Introduction

What if you were to come into your office one morning and found that your server was off? You go to push the power button, and… nothing. You call your IT company and it turns out the server has died. It can not be turned back on. You think to yourself, what happens now, what happened to all of my data?

If you, or your IT company took the correct precautions at the very least your mission critical data can be restored from your backup and your business can get back to, well, business. If your company did not make any backups your data may be lost and you will have to painstakingly rebuild whatever files you can. How long do you think this will take to accomplish, and more importantly, can your business survive after a catastrophic data loss.

Small Business Data Loss Statistics

Sadly, many companies that do suffer a catastrophic data loss never do recover. Here are some sobering statistics in regards to small business data loss:

  • 25% do not reopen following a major disaster (Source: ‘Open for Business’, the Institute for Business & Home Safety)
  • 40% who suffer a disaster are out of business within 2 years (Source: ‘Managing Business Continuity’ KPMG, 2000)
  • 50% of businesses without an effective business continuity plan fail following a major disruption (Source: Deloitte & Touche, 2008)
  • 70% of small businesses that experience a data loss go out of business in a year (Contingency Planning, Strategic Research Corp and DTI/PWC, 2004)

A data backup can mean the difference between staying in business and closing the doors.

The first step in backing up your data is choosing the correct backup that suits your needs. First, we will discuss the different types of backups, then in Part 2, we will discuss the pros and cons of each, and finally in Part 3 of this series, we will discuss the steps to take to provision for a disaster.

Types of Backups

Tape / Media based

Media based backups have been around for the longest period of time, and were at one time the most common backup method. In a media based backup, the system administrator creates backup sets that backup the complete server, or designated files / folders on the server to some type of media, whether it is disk, magnetic tape, or more recently solid state devices. In order to keep more than one backup set, often multiple media was needed. For example, if you had a 72 GB tape and were backing up 60 GB of data, you would need seven tapes to make a daily backup for a one week period.

Cloud Based

Cloud based backup is similar to tape / media based backups, except there is no media to store your backup on, rather it is sent to data centers via the internet. Just like in media based backups, the administrator creates backup sets, whether it is the entire device or just a subset of its data, then the software backs-up the data set, typically encrypts/compresses it, and then sends it off to a secure data center through the internet.

Disaster Recover / Business Continuity Based

This is the newest type of backup methodology to hit the IT market place. With Disaster Recover / Business Continuity (DR / BC) based backups, your entire device is “imaged”. What this means is that the backup software takes a snapshot of the server and packs it into a file format dubbed an image. The server image is typically stored on a local device and replicated and sent to a data center. This is the ultimate backup because you will have an exact replica of your server at the point in time the backup software runs.

Coming next – Part 2. In part two of this article series, we will discuss the pros and cons of each backup method and how each one can benefit (or harm) your business. Later, in part 3, we will discuss creating business continuity plans in the event a disaster does occur.

Preparing for a disaster:

Part 1. What if you were to come into your office one morning and found that your server was off?

Part 2. What are the pros and cons of 3 primary primary data backup methods? 

Part 3. T Learn how to choose the correct backup method for your organization.

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