There aren't many companies that don't rely on computers to keep running smoothly. Customer details, orders, accounts, sales forecasts - all of that key information available at the touch of a button.
But what happens if that button stops working? What if the worst should happen and your data is lost?
thebestof Watford spoke to the team at Browns Integrated Technologies for the advice about backing up that essential data.
According to recent research, 60% of businesses that lose their data in a disaster will shut down within six months. Companies that are unable to resume operations with ten days are unlikely to survive. It's pretty easy to see that data backup is essential.
Backing up your essential company information will protect you against accidental deletion, data corruption, viruses, hardware failure, theft or environmental damage such as fire or flooding.
What should you backup?
Make sure you prioritise your data so that the most important information is always protected. Sensitive documents, essential company information, log-in details, and for personal users, sentimental photographs and files that cannot be replaced if lost.
Documents, emails, databases, website source files – if losing them could result in major upset or financial losses, make sure they're included in your regular backups.
Full and incremental backups
A full backup is exactly that – all files and folders selected will be backed up. Every time a subsequent full back up is performed, all data will be back up again. Benefits of this is that any restores are simple and easy. However, a full backup us time consuming as the entire list of files are copied each time. They also take up a lot of storage.
An incremental backup is a backup of all changes that have occurred since the previous backup. A full backup is performed initially; subsequent backups are simply the changes.
Where should you backup your files?
You can choose from local, off-site and online backups.
Any backup where the storage medium is within the same building as its source is called a local backup. This could be on a second internal hard drive, an external hard drive, USB stick, CD/DVD-ROM etc. Magnetic tape is commonly used for bulk data storage, as is hard disk storage. A local backup protects your digital content from virus attacks, hard drive failures and accidental deletions or mistakes.
Please be aware that high capacity removable storage such as backup tapes do present a data security risk if lost or stolen. You can encrypt the data but encryption is a CPU intensive process, which can result in slower backup speeds.
However, local backup may not protect you from theft or environmental disasters such as fire, flooding or earthquakes, which would likely also destroy any backups in the immediate vicinity of the source. This is where offsite or online backups come in.
If your backup storage medium is held at a different geographic location from your data's source, this is called offsite backup. You may take the media or hard drive home, keep it in another office location or hold it in a secure site.
Online backups are carried out on an ongoing, frequent basis. The storage medium is usually located offsite and is connected to your data source by a network or internet connection. Backups need no human intervention so forgetting to protect your information on a regular basis isn't an issue. All you need are the correct log-in details to then be able to access or restore your backup. Home users and small businesses could use Dropbox or Copy.com; similar commercial products are also available, which are good value and offer high security and performance.
Please be aware that there are drawbacks to remote backups. Internet connections tend to be slower than local data storage devices, with residential broadband being particularly problematic. Local online backup storage is usually the most accessible out of the various options available – it can begin to restore in mere milliseconds. However, it can be quite expensive.
Another drawback to online backups is that they are quite vulnerable to being overwritten or deleted. This can be down to human error, a malevolent action or after a data-deleting virus payload.
All backup options will have some performance impact on the system being backed up. For example, while a computer system is being backed up, the hard drive is busy reading files for the purpose of backing up, and its full bandwidth is no longer available for other tasks during that period of time.
Don't forget to update your backups!
Remember that if you are manually backing up your files, there isn't a set schedule for when your data will be copied. Therefore, it is your responsibility to maintain a regular backup schedule.
Want to know more?
Founded in Watford in 2001, Browns IT is a one-stop-shop for all your IT requirements, offering a range of great value, high security backup options to suit your needs.
For further information about data backups and the options available to you, please contact the team at Browns IT.
Full contact details and more information about Browns Integrated Technologies in Watford can be accessed by clicking here.