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Tuesday, 12 June 2018 15:34

The Data Apocalypse Survival Guide: The Essential Data Backup Tools for Small to Medium Businesses

By TIFFANY BLOOMER, President, Aventis Systems

There’s screaming in the background. A window breaks. A peak around the cubicle reveals coworkers fleeing in terror while others hide hopelessly under their desks.

No, it’s not the end of the world. … It’s your network. Your systems failed, and critical, sensitive business data is lost permanently. It’s a data apocalypse, and your company is infected.

For any business to survive, it has to have availability. It must be up and running at all times for its customers, as well as its employees. Connections to business information must be reliable and continuous. This means backing up workstations and laptops, but also server and storage data, which is equally important.

With the exception of its employees, a business’s data is its most important asset, and a major loss can be fatal. Some 60% of small businesses that lose their data will shut down completely within just six months, yet the majority of small businesses still don’t backup their data. Why?

The good news is that downtime and lost data, productivity and revenue can be avoided if you are adequately prepared. Here are some top data backup survival tools every small business needs to avoid a data apocalypse:


Data Backup: Easy as Pi

To create a safe zone around your data, back up following this simple rule: Keep your data in three different places, on two different forms of media, with one stored offsite.

A single data center leaves you much more vulnerable than if your data is backed up in multiple places. IT best practices dictate redundancy — which includes the physical space. When the grid goes down and the zombies advance, it won’t help to have all your backup data stored in your office building.

To be safe, keep your original data plus multiple backups current at all times and store one offsite — as far away as possible! For added protection, store it in a weather-proof and fireproof safe at another geographic location.


Survival Tool #1: Backup Hardware

The first thing you need in your survival kit is the right storage device for your business environment and budget. There are four main types of backup hardware:

  • NAS — Network Attached Storage (NAS) is most often used for shared file systems joined by an ethernet network connection. It also works well for advanced applications such as file shares. Any server with attached storage can be used as NAS, allowing multiple servers or workstations to access data from a single network. The most scalable storage solution for SMBs, NAS storage equipment comes in a variety of configurable drive options and interfaces, is very versatile and includes a management interface.
  • SAN — Storage Attached Network (SAN) is a dedicated storage network for those requiring high-end storage capabilities. It provides block-level access to data at high speeds. Making large amounts of data more manageable, block-level storage allows you to control each block, or group, of data as an individual hard drive. SAN solutions are ideal for enterprise organizations because of their ability to transfer large data blocks between servers and storage.
  • DAS — Direct Attached Storage (DAS) is used to expand existing server storage with additional disks. It’s compatible with any server and is favored for its cost-saving benefits. It allows you to extend the size of your current box without an additional operating system. When used with a file server, DAS still allows user and application sharing.
  • Tape — Tape backup might be more “old school,” but it’s making a comeback in some SMB environments — primarily because it is offline. With tape, data is periodically copied from a primary storage device to tape cartridges, so you can recover it in case of a failure or hard disk crash. You can do manual backups or program them to be automatic. Tape is the least expensive way to store your data offsite because it’s light and compact, allowing you to take it with you or ship it to a holding space.
Survival Tool #2: Backup Software

If you have the right backup hardware in place, you need backup software you can trust to recover your data without compromising security.

Veeam Availability Suite is an excellent backup option for virtual machines (VMs) and physical servers. Software is managed through the same space as virtual backups. When disaster strikes, Veeam has your back with:

  • Guaranteed Availability — Get access to fast recovery time and recovery point objectives for all VM systems in less than 15 minutes for all applications and data.
  • Absolute Privacy — With licensing, your backup data is always secure with unique end-to-end encryption.
  • Long-Term Retention — Data is retained for as long as you need it with advanced native-tape support and direct-storage integrations with industry-leading storage providers like EMC, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and NetApp.
  • Built-In Disaster Recovery — With the high-level license, disaster recovery testing is built-in, and Veeam guarantees recovery point objectives of less than 15 minutes for all applications and data, as well as simplified proof of compliance with automated reporting.
Survival Tool #3: Cloud Services

When zombies, floods, hurricanes or other catastrophes wipe out the office, you’ll be glad you backed up your data offsite. Backing up everything in the cloud ensures it is always safe — no matter what happens.

What is cloud disaster recovery?

Simply put, cloud disaster recovery is a way to store and maintain copies of electronic data in a cloud storage environment to keep it safe. This way, if your system goes down, you can easily recover your company’s mission-critical data.

Why trust the cloud?

Some major benefits to managed services in the cloud include:

Business Continuity

While you’re recovering from an on-premise failure, cloud storage options will allow you to access mission-critical data and applications. As a result, your business can continue to function.

Lower Upfront Costs

Upfront costs are low, and ongoing costs are predictable, so you can more accurately budget your IT dollars.

More Time to Prep

By outsourcing data protection duties, your IT team can focus on more strategic issues.

Be Prepared

A system failure or loss of data can have catastrophic consequences on your business. To ensure you’re not left in the dark, learn more about the other tools you need and the steps you should take with this free e-book.

Choose backup hardware, software, a managed service provider and cloud storage to make sure your data is protected — no matter what or where disaster strikes. Also, don’t forget to test the local and remote backups to ensure the data you’re storing is usable.

You may not be able to predict the next tornado or save the world from walkers, but you can make sure your data survives!

About the Author

Tiffany Bloomer is president of Aventis Systems. Aventis Systems provides IT services and equipment to small and medium businesses around the world.