Many of us are familiar with backing up our data. While it sounds pretty simple, the fact is that most of the computer users do not backup their data. Some of the excuses which they often make involve how long it takes, how slow it is, or how many DVDs or disks they need. However, once disaster strikes, the loss that they will suffer by not having their data backed-up can be very severe.
If you are running a company or enterprise, and handle data which is highly sensitive and important, you cannot afford to have disaster happen to you.
Most of us are pretty familiar with the standard backup strategies, like burning data to a disk, or placing them on zip drives or thumb drives. However, all these storage devices have their own limitations. Disks can get scratched, removable storage devices can be lost and stolen, and hard drives can become corrupt. The good news is that there are other options available. There are backup options that do not take up any space on your hard drive, the set up is basic, and it is readily available to you. This solution is called Online Backup.
What is an Online Back-Up?
The concept of backing up data online has been around for quite some time, but until very recently, few average users could effectively make use of it. Since most people today now have broadband internet connections, it has become more easier to store information on the web. While transferring data from your hard-drive to the internet would have been very difficult in the past, it has now become much easier. Not only can individual users store their information on the web, but larger enterprises can store their data as well. There are a number of benefits you can gain from using online storage.
The most obvious benefit is that the information does not remain stored on your computer. It also is not necessary for you to make a physical backup at home. When it comes to storage and backup strategies, one thing that you must keep in mind is that fire, theft, and water damage are all threats to your information. While it is possible to get insurance that may protect the hardware, the insurance will not be able to cover the data that is on it. The good thing about online backup strategies is that if your hardware crashes or is stolen, you can simply access your data by getting back online with a new machine.
If your data is stored online, and not on your computer, or if your computer is stolen, the criminal will not be able to gain access to everything you have. There are a number of online backup options that you have available. Most of these services make use of data centers which are industrial strength, and they make use of storage which is fault tolerant, as well as redundant. However, there are some negatives to using the Internet as a form of storage. First, most companies will not guarantee the security of your data. A determined hacker can hack it, and for this reason, you will want to avoid storing personal information on the web.
Online Back-Up Strategies
Another downside to storing your information on the Internet is that you will be required to have access to the internet in order to get it. If your internet connection goes down, or you are in an area where internet access is not available, you will be at a major disadvantage. This is something you will want to keep in mind when you store data online. Depending on the sensitivity of the information, it might be best for you to store it in a physical location where you do not need the internet in order to access it.
Overall, the best backup strategy is to use a combination of backup storage methods. If you are running a large enterprise, you will need to use backup strategies that are highly technical. You may need physical security, as well as remote sites where the data can be secured. If you are an individual, more than likely, you must make use of the basic storage methods.
Implementing Disaster Avoidance
Because one organization can differ widely from another, there is no single approach for disaster avoidance that can be applied to every situation. Every organization must come up with plans and implementation strategies that can be used effectively, and these should compliment the business model of the organization. However, no matter what the approach, disaster recovery should not be thought of as merely an exercise. When in practice, the disaster recovery plan will often require changes in the storage structure of the organization, and it will also bring about overhead that the organization will need to address.
It is also important for the disaster recovery plans to be both updated and tested every so often to make sure that the plans are relevant as the organization become larger, or as the IT structure changes. The management of disaster recovery is very similar to change management, and it is important for it to be a part of the operations of the enterprise, because companies must be prepared for potential disasters. There are a number of issues that you will want to consider when it comes to the implementation of disaster avoidance strategies.
The first of these is the implementation. Most disaster recovery strategies will involve modifications to either the storage mechanisms which are already exist, or the infrastructure of a network. In the end, the storage administrator will be responsible for scheduling and budgeting training, software, hardware, and implementation that will be necessary for disaster recovery. The additions of hardware may be fairly simple, but as time goes on, more advanced measures will need to be taken. Many organizations today are adopting storage systems which are dedicated. Another good idea is to send back-ups for recovery to a location which is remote.
Implementation and Storage
There are a number of services which can transport specific tapes to an offsite fault which is secure, but at the same time, a number of organizations are making use of back-ups which are disk based, and they are performing remote replication among their storage systems, which may be in more than one location.
As an example, a bank may make use of a Wide Area Network link to duplicate the data from on area to a secondary location that is no where near the central storage center. When it comes to disaster recovery, you will often find that the strategies you use will largely be dependent on software.
At the bare minimum, one software application will be used in disaster recovery, but more than likely, multiple software applications will be used. Many of these applications will be responsible for backups, as well as mirroring, replication, or snapshots.
There are software applications which are designed to generate multiple copies of local data, and these are called BCVs, or Business Continuance Volumes. The storage technology will often be utilized along with the software that is designed to duplicate volumes to a specific location. These are just a few of the ways that software can be used for disaster recovery.
The software can come in multiple forms, and while it may be packaged together via the storage system, it may also be acquired separately. Regardless, the IT staff must be responsible for investing the necessary time that it will take to become highly proficient with every tool.
The truly smart managers must ensure that the IT personnel have time to become skilled with each tool. After the infrastructure for the disaster recovery is set in place, it can take an extensive amount of time to process the primary backup or replication. It will take time to make complete backups or structure the data.
Security Issues to Consider
Many organizations and institutions are dependent on back-ups for protection during a disaster, but one thing that every organization must consider is whether or not the actual back-ups are vulnerable to disaster. Whenever specific data lies outside the control of the IT department, the issue of data security must be considered.
When a remote location is picked, the first thing that should occur is an evaluation of this location based on its security. The remote data should always be locked, and only a small amount of personnel should have access to it. Fire suppression systems should be available to protect the equipment.
In addition to this, the location that is picked should not be vulnerable to earthquakes, flooding, tornadoes, or other natural disasters that could threaten the security of the back-ups. Even disasters which are man made, such as terrorism for instance, should be considered when a location is picked for the storage of back-ups. The location should be inspected in advance, before the actual process of storing the back-ups begins. If a company is responsible for managing the back-ups, you will want to spend an extensive amount of time evaluating this company.