Offsite backup is important. Really. If you don’t know this already, either you’re doing it wrong or your company has been lucky and hasn’t lost important data (so far…). Chances are your business already understands this importance and has implemented an offsite backup strategy, but is it as effective as it could be?
Nothing hurts more than investing a ton of resources into your backup plan and then losing everything anyway because of a simple oversight (alright, maybe dropping your new smartphone hurts more… let’s not start that debate). Luckily, there are a few simple steps you can take to ensure your offsite backup tactics are as solid as Batman’s biceps.
Prius aside, Hybrid is what you want
Don’t let Toyota fool you, when it comes to offsite backup Hybrid is definitely a good thing. It all comes back to the ol’ eggs in a basket argument: the more diverse your backup strategy, the less likely you are to lose everything to a single disaster.
This means getting your important data off your premises and squirrelling it safely away by more than one means. In our fancy digital age it can be pretty tempting to rely on technologies like Cloud and trust that Amazon or Google have your back, but there are a number of reasons why online backup shouldn’t be trusted entirely. Use Cloud, by all means, but if you really care about the security of your company’s data then it should only be a component of your overall offsite strategy.
For complete data protection, it’s a good idea to complement Cloud with either HDD or tape backups that are Sneakernet rotated to a secure offsite location and stored in a good old-fashioned waterproof safe. You could also network transfer your backups to an offsite server in addition to your Cloud storage – whatever your preference may be is fine, just make sure your offsite backups have the best possible chance of survival.
Offsite backup is redundant without proper redundancy
This one should be a no-brainer. You’ll want daily incremental backups onsite, plus full backups stored offsite in at least one other secure location. Cost comes into consideration here, but if you can store archival backups in more than one external location (or even a different geographical area) so much the better. Adequate redundancy ensures that if you lose your data, you have backups and if you lose your backups you have… well, backups. Without sufficient redundancy in your backups, you’re taking a risk.
Even if you’re using Cloud backup, redundancy is possible and still just as important. Speak to your storage provider about storing to multiple data centers across different states – it may cost you a little more but it’s definitely worth the expense. Data centers can catch fire too…
Not all data are created equal
Before going ahead and shipping everything offsite, your company should identify what constitutes its most valuable data. Your offsite backup schedule should address what would have the most detrimental effect to the business if lost and how quickly this data would need to be restored in the event of disaster. Here’s a good strategy for offsite data rotation.
For most organizations your most crucial data is going to come in the form of servers, databases and accounting files. These need to be backed up and moved offsite regularly – ideally at least once a week and certainly before and after any significant use. Core files such as documents and email should probably be backed up daily, but the imperative may not be as great to move these offsite as frequently (it will depend on your specific company).
While offsite backup is crucial, make sure you also have secure copies of your most important data on location too, as in the event off a disaster that takes down your virtual data but not your physical hardware this will allow for significantly faster recovery.
Test, test and test again
The last thing you want is to go to all the trouble of meticulously adhering to a routine of offsite backup, only to find that all your backups are all corrupted in the event of a disaster. You may think that nobody could possibly be this unlucky, but depressingly it does happen. Nobody needs another kick when they’re down.
There’s an easy way to make sure this doesn’t happen to you – always do test restores. You should perform test restores of your onsite backups and periodically test the disaster recovery capability of your offsite archives. Remember, often it’s not backing up that fails: it’s restoring and recovery. Be proactive and make sure you can recover what you need if you need to.
Obviously, the final step to ensuring your offsite backup strategy is everything it should be is choosing the best backup software for the job. You’ll want something that supports multiple destinations for a hybrid approach, whilst also being reliable, simple to use and customizable.
Wait… doesn’t BackupAssist tick all those boxes? Why yes, yes it does.
Do you do have a different strategy we haven’t mentioned?
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