Every company should employ some type of backup system no matter how small or large they are… but the question is, what type of backup is best? Before we get into that, we need to understand what “backing up” means.
There are several reasons to backup:
1. Keeping copies of important data and information
2. Providing redundancy in case of system failures
3. Disaster recovery to allowed continued operation of services.
In addition to the whys, there are also several levels of backup:
1. Archiving a copy of documents and files
2. Backing up databases and programs
3. Backing up user systems and even the entire network.
4. Onsite replacement hardware such as computers, servers and hard disks in case of failures
5. Backup power supplies
6. Backup broadband lines because many businesses rely on internet and email
And within each of these storage based backup levels, there are also several methods to do so:
1. The oldest standard is physical media, backing up to either tape, CDs or DVDs (in the past, used to be floppy disks for anyone old enough to remember those)
2. External hard drive for instant access to data for restore or recovery.
3. Online backup (usually paired with “cloud” services)
4. Real-time replication (similar to online backup but creating an actual mirror copy of a database/system that can be activate and put into usage in case the primary system fails)
We believe the best method is to employ a combination of these backup procedures depending on what kind of data and systems are being backed up.
• We use onsite back to multiple file servers, hard drives and physical media for documents, files and emails.
• We use high-speed tape backup that is stored offsite for all system data, databases and programs. Those backup procedures run during off hours.
• We use real-time replication to an out-of-state server facility for disaster recovery.
• We have backup email system in case our email server goes down.
• We have duplicate hardware of all our critical systems to ensure rapid replacement if a failure occurs.
• We have a backup phone system in case of power outage in our primary facility.
• We have multiple backup broadband lines to our primary broadband line
While implementing many of these protocols could be expensive and time-consuming, we can tell you that we have had to use several of these backup systems at least once. Some of them were put into place because we recognized the need for them based on past experiences and we are always looking to improve our backup procedures.
It’s always better to prepare for such contingencies than having to deal with them when they happen… so whatever method you use, at least do as much as you can.
And backups aren’t just for hardware, systems and data… there is a component that is just as important for your business, personnel and procedures backup. We’ll cover that in a future blog entry.