete solution.
• Hard drives are a physical device and can fail, leaving you with no way of recovering the data
• They aren’t always connected to your devices, so you have to remember to manually backup
• Hard drives are getting smaller and easier to lose
• If you keep the hard drive with the device it back ups and one is stolen, lost, burnt or broken, the other probably will be too!
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.
As businesses grow and develop their own on-premise server networks, the obvious solution 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. There are, of course, pros and cons to this as well…
Having your backup in the same location as the original versions is rarely a good option. What if there’s a fire?
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 if you want this level of failover capability.
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. What happens if:
• There’s a fire in your office?
• There is an incident that means you are unable to get into your office to work?
• There is a burglary?
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. Don’t forget also that taking these off-site could well be breaching your GDPR commitments.
Backing up your data to a cloud provider delivers far more benefits than issues.
Although you are highly likely to be paying on a per-Gb basis for this solution and that may add up to a higher cost than an on-premise solution, 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.
More than anything, don’t do nothing. Unless your business can operate without your data, which seems unlikely, make sure you have the best solution for getting your data backed-up that your business can afford. If it seems like a faff now, imagine the alternative…
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mike Ianiri is from Redsquid, one of the UK’s leading independent providers of business Voice, Data, ICT, Cyber Security and IoT Solutions. Redsquid is not tied to a single supplier but rather helps clients boost productivity, reduce costs, and protect and grow their business by creating bespoke solutions from the best technology available in the marketplace.