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Why You Should Keep an Offsite Backup of Important Files

Off-site backups are an excellent idea that could save your critical business data in the event of a natural disaster


Keeping a regular backup of your computers and storage systems prevents data loss, but to completely protect databases, email archives and other critically important data, businesses should keep at least two separate backups including one offsite backup.

An offsite backup is a copy of key files and folders kept in a separate physical location from your primary storage device. From a disaster recovery viewpoint, there are several key advantages to offsite file storage.

Protection From Natural Disasters

One of the more obvious advantages of an offsite backup is the protection that users gain from natural events. If you cannot access your computer or storage system for any reason, you can use the offsite copy to restore your data in the meantime.

Offsite backups have provided some businesses with essential protection from downtime following major fires, earthquakes, hurricanes and floods. In some cases, this protection is worth millions of dollars, particularly if the backup copy is recent and productivity losses are minimal following the failure.

Avoiding Logical Data Issues

Offsite backups also protect against logical data disasters in RAID-dependent or networked systems. For example, if your business keeps a primary copy of data on a RAID array and an automatic onsite backup, logical file damage could potentially affect both copies of the file. By keeping a separate offsite backup, your business could avoid data loss in this type of scenario.

Logical file issues account for a large percentage of commercial data loss events, and a good backup plan uses an offsite copy to prevent viruses, user errors and software errors from causing data loss.

Setting Up Offsite Backups

Choosing an appropriate backup program or service can provide you with peace of mind. A good offsite backup is automatic, consistent and reliable.

Depending on whether you need to store a small or large amount of data, you may be able to use a cloud-based service to maintain an accessible offsite backup. Cloud services are a reliable option for personal computer users, and many services offer automatic software that uploads changed files from the user's computer once per day. Most cloud services also offer state-of-the-art data encryption to ensure secure file transfers.

Businesses with large storage systems often prefer physical offsite backups. This can include data tape cartridge libraries, NAS and SAN devices, and other large-scale archival systems. Ideally, these offsite backups should not be in the same regional area as the original copy of the data. Otherwise, major natural events such as floods, hurricanes and earthquakes may prevent you from accessing critically important files in both locations.

Maintaining Your Backups

Businesses and personal computer users should also check their offsite files regularly to make sure that the backups are completed consistently. If the offsite backup uses any type of physical media--data tape cartridges, hard drives or other devices--the media should be closely inspected every 3-4 months to protect against oxide loss and other potential dangers that could lead to tape data corruption. Physical media should be stored in a consistent environment with a controlled temperature and relative humidity.

Backups can also have logical issues due to software, operating system or user errors. Users should perform disaster recovery drills occasionally to make sure that all data is accessible, usable and up to date.

Unfortunately, data loss can still occur when a computer user has an appropriate backup strategy. If you lose access to important files, our engineers are always ready to help. Secure Data Recovery Services provides fast, no-risk evaluations, high success rates and fast turnaround times through more than two dozen offices across the United States. Call us today for more information.

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