By PowerBuy // 26 November 2013 // Related Categories: Tips

With the silly season approaching your staff will be taking their laptops home with them for the holidays and your office will be unattended for a period of time. If you want a real break over Christmas without having constant flashes of what you will find when you return to work, now is a good time to make sure you have a back-up strategy that works!

So which strategy is right for your business - disk, tape and or Cloud back-up technology?

1. Disk back-up

Disk media is the most popular back-up technology these days, particularly for small and medium-sized businesses.

Pros:

  • Cheap – Disk is more cost effective than tape for relatively small & un-complex set-ups.
  • Fast – Disk is much faster than tape for writing and reading data.
  • Searchable – Data can be indexed when stored which means it is so much easier to search for lost pieces of data on a disk compared with tape.
  • Features – Disk drives can easily accommodate technologies such as de-duplication which removes all redundant pieces of data to save you space.

2. Tape back-up

Tape back-up is ideal for storing large volumes of data for years, even decades.  Many consider tape a better tool for archiving but it still might have its place as a back-up solution for your business.

Pros:

  • Low cost – Per gigabyte tape can be cheaper than disk and if your storage requirements are vast and your performance requirements are low then it can save you a lot of money.
  • Longevity – Tape media can last up to 30 years when kept in the right conditions – much longer than disk.

Cons:

  • Reduced performance – In particular reading data from tape takes longer than disk and is not ideal if you are under time pressures to recover a failed system.
  • Data corruption – There is a higher risk of data corruption or problems reading data from tape due to the nature of the media.
  • Ageing technology – Tape has been around since the early days of IT and some doubt it will be around for much longer.

3. Cloud back-up

Cloud is a popular way of storing data in a secure, offsite location and depending on your Cloud solution the back-ups can occur on either disk, tape or other new technologies such as SSD.

Pros:

  • Value for money – Cloud can be great value for money and it is common for small businesses to get access to gigabytes of Cloud storage for free.
  • Offsite redundancy – By nature Cloud back-up is offsite and you can usually benefit from enterprise-grade security features and secure datacentres.
  • Elastic – You don’t have to overinvest early because you only pay for storage as your requirements grow.
  • No management – Disks are usually replaced as they wear or fail so your data must be copied regularly onto new media. Cloud services handle this process as part of service delivery so you don’t have to worry about it.

Cons:

  • Perceived concerns - Many wonder whether off-site data back-up will open their data streams to breaches from a third party or some unintended mingling of data with other customers. These concerns are unfounded if you use a reputable service.
  • Bandwidth costs – Your Telco bill can skyrocket if you are on the wrong plan because you will be pumping gigabytes or terabytes of data through your Internet connection. Full back-ups are expensive and many companies actually send their first batch of data to the datacentre on disk.
  • Time lag – Depending on the speed of your connection it can take a long time to perform your first back-up or recover your entire system data in the event of a data disaster.

So what’s the right strategy for you?

Every back-up model will have its benefits and drawbacks. As you make decisions regarding your company’s back-up methods, take a close look at:

  • The amount of data that is regularly stored and accessed across in your business
  • Your current bandwidth capabilities
  • The number of locations from which you’ll need to back up and transport any back-up tools
  • Your current back-up- related costs and overall IT budget
  • Your current hardware set-up and any necessary upgrades
  • Your long-term IT strategy and the potential longevity of various back-up methods

If you need help with your back-up strategy then please get in touch.

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