The Importance of Online Data Backup

We often take for granted that our computer data is safe. Our Laptops and Desktops switch on every day, we sit in front of them

entering endless amounts of information, creating documents and downloading our emails, but what happens when that all important information is no longer available? What happens when our computer fails to start or we accidentally delete an important folder. You’ll probably remember a little later you’ve lost an important email, and then realise, it contained all the latest changes to that document you’ve been working on for the last month, or your Aunt kitty’s new telephone number and email address.

The effects of data loss can be devastating but knowing this, we still say to ourselves each week, "hmm I must make a backup of my files", and we say it a lot , but there’s just something that stops us completing this task. Is it pure lazyness of the speed of life nowadays? Whatever the reason, we’re all guilty of it.

Without a data backup or disaster recovery plan, your business or personal life can come to an abrupt halt.

The Solutions:

USB Drive:

Most of us own a form of USB Drive, be it a memory stick or a USB powered hard disk. These drives are useful for making backups but unfortunately, they are easily dropped, stolen or misplaced. These drives also are prone to failure and corruption. You also have to perform the backup manually unless you have dedicated backup software. Whilst these drives offer some form of protection against data loss, it’s weaknesses and temptation to unplug them let this method down. High user intervention required. Easily Lost, Dropped or Misplaced.
Low cost -but high cost when things go wrong.

Online Data Backup:

Online Data Backup is the safest, most cost effective way of securing your data. It allows data to be backed up and transmitted securely, offsite, to a central backup server. Running a remote backup service brings several benefits over traditional backup methods. You will never have to change a tape or create a DVD, Data can usually be accessed anywhere in the world and restored instantly in the event of a disaster and online data backups also have a secondary backup – so the data is replicated ot multiple servers for added security. Your data can also be encrypted so even we can’t see your data’s contents.

The downside to Online Data Backup is it’s ongoing monthly cost but when you weigh this up against the cost of recreating the lost data from scratch, then it’s a good deal and brings you added  peace of mind.

SysFix (www.sysfix.co.uk) offer a Managed Offsite Data Backup service from £10 per month which can backup your data at regular intervals. Should a disaster occur, not only do you have the option of restoring your data over the Internet but you can also request your data on DVD or USB Disk and sent to you via courier. With Remote Data Backup, you have the assurance that should your equipment break or be stolen, your data is safe.
Ongoing monthly fee but outweighed by Off Site data so no risk of Theft or loss, None or very little  user intervention required, Safe & Secure.

CD / DVD:

Backing up files to CD and DVD should really only be used if you have the patience of a saint and have very little data to backup.
This backup method is time consuming, requires a manual backup process to be performed each time you wish to backup and of course CDs and DVDs can become scratched, rendering the backup useless. On the plus side, CDs and DVDs are cheap – but when they’re scratched, the damage to your pocket for a professional data recovery service will be quite significant.  Great for backing up photos and storing away in a safe place.
Risk of loss and damage – But extremely low cost. Highest level of user intervention required.

Tape Backup (DLT /DAT):

Tape backup is a great form of backup as it can hold an extremely large amount of data per tape, usually upt0 300GB. However, tape backup relies on the tapes to be changed daily and removed off-site. It’s typical to have a tape rotation such that the same tape will only be seen on site maybe once a week or once a month. A backup cycle can be expensive, if not the most expensive method as a specialist media collection and delivery service is usually needed, not forgetting a tape for every server, every day of the week, plus a weekly and a monthly backup tape, for a period of say 3 months to complete the tape rotation. As you can imagine, managing such a system can become tedious and time consuming. Backup tapes can of course also snap!

The online backup method utilises an electronic rotation and creates "snapshots" of data on the same basis as outlined above,  however all data is held off site at no extra cost.

High cost of Hardware and backup media. Risk of damaged tapes. User intervention required for tape changes. Data held onsite unless a specialist data agent used.  Can hold a lot of data.

The Verdict

Whilst all backup methods have a genuine role to play, there is really one method that stands out and that’s online data backup. It’s held offsite, is cost effective and allows backups to be done without any user intervention.  Online backup will undoubtedly become the preferred backup method by SMEs in the future.

If you have a vast amount of multimedia files such as High Definition images and videos, then DLT would probably be best suited to your business.

2 thoughts on “The Importance of Online Data Backup

  1. London IT Support

    I can vouch for this, I had never considered my data to be vulnerable until I rather foolishly spilled a cup of coffee all over my laptop when it was turned on. That was the end of my hard drives and 1.5 years worth of work. I had never been so angry and the only person I could really be angry with is myself for not taking measures against this. Trust me it’s worth it.

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