Choosing the Right Method of Data Backup.

The importance of a data backup of your files cannot be repeated enough but how do you choose which method of backup to use? Not only do companies need to meet regulatory compliance but also to help you run your business more efficiently. Backup and recovery are important for these reasons but also if something should happen to your business, you want to be able to continue operations. When choosing which method is right for your company, there are a number of options to look at.

Customizable Data Retention: This term refers to the time period in which your data is stored. As an organization, you will have to decide how long you require your data to be saved for. It is necessary to ensure that you are meeting compliance and other benchmarks when setting this time period. You will also want to make sure you understand the time frame in which your business is required to delete sensitive material.

Encryption: When the information that is stored is converted into an unreadable code that cannot be easily understood by those, not those that are not meant to see it, it is known as encryption. There are different levels of encryption and while no method is foolproof, it is wise to protect your sensitive files. There are pros and cons to consider when deciding on just how encrypted your work should be. You can choose to only encrypt certain files or the entire drive. Full disk encryption is more secure, but can also much more problematic if you don’t put in the work to keep everything backed up safely.

Versioning File System: A system that allows for several versions of the same file at the same time is a Versioning File System. The most common method of this type of system keeps a number of old copies available for comparison. The difference between a backup and versioning file system is that a backup is usually performed on the entire system where a versioning file system is on a file by file basis.

Continuous recovery: Also referred to as continuous backup or real-time backup is the backing up of data automatically by saving a copy of every change made to the data itself. With this method of backup is there is no need to specify a point in time to recover the data from like in a traditional backup. This can increase the overhead of your IT infrastructure but it does not require scheduling backups.

Server Cloning: In this instance, a complete copy is taken of the server on a series of 2 drives, rotated on a weekly basis. A complete copy of the server (setup, users, etc) is taken and stored on the drive. This way, if you need to restore the server on different hardware, it takes usually about 6 hours instead of days. Then, because you are only doing this on a weekly basis, the data changes are then restored out of the backup.

Data Archiving: Data that has not been changed for a period (we recommend that an archive is done yearly) is taken off of the production disk and stored in a separate network-attached storage device. A second copy is taken and removed offsite for disaster recovery. Users can see the data still, however, if they want to make changes, they must “save as” and it is filed back onto the production disk and is once again part of the backup. The results are improved efficiency, lower costs, and the ability to leverage older data for future use.

Deciding the best method or combination of methods for your business can be a daunting task to those unfamiliar with backups and recovery. Don’t be afraid to reach out to a professional to help you make the best decision for your organization. The safety of your data depends on ensuring it is recoverable should something happen.

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