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Small Business Bonfire: Why Data Backup Is Needed Now More Than Ever

Originally published by Small Business Bonfire.
By Mike Cobb, Director of Engineering

A recent survey of 400 employees, sponsored by CloudBerry Lab, Inc., reveals that more than one-third of small enterprises may have no data backup at all.
While 36 percent of the 400 respondents said they kept complete backups of their key business information, exactly the same percentage of respondents have no backups whatsoever. About 27 percent also said they had lost business data “several” or “many” times.
“In spite of a few bright spots, we have to give enterprises an overall grade of C in the area of backup. In our view, the increasing threat landscape will cause that grade to drop, unless organizations begin reconsidering their strategies,” said Alexander Negrash, Director of Marketing for CloudBerry. “There are newer, more modern options available, making the best backup processes available to even the most resource-constrained companies.”

Extra Copies, Extra Confidence

Having an extra copy of anything important just makes good sense. Here are some suggestions on how taking action now to protect your important data will pay off in the future.
First, there are three different forms of backup:

  1. A full backup includes a copy of everything on the computer.
  2. Differential backups only make copies of the files that have changed since your last full backup.
  3. Incremental backups only make copies of the files that have changed since your last backup (whether it was a full or an incremental backup).

A good backup creates duplicates of your information that can be put on any device, so long as it has sufficient space to handle the load of data. Since a backup system contains at least one copy of information worth saving, the data storage requirements can be different from case to case. Organizing the type and amount of storage space available and managing the backup process can be complex, depending on the size and scope of the project.
There are many types of data storage devices and multiple approaches to handling geographic redundancy, the security of the data and accessibility of the information. Issues like compression, encryption and deduplication (a way to remove recurring, duplicate information to save storage space), will need to be addressed over time, depending on the size and scope of the information involved.

Two Copies Good, Three Copies Better

Businesses should make two full copies, maintained on separate physical devices, of all important data. A third copy should be kept offline at a different geographic location. Having two complete copies nearby insures the business can continue operating, even if one set of data is lost or unrecoverable. The offline copy is a fail-safe measure that can be used if either or both onsite copies are lost or damaged. With small amounts of data, single hard drives may be perfectly adequate to store important information.
With larger sets of data, bigger systems involving numerous drives, including RAID systems, can be used. Here’s a closer look:

  • Direct attached storage: These DAS storage devices are hooked directly to a PC or server, typically using a USB connector.
  • Network attached storage: A NAS appliance connects directly to a network. It is often set up as a RAID with multiple drives working together to back up and store large amounts of files.
  • Public online or “cloud” storage: Online storage is designed to help consumers and businesses store or back up data to an off-site location. There is no real cloud. The data is placed on specially configured groups of drives that are set up at a remote site by the hosting company. Data is accessible only via the Internet.
  • Private cloud: Companies who prefer not to have their data on shared systems can choose from a range of private cloud storage options and companies through which their important data can be stored on dedicated servers that are not shared with others. Like the public cloud, this data is only accessible via the internet.


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