June 26, 2014
Boston Managed IT Services: Creating a Backup Plan

I am frequently surprised by how often companies look at their backup solutions as an afterthought.  Perhaps second only to the people in your organization is the data that you use and create for your business.  Just think of the man (and woman!) hours of work that goes into creating your data and what it would take to reproduce it if it was ever lost.  Indeed, there are many companies that could not survive data loss and the down time that comes with it.   Not all backup solutions are created equal, and one size most certainly does not fit all.

There are many different products available for backing up your data, but you should be looking for these key points when looking at options.

1. At the most basic level, all backup systems should be designed to provide both onsite and offsite storage of your backups.  The reason for this is quite simple; if all of your backup media is stored in your office and you experience a local event such as fire or flood, your backups won’t be much use if they are physically destroyed.

2.  File vs. Image backups–   File backups simply backup which files you select.  This is okay for simple backup needs, but care must be taken to ensure all the files that you need backed up are included.  This includes regularly reviewing and modifying as needed.  Image-based backups backup your entire system, including applications and operating system files, so you don’t have to specifically select files to be backed up.  Keep in mind your storage requirements will be higher than file backups.

3.  Security — You will want to make sure your backup solution supports encryption of your data as it is backed up. If your backup media is lost or stolen, you want to make sure your data will not be compromised.

4.  Recovery — Often overlooked is the time it takes to recover in the event of failure.  Onsite solutions will give you the fastest recovery time; cloud-based storage can take much longer.

5. Business Continuity —   Several products offer continuity options that let you create virtual images of your failed computer and continue to operate by using the virtual computer while you wait for repairs or replacement.  These options are great for companies that cannot tolerate much downtime.

The good news: 80% of hard drives last four years or longer.  The bad news is that leaves 20% that don’t.

Northern Business Machines is a Managed IT Services provider based in Burlington, Massachusetts.  We provide support to customers throughout Massachusetts, Cape Cod, and New Hampshire.