Every business depends on data. For both the teen who mows lawns at the weekend and globe-spanning internet giants like Google, data is vital.
It might be addresses written on a piece of paper or petabytes of information stored on thousands of powerful servers. If it’s lost, the business loses money, time, and the respect of its customers.
Most business leaders understand how valuable data is. They take backups to keep their data safe, but the backups are often inadequate to the data’s value and the consequences of data loss.
Data loss incidents can be caused by hardware failures, software bugs, security compromises, accidents, incompetence, bad weather, mice chewing on cables, and a hundred other impossible-to-predict events.
Backing up to a single storage device or server at the same location is not enough to protect business data.
A local backup is useful and helps protect the business against some types of data loss. If a hard drive fails, it’s fast and convenient to restore data from a local device.
But what happens if both copies of the data are damaged or if something goes wrong with the backup system itself? This happens more often than you might think: GitLab suffered downtime last year because its backup systems failed to replicate a key database. When the primary database failed the backup was empty.
Recognizing that a single local backup isn’t enough, many small businesses have manual offsite backup procedures.
That often involves a member of staff copying key data to a thumb drive or DVD every week or month and taking it to a “safe location”. More sophisticated setups might swap backup drives every once in a while.
This technique is better than a single backup drive, but it has flaws too. A major problem is that it relies on someone consistently performing the backup, verifying that the backup was successful, and taking the disk away to a safe location.
Backups that rely on people doing the right thing, every time, over many years are not to be trusted. People are fallible.
Furthermore, this type of backup quickly becomes out of date: every day more data is generated and none of it is on the remote backup drive.
Finally, moving drives off site can be a serious security blunder: it would be unfortunate if the drive were to be left on a train or stolen from its “safe location”.
So what is the best way for a small business to backup data? A good backup should be:
Not too long ago, a backup system that ticked those boxes would have been very expensive, out of the reach of small businesses.
Today, sophisticated cloud backup services are capable of slurping up all your data and keeping it safe. Every business, from solopreneurs to small teams to larger businesses with hundreds of employees, can enjoy the safety of comprehensive, secure, offsite backups.
Jay Caissie, Director of IT - Jay Cassie is Director of IT at ServerMania. Jay takes the lead on network engineering, server management services, internal systems, engineering, and escalated support. In short, Jay is the brains behind the technical aspects of ServerMania’s hosting platform.