Today’s businesses rely heavily on data to run their day-to-day operations. They use it for everything from building client relationships to developing marketing strategies and so much more. But without data backups, businesses stand to suffer from major losses and even end up closing up for good should any natural or human-made disaster occur. With that in mind, you should develop a robust backup plan for your business, which includes implementing any or all of the following solutions.
When it comes to data backups, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. As such, you’ll want to consider the pros and cons of each before making a choice.
USB flash drives
USB flash drives are basically miniature hard drives that you connect to your computer using a USB port. Aside from being inexpensive, USB flash drives are also portable. They can be used to back up data from several computers.
However, because of their size and portability, USB flash drives are easy to misplace, which is why they’re not recommended for long-term storage of crucial information. They are best used for intermediate backups. Furthermore, a USB flash drives data retention is typically measured in a few years making them not a good choice for longer term backup needs.
External hard drives
As a backup storage medium, external hard drives have the lowest cost per gigabyte compared to other backup devices. Since an external hard drive has the same plug-and-play functionality as USB flash drives, you can just plug it into your computer and start selecting the files you want to back up. The transfer rate is also very fast, and you can back up a large amount of data within seconds.
External hard drives are one of the best options for backups. Just be sure to use at least two drives and rotate them regularly to ensure you have your data in multiple places in case of drive failures. External backup drives are a pretty decent choice for longer term backups as their data retention rates are many times longer than that of USB flash drives.
Network attached storage (NAS)
NAS is a dedicated server for storing data, It has its own IP address and can operate either wired or wirelessly. NAS servers offers data redundancy, which means it will generate a backup of your backups, so you can ensure your files are fully protected.
On the downside, NAS can’t be scaled beyond the limits of the system. This means you have to purchase additional hard drives when you need more capacity. You also have to take full responsibility for data security if you’re implementing NAS.
While an NAS server backup solution fits some needs, it can be limited in that you can not easily take the NAS server device off site leaving it vulnerable to certain data loss scenarios. Due to how a NAS works (and depending on it's configuration) a NAS server can fill certain niche backup needs and is good at storing a lot of data over longer periods of time with a relatively low risk of data loss.
Cloud storage is becoming more and more popular among businesses of all sizes because of its many benefits. It gives users anytime, anywhere access to data and lets them work with the most current hardware and up-to-date software. It’s also affordable since businesses pay for what they use only. Additionally, cloud computing is convenient, because service providers take care of the installation, management, and maintenance processes.
However, some cloud service providers don’t employ sufficient security measures on their systems, so your data could be exposed to potential cybersecurity threats. For this reason, cloud storage is not always the ideal solution for medical practices, law firms, and other organizations that handle sensitive data. If they want to use cloud storage, they must find a service provider that implements top-of-the-line cybersecurity protocols and specializes in data regulations compliance.
Online backups typically are only best suited for smaller data file sets due to how long it can take to "seed" and retrieve data from these services. Further not all online backup solutions work the same. Online backup services such as Backblaze, Carbonite, and many others are good at getting the data "off site" and are good at protecting user generated files. That said online backup services are not good at full system recovery scenarios where you need to fully and quickly recover an entire system. Nothing still bests a good local full system imaging solution for that type of recovery operation.
The 3-2-1 Backup strategy is best
The best option for backup up data is to deploy the 3-2-1 method of using a combination of backup solutions and technologies. All data should be in "3" physical places, on at least "2" different types of storage media, and "1" of the places should be an online backup service off site in a geo-diverse location from your primary point of business operations. This best practices backup strategy involves local backups across multiple media devices and online backup services all working together for a comprehensive combined solution to address all the common recovery scenarios one may face.
Choosing the best backup solution has far-reaching impacts on your business. Each method or device has trade-offs, which is why you need to select the one best suited to your business’s needs. Enlist the help of our experts to ensure you make the right choice.