What are they?
Backups are a copy of your data stored in another location other than their primary source. One of the biggest mistakes we see is people archiving data to another location and calling it a backup, the difference between a backup and an archive is the backup is a copy of the original and an archive is the only copy of the data.
Backups come in all shapes and sizes, from USB drives to cross continent server mirrors. They can be as cheap or as expensive as you want them to be and broadly they all do the same thing with varying degrees of protection. Put simply backups allow you access to another copy of your data when something goes wrong. They provide resilience for your business and peace of mind against data loss. Yet according to CloudBerry more than one third of businesses don’t back up their data. Yes, over 30% don’t have any form of protection against data loss. This is a frightening statistic given the amount of mission critical data that businesses are holding and the increasing prevalence of ransomware viruses which are encrypting companies files (you can read more about that in our ransomware article.)
Why do I need one? & what are the types?
Backups can be broken down into two main types – Offsite and onsite
Offsite backups (which are not always cloud backups) just means the backup leaves the site, this can be because it is transmitted offsite or because it is taken offsite by a member of staff. If we assume for the moment that offsite typically means cloud backup.
Cloud backup is when a piece of software runs on your computer which will automatically transmit your data to servers offsite. Beyond this providers have various features, security and retention, if you wish to speak to us about Cloud backup you can call us on 0845 519 4425 or click here for more information.
The key to cloud backup is the data is automatically being sent to a location away from original data which is key to preventing data loss by things like floods, fire or theft. Another benefit of a cloud backup is you have no expensive hardware and software outlay, a good onsite backup solution including software/hardware will run to at least £500, the software is free and the hardware isn’t your concern with cloud backups.
Any time you take a copy of your data and keep it on the site it is an onsite backup, be that tape backup, USB or just manually copying files to another device. You can, of course, take the files offsite with you which then qualifies it as an offsite backup.
The main problem with onsite backups are firstly that you are not protecting yourself from fire, flood or theft, the secondary issue is that you need to ensure that the backup is actually running and test it periodically, it is all too common that people will attempt to recover from backup only to find that the backup is not working or that the backup itself is corrupt.
If you have backups that you mange yourself ensure you are testing them regularly, if you have an offsite solution you should be ensuring that you occasionally check that the backup is setup the way you want it and that the data being sent offsite is the data you need to protect.
If you do not have backups then you are effectively waiting for something to come along and ruin your day.
It’s often difficult to explain the importance of backups to a person who has never experienced data loss. We deal with data recovery on a daily basis and for those who have backups they are thankful and for those who do not, they will never go without backups again.
To those who have never lost data ask yourself the question: Can I really afford to lose data?