Backup your systems and data to make sure you can always recover your important information and services
Backups are a key, undervalued, element of every IT system, ensuring that data is stored should something happen to the live information. This could be for posterity, security, business continuity, disaster recovery or any other number of reasons.
Backups are essential as anything could corrupt or damage data, from users accidentally deleting a file to cyber criminals locking up or corrupting entire servers and databases. Without a backup the damage to a business could be a mild inconvenience, loss of profitability or it could result in the business closing down.
The risks are not limited to actions within the IT environment however, as physical damage to equipment could also be saved through backup. Factors such as fires, floods, theft or power surges could damage the Business IT infrastructure beyond economical repair. For this reason, cloud backup or off-site backup solutions should be looked into.
Factors to be considered when looking into backup solutions:
The most common type of data backup employed by businesses is an “on-site backup”, typically provided by an external USB or Network Attached Storage drive. This allows the company to have a second copy of the data should anything happen to the original.
Most on-site backups or local backups simply backup the files required through automated or regular action. This is the minimum standard of backup required to reduce risk as it would allow a full file recovery.
An alternative on-site backup would be a redundant server or workstation which contains a live copy of the data, available as soon as required and reducing any “downtime”. This is a costly option as it translates as always having and supporting two hardware systems.
A more effective solution than on-site backups during an on-site disaster, cloud or off-site backup solutions are not subject to the issues which have caused the site to require a backup.
Typically a file-only backup, the cloud backup would (depending on connectivity) allow a full restore of the files backed up remotely as required.
Options for a full-system backup are available off-site but these are heavily dependent on connectivity, but they do allow for effective business continuity if a strong enough internet connection is available. Recommended for EoFTTC or Pure Fibre connections.
Other solutions that are perceived as backup include Dropbox Backup, Google Cloud Backup and Office 365 Backups. While these are viewed as resilient solutions in their own right, with primary storage being off-site in a “cloud” environment, any changes made to the files in these environments are not backed up or restorable.
A hybrid solution is the most useful, resilient and expensive backup solution. Benefitting from the advantages of both on-site and off-site solutions while the disadvantages are mitigated by both solutions, this double backup can be cost prohibitive for some businesses.
File only backups simply backup the individual data files required by the business, ignoring the file structure or additional data relied on by users, machines and services. This is the most simplistic backup and common for on-site backups.
A full-system backup copies the entire digital architecture of a server or workstation that can be recovered to a new piece of hardware in the event of failure. Most useful in disaster recovery scenarios, the entire system can be recovered.
For every business, there is a solution.