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With the business environment becoming increasingly data driven, for reasons of both efficiency and eco-friendliness, electronic data storage requirements have never been higher.
Neither has the need to ensure that companies’ booming data storage does not interrupt employees’ speed of connection to their network, the internet or other facilities they need to go about their daily work.
Depending on the size of the company concerned, there are various backup options available – all equally as important in the dawn of the paperless era.
Firstly backup onto high capacity storage tapes – a DLT system or similar – is often seen as a good option for perhaps small to medium businesses, or organisations with budget limitations that might not necessarily have the funds to explore other solutions. With data backed up incrementally, i.e. daily, weekly and monthly (known as a grandfather, father, son arrangement), this is a good set-up in terms of locating the appropriate tape when required; however it does have its drawbacks.
For reasons of security, backup tapes generally should be kept off-site, but this brings issues of sufficient accessibility and potential loss during transfer. Less commonly a problem, but backup tape systems do also have requirements in respect to conditions of storage, for example temperature and humidity, with there being a small risk that these tapes, in the same way as CDs and DVDs, could become damaged. Moreover, tape drives will need to be serviced and maintained to ensure their efficient functioning.
A next step would be for a company to invest in an additional server for the sole purpose of backing up its data, or to utilise web-based CRM software. Whilst a good option in respect to not encroaching on the capacity of an existing server, there may be concerns over the time taken to transfer data from one server to another. Whenever this takes place there will no doubt be a slowdown in the networked server used by employees, however IT teams will not be too keen to work after hours so as to avoid any interruption. The backup of servers can of course be scheduled to run automatically overnight, however any potential problems will not be identified until the morning when downtime will therefore be unavoidable.
Given the sheer volume of data businesses need to store these days, in addition to avoiding any concerns linked to the above options, remote, online data protection is increasingly seen as the preferred choice for companies.
Not only is data backed up remotely with minimal interruption, providers of such services also offer encryption which can be engineered to occur upon transfer, offering optimal security. With the requirement for data security at a peak, particularly in light of a number of cases of important data loss highlighted by the media over the past years, this is an attractive solution.
Albeit a relatively new phenomenon, remote online backup has come on considerably over the last five to ten years, with price competitiveness moving in line with this, to the point where leading industry players such as Microsoft have now begun to offer such services for free as part of other packages.