Wondering what kind of backup you need for your small business? Individual needs will vary, but here are some basic guidelines.
Nightly backups are the norm, usually to tape, an external hard drive or network-attached storage device (NAS), or online backups to a remote server.
You need your backup easily accessible for data recovery when there’s a problem; at the same time you want a copy of your data offsite – somewhere other than your office – in case of fire, theft, or other serious disaster.
Comparing backup options…a NAS is fast but cannot be easily taken offsite. External hard drives can be removed from the office but must be handled with care to avoid damage. Tapes are less reliable but easy to transport – just avoid leaving them in the car on a hot summer day. Online backups require a speedy internet connection and ongoing subscription fees but are offsite by definition.
Combining options gets you the best of all worlds. Use a NAS to backup everything nightly. Then protect your most critical data, like company financials, with an online backup service to ensure you’ve got a copy offsite.
Don’t forget to create copies of all your original software CDs and DVDs along with all the license keys. Keep these in a safe location (offsite) so that you can fully restore all your computers even if you have to reinstall every single program. This will eliminate the need to buy replacement software in the event of a serious catastrophe.
If loss of a full day’s work makes you queasy, nightly backups may not be enough for your business. Affordable backup options are now available to small businesses that provide a higher level of protection. These copy your data throughout the day, providing fast recovery in the event of disaster. They combine a NAS, offsite backup, remote monitoring and service, plus new technologies that quickly “virtualize” your server if there’s a problem. You can be back up and running in as little as an hour.