A recent survey found that 72% of respondents had lost data from a drive in a laptop or desktop computer.
If you have worked with technology for very long, you understand the importance of keeping your data safe. Using a remote backup service can be an easy and cost-effective way to do this.
A remote backup allows you to keep your files off-site. You can select specific folders or entire hard drives to be backed up to a remote server at an off-site location.
By keeping a frequent or even continuous backup of your data, you minimise the risk of catastrophic data loss that can occur as a result of file corruption, hard drive failure, fire, theft, or other disasters.
In the past, keeping backups of data over the Internet was a slow and arduous process because of the slow connection speeds. As speeds have improved, remote backups have become a reality. Now all you need is a high-speed Internet connection and a web browser to protect your data.
Not that long ago, if an organisation wanted to have a remote backup, they had to set up their own servers, use a remote data centre, and then figure out how to efficiently back up the data to the off-site server without slowing down their Internet connection in the process. If people needed to access the data, it generally required a cumbersome process of connecting to a remote server and then searching for the data they needed.
Thankfully, remote backup services today are much easier. The backup solution is fully managed by the service provider, so you don’t have to worry about maintaining off-site storage. The service provider will typically give you a web-based interface where you can access the files you need.
Remote backups can easily be automated so your backups occur on the frequency you select. Since they are accessed via a web browser, the files can be recovered quickly. The servers are typically housed in a secure data centre with multiple servers for failover.
Security is important, not only to your organisation, but to the remote backup service provider as well. In addition to providing a secure data centre, many service providers offer advanced encryption and up-to-date security protocols to make sure your data is safe.
Since remote backup solutions are automated and handled off-site, it reduces the workload for IT personnel who no longer have to handle that function. This allows IT to provide more of a business benefit to the organisation.
Maintaining physical storage solutions on-site can be expensive. Hardware needs to be maintained and sometimes replaced as your organisation grows. Purchasing physical storage solutions can be a large capital expense. By using a remote backup service you can reduce costs since you only need to maintain the amount of back up space you need, instead of paying to maintain an entire server rack.
Whenever you sign up for a service provider, make sure you have an exit strategy in case you decide to leave. You need to have a clearly defined plan for portability between remote backup providers.
Understand your level of growth
Put careful thought into the amount of data you are backing up. When selecting a provider, make sure they can accommodate your growth.
Always test restore scenarios when moving to a new provider.
Thoroughly analyse your data
Before you can pick a remote backup solution provider, you need to know how much data you currently have, where it is stored, how often it is accessed and modified, and the risk and cost of losing that data.
This can be a challenge, as some employees will store important data not only on servers, but on remote devices as well. Maintaining strict policies of where your data is stored can be critical to having successful backups.
Planning your backups
Once you know how much data you need to backup, you need a plan for where your organisation is going, not just where you currently are. You need to successfully estimate the quantity of future data.
Make sure you understand the amount of data retention. How long do you need to store data? Is there an appropriate time for data to be purged forever to reduce liability?
Research and service providers
It is important to have a good understanding of the features and benefits of each service provider. One key factor is to make sure you have the service provider tell your organisation the services that are needed. Do not give them a list of features you need and allow them to say “sure, we do all of that”.
Have a lawyer review their service contract and make sure the company abides by their service level agreements. It can also be a good idea to talk with some of their existing customers (happy and unhappy) to find out the real pros and cons to using their service.
Once you have selected your service provider, work with them to plan the implementation. Do not underestimate the amount of time it is going to require to get your data to them initially. This will typically need to happen via a portable hard drive to allow them to get the initial data. The methods they pick will depend upon the amount of data being backed up.
Test restoring the data using different scenarios to make sure you will be able to access your data in case of hardware failure.
Remote backups can be a critical part of reducing risk for your organisation. With proper planning and selecting the right remote backup partner, your remote backup can be a real success.
Are you thinking of moving to a remote backup solution?
We have experience helping organisations make the transition and can help you see the benefits of increased efficiency, improved productivity and minimised downtime.