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Backing Up Your Data to Prevent Losing It!

Developing a disaster prevention and recovery plan, often the most overlooked or outdated of any business plan, can be the difference between keeping your company in the black and closing your doors forever.

The fact is that US businesses lose over $12 billion per year because of data loss. To prevent such costly loses to your business experts recommend backing up your critical files.

At very least, businesses should backup critical files on CDs or external USB hard drives on a regular basis. If a business’s data is updated on an hourly basis, it needs a more continuous data storage option. However, if backing up data on a daily or weekly basis will allow a business to retain all of its pertinent data, then that’s the best option.

Products for Data Protection

There are several vital elements that come into play when it’s time to develop a data protection strategy. There are various data protection solutions—and a wide degree of costs associated with it—but they all come down to capacity, data transfer and data restoration.

Magnetic tapes are still the storage medium of choice for most businesses because they have a long shelf life that make archiving data reliable. Formerly, data transfer rates were relatively slow—11-30 megabytes per second. But high-end magnetic tape drives have more than double that speed and can store information in the terabytes.

Hard drives are a cost-effective alternative to magnetic tapes and can be protected with RAID to ensure hardware fault tolerance, something that magnetic tape backup doesn’t offer.

Tne Cloud: Cloud backup and data restoration have been booing in recent years. One problem many businesses face is that many cloud backup solutions do not backup certain kinds of files. Another issue many companies wrestle with is security. Especially in light of all the recent data breeches and the fact that ISP's tend to hand over all documents when requested by government officials. Plus the fact that there's a whole lot of snooping and capturing of web traffic, calls and such.

The key to both media is offsite storage. Because fires, floods and other natural disasters can wreck havoc on your equipment, giving IT managers the ability to recover most of the data from an off-site location is key to a successful data protection strategy. Co-located servers and storage methods will be unusable.

While it is always a good idea to backup your critical data, if your data is stored at the same location as your server—and you experience a natural disaster, a fire or flood—the odds are that you will still require data recovery on the hard drives, or tape restoration to get your data restored.

The Downtime of Data Restoration

The magnetic tape drives and hard drives are common ways to make sure you’ll always have critical data to run your business. But since data recovery takes time, you need to consider restoration time in your data protection strategy.

If your business can never suffer downtime, then perhaps you should consider remote mirroring or electronic vaulting. Like the storage media, both of these options have certain advantages.

With remote mirroring, you’re duplicating one or more disk arrays. You disassociate one at night and perform and offline backup of the array before re-associating it. The downtime is only 15 minutes in a 24 hour period.

The downside is that remote mirroring is expensive to implement because of the high-throughput network link and low latency that’s needed to maintain synchronous communications.

Reducing that expense is electronic vaulting, a method by which transactional information is written into log files, and is then forwarded to a backup site every few hours. Because of the asynchronous form of communication, bandwidth and latency requirements are less of an issue.

The Key to a Successful Data Backup Strategy

Having what you believe to be an outstanding data backup system is likely not going to be useful unless testing it is part of your plan. Products, installation and maintenance make up only half of a data protection strategy.

Your test should verify how long it will take to recover data as well as if the backup process will corrupt the data. Recovery tests should be run fairly often—at least quarterly.

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