It’s a brand-new year, and everyone is making resolutions to improve themselves in 2020. They will exercise more, eat better, or read instead of watching mindless videos on YouTube. With this in mind, our experts have proposed a resolution to improve your computer systems: routinely archive and back up your data.
Data is as valuable as gold these days, so much so that World Backup Day was created in 2011. It takes place on March 31st, and it was conceived as a way for companies to promote their backup and cloud merchandise, but it has since become a day about awareness and prevention.
Maintaining an archive and consistently making backups of your data is a vital strategy for your business’ success and prosperity. Because they are both methods of data preservation, many people confuse the two terms. That’s why we decided to start the year off by explaining the differences between the two.
Why You Should Keep an Archive
An archive consists of original data that has been displaced from its initial location to an offline or offsite location. It primarily holds inactive data stored as long-term historical records. The data, therefore, is time-stamped and unalterable; it is merely used as a reference, for instance, during an audit. Archives permit users to search, filter, and organize the files.
Archiving is the last stage of the information lifecycle. Companies use an archive to save on space and free up resources. When they decide which old information is worth keeping, they remove it from their active databases, so those areas can be used for new information. Because an archive stores original data, it isn’t useful as a backup when you need to restore data. If you’ve lost the latest version of a file, the archive cannot help you.
Many organizations—such as those within the financial and healthcare industries—are required by compliance regulations to have an archive for the preservation and management of original data. For example, email archiving prevents tampering by users, whether it’s the written content in the body of the email or the content of the attached files. You can also create an archive that encrypts data to reduce compliance risk.
Even if your public or private organization isn’t heavily regulated, keeping an archive is an excellent way to protect your company when legal matters arise, such as audits and tax season, and it can clear up confusion or arguments in customer affairs.
An experienced IT partner can assist you in creating archival policies and preventing any extreme behaviour, such as keeping everything.
Having a Backup
A backup is a copy of active data that is used in the event of data loss. A backup can be done externally, such as on a hard drive, and disconnected from the main system to ensure its protection.
Backups are used when catastrophes occur, from natural disasters to rogue employees to crashed hard drives. Most of all, backups are incredibly handy should your company become a target for ransomware. Make no mistake, being affected by ransomware is now more common that we would like to think.
Here are some effective ways to protect your data:
- Create several backups within a day. You never know if and when your company will be hit by malware or experience a power outage.
- Use block-level backups. Companies need to limit their downtime. A block-level backup saves time and space because it’s designed to recognize and copy only the modified data, not the entire file. The process will also take less of a toll on your machine.
- Practice 3-2-1. The 3-2-1 rule is simple to follow: make three copies of your data, two of which should be saved on different storage devices, such as the cloud and an internal hard drive, and the third copy will be saved on an offline and offsite location. This rule is considered a best practice because it covers all of your bases, from data corruption to natural disasters to theft.
- Create a retention schedule. It’s great having multiple backups, but for how long should they be kept? Based on your organization’s processes and resources, design a schedule that best fits your needs. Your industry may already have retention standards and requirements that you need to follow.
The Benefits of Using Both Methods
Developing archive and backup systems provides an array of benefits for small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs):
- Operational Efficiency: Employees can spend less time organizing emails and focus on their job. Employees may accidentally delete pertinent emails, but if an archive is there to duplicate and save the metadata, the employee won’t need to stress. Employees also won’t need to worry about backing everything up because the archive has saved the inactive data, thus freeing up more space on the backup devices for pertinent information.
- Hardware Longevity: With an archive set up, your computer system, email server, and hard drives won’t have to work as hard by backing everything up. Employees will also be able to work more since the backup process and downtime will be shorter.
- Fewer Costs: Archiving will help your company save on backup costs since less space will be needed for the data storage.
Want to save even more time? Consider outsourcing your backup responsibilities to an experienced IT provider. Not only will your data be more secure, you’ll receive log reports, have an efficiently designed recovery plan, and file verification through backup tests. MicroAge doesn’t leave anything to chance.
Additional Services to Protect Your Data
MicroAge’s vast services answer every need of SMBs and are easily customizable. Our agents work 24/7/365 to monitor your system for security alerts, infrastructure weaknesses, renewals, and much more!
Need staff members who know and understand IT? MicroAge is diversified in service offerings. We screen candidates to ensure you get valuable team members who deliver quality results while saving you both time and money. Stop working harder and start working smarter by contacting us for a free consultation!