With the end of hurricane season nearly upon us and the winter blizzard season fast approaching, now is as good a time as any to consider the damage that a natural disaster can visit upon data backup solutions. Whether it is an earthquake that hits your area, a blizzard that shuts down your town, a hurricane that levels your office, or a fire that runs out of control, a disaster can happen at any time, and the most likely casualty is your data.
Technical disasters like hardware failure and data corruption are an expected part of any business or enterprise data solution. However, just having a RAID configuration and external backup drive aren't enough when a city-spanning natural disaster occurs. The results can be devastating to a business; the U.S. Small Business Administration reports that 25% of businesses never reopen after being hit by a disaster. Protect your data and your business by creating a backup solution that incorporates off-site backup options like the examples to follow.
Manual Offsite Backup Storage (Sneakernet)
Sometimes, the only person you can trust with your data is yourself and in a small business environment, the option to do it yourself is possible. This option includes using a storage tape or external storage drive system to backup all important data and then take it home with you. The reduced size of the storage media and the relative size of small business backups 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 for backups.
Unfortunately, most significant natural disasters affect entire regions and, more than likely, your home or bank is in the same area as your business. Maybe you can remember to save your backups along with your other precious possession, but why take the chance. Only consider this option if you are confident that your home or bank are safe options for storage.
The Cloud is 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. Second, in the case of a natural disaster, your data will be hosted at a location hundreds, if not thousands, of miles from the damaged areas. Lastly, having your important data backed up into the cloud allows for more flexibility in retrieving data as well as operating 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.
Network Attached Storage
Taking your backups home each night might work for a very small business, but it becomes more difficult to adequately handle the backups as your business grows. The next option, cloud storage, takes for granted that its customers feel secure sharing their data with another company that hosts it on shared servers. If either of these options is not palatable to you, consider synchronized NAS.
In the past, only SANs, or storage area networks, had the capability to synchronize backups over networked or internet connection. Recently, the same functionality has been made available on newer 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. Look for a device that offers block-level sync so that only changed files are transmitted, saving precious bandwidth.