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If You Believe a Tape is a Safe Way to Backup Your Company’s Data… Think Again!


Organizations of all sizes are generating and depending on larger amounts of data that must be readily available and easily accessible. This growth in data results in an ever-increasing data footprint - meaning more data is being generated, copied, and stored for longer periods of time. Consequently, companies have to effectively manage more infrastructure resources, including servers, networks, and storage, to ensure data is protected in a timely manner while at the same time providing adequate performance and capacity and securing data for access when needed.

Do you store your data on a daily basis? Unfortunately, most companies cannot answer yes to this question. Events like disk crashes, server corruption, viruses and natural and human disasters can take your business permanently offline. According to a survey conducted by Continuity Insights magazine, KPMG Risk Advisory Services, and The Hartford’s Guide to Emergency Preparedness, more than 25% of all businesses experience a significant crisis in any given year – of those that do not have a data recovery plan, 43% will not re-open. It’s even scarier to learn that today’s most popular data storage method is to backup vital information on a data tape and let the IT manager take it home for safe keeping.

A new inexpensive method that’s substantially more secure and seeing a rapid increase in demand is remote data backup. The remote system backs up files from the attached hard drive to a remote data center through the Internet. The system minimizes the amount of data transferred to ensure efficiency. After the first backup only the actual changes made to each file are transferred, rather than an entire file where only a few bytes may have changed. The data is then sent through an encrypted secured shell (SSH) connection for safety.

Backups are typically set to start every night at a random time typically between 1:00 and 3:00 am. The speed of an organization’s WAN connection and size of data transmitted will determine the length of time to complete the remote storage process. Subsequent daily incremental backups will take much less time because only the changes will be reflected. In order to prevent long running backups from interfering with normal Internet usage during business hours, quality of service (QoS) can be configured to reduce the priority of backup relative to other data or limit the allocated bandwidth.

By default, the system will email a weekly report to the email address designated for the company’s technical contact. The report summarizes the amount of data backed up each day, time, and total storage space used.

There are a number of products in the market that offer remote data storage; however, very few include additional features such as site-to-site VPN capability for secure communications, firewall protection backed by 24x7 technical support, secure WiFi to enhance wireless Internet connection and network performance tuning that optimizes VoIP and data traffic on a broadband connection.

As we all know, a company’s most important intellectual property is their data. Therefore, as you evaluate your existing or potential business communications partner, make sure you ask about remote data backup as well as other features associated with it. A deer in the headlight response is a good indicator that it’s not included in their bag of tricks.


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