If the Super Bowl blackout last night taught us anything, it’s that having a solid backup system in place is extremely important and necessary for a business to run properly. Just think, a more efficient backup system could have turned a 34 minute delay in a few short minutes.
Every company should employ some type of backup system no matter how small or large they are. The question on everyone’s mind always is, what type of backup is best? But before we get into that, we need to understand what “backing up” means.
There are several reasons to backup:
- Keeping copies of important data and information.
- Providing redundancy in case of system failures.
- Disaster recovery to allow continued operation of services.
In addition, there are also numerous levels of backup:
- Archiving a copy of documents and files.
- Backing up databases and programs.
- Backing up user systems and even the entire network.
- Onsite replacement hardware such as computers, servers and hard disks in case of failures.
- Backup power supplies.
- 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:
- The traditional 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).
- External hard drive for instant access to data for restore or recovery.
- Online backup (usually paired with “cloud” services).
- Real-time replication (similar to online backup but creating an actual mirror copy of a database/system that can be activated and put into usage in case the primary system fails).
At PTM, we believe the best method is to employ a combination of these backup procedures, depending on what kind of data and systems that are being backed up. PTM uses the following back up procedures:
- Onsite back up to multiple file servers, hard drives and physical media for documents, files, and emails.
- High-speed tape backup that is stored offsite for all system data, databases, and programs. Those backup procedures run during off hours.
- Real-time replication to an out-of-state server facility for disaster recovery.
- A backup email system in case our email server goes down.
- Duplicate hardware of all critical systems to ensure rapid replacement if a failure occurs.
- Backup phone system in case of power outage in our primary facility.
- Multiple backup broadband lines to our primary broadband line.
While implementing many of these protocols can be expensive and time-consuming, they more than pay for themselves in the event of an technical emergency. It’s always better to prepare for such contingencies than having to deal with them when they happen… so whatever methods you use, at least do as much as you can.
What types of backup systems does your company use? Have you had incidents occur within your business where a backup system saved the day?