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Disaster-proof your backups

You can beat the odds by designing a backup plan that protects against worst-case scenarios.

With the first month of the Atlantic hurricane season almost behind us and the most active storm period quickly approaching, now is a great time to consider protecting your data. But do not be lulled into a false sense of security if you are outside of the normal hurricane danger zones, a data disaster can strike at any time and can come in the form of fire, flood, earthquake, as well as a storm, and all will play havoc with electronic devices. When your business or personal data is stored in a single location, like your home or office, that data backup is at the mercy of the same forces that threaten the primary system. A disaster-proof back up plan takes advantage of multiple locations and storage methods to provide the highest possible disaster survival available. The following are three options that, when used in concert, give your data a fighting chance against the worst that mother nature can dish out.

Cloud Storage Services

Cloud Storage Services are an excellent option for securing offsite storage of data backups. First, your backup will be stored at an offsite location, insulating your critical data from hardware failures, software failures, and physical damage caused during a disaster. Second, in the case of a natural disaster, your data will be hosted at multiple locations hundreds, if not thousands, of miles from the disaster-affected areas. Lastly, having your important data backed up into the cloud allows for more flexibility in retrieving data as well as operating in multiple locations. There are situation where cloud backups become impractical. If your business deals with large files that require regular backing up, you will need to ensure that your internet connection has sufficient bandwidth to handle the transfers.


These days, it may feel like the only person you can trust with your data is yourself and, in a small business environment, the option to do it yourself becomes plausible. Sneakernet can include using a storage tape or external storage drive system to backup important data and then take it home with you. The reduced size of the storage media and the relative size of a small business or personal backup allow this to be a simple enough solution. For added security, the option of storing backups in a safety deposit box provides another layer of protection. Unfortunately, most significant natural disasters will affect entire regions and, more than likely, your home or bank is in the same area as your business. Maybe you will remember to save your backup along with your other precious possession, but why take the chance. You should only consider this option if you are confident that your home or bank are safe options for secured backup storage.

Synched NAS

Taking backups home each night might work for a very small business, but it becomes difficult to handle the backups adequately as your business grows. The next option, cloud storage, takes for granted that its customers feel secure storing their data with another company that hosts files on shared servers. If these options leave you wanting, consider using a synchronized NAS. In the past, only SANs, or storage area networks, had the capability to synchronize backups over a networked or internet connection. More recently, the same functionality became available on most new model NAS systems. To make the multi-location setup work, place a NAS at each location and set the system to synchronize or backup to each location. When shopping for a compatible NAS with synchronizing capabilities, look for a device that offers block-level sync so that only changed files backup, saving precious bandwidth and time.
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