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Got Backup? Finding the Best Backup Option for Your Small Business Data

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Got Backup? Finding the Best Backup Option for Your Small Business Data

By Caron_Beesley, Contributor
Published: February 16, 2012 Updated: March 5, 2012

How are you backing up your small business data? If you are like most small businesses, you could be compromising your business and its data on a daily basis. 

A 2011 survey by Carbonite, a provider of online backup solutions, found some facts about data loss that may surprise you: 

  • Forty-eight percent of American small businesses with between two and twenty employees have experienced data loss, up from 42 percent in 2010.
  • Top causes of data loss include hardware/software failure (54 percent), accidental deletion (54 percent), viruses (33 percent) and theft (10 percent).
  • Thirty-one percent of business owners surveyed think backing up company data is a hassle.

Scary, huh?

If you’ve ever lost a laptop, or been left stranded by malware or some other problem, then you already know the detrimental effect it can have on your business. For many, it can mean disaster.

So what are your options for backing up business data so you can access and restore files on the fly in the event of a data loss incident?

Finding the Best Backup Approach

The backup market is huge, so before you start looking into your options, develop a backup approach that meets your needs. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you need to back up your entire operating system or just essential data (employee records, financial records, documents and databases)? The answer will help determine how much data you need to back up. For example, an operating system can take up a lot of space, but if you have a copy of it, on an installation disk, for example, you may not need to back it up. 
  • What are your vulnerabilities or primary concerns? According to the Carbonite survey, most businesses still use external hard drives and USB sticks to store data. Backing up data to one location only can be risky, so assess whether your business needs an extra layer of protection.  Consider backing up your most critical data to both an online backup service and a local device which could also house your less critical assets.
  • How often do you need to perform a backup? What window of vulnerability can you tolerate? For businesses, a daily or weekly backup is a good idea – especially if you are fairly active in creating or updating files and documents.

Backup Options – Mix it Up!

There are endless options for backing up data, but it’s a good idea to build in some redundancy and shoot for at least two methods that will divide and conquer your data backup needs. Here are some options:

1.  External Hard Drives or Disks

Disks have long been used as a go-to backup device, but they are also notorious for failing to capture all your data. Plus, it’s a manual process.  A better option would be to back up to an external storage device. For $60 or thereabouts, you can buy a desktop device that stores almost 1 Terabyte of storage.  These devices also offer the convenience of scheduling automatic backups for those of us who’d otherwise forget.

2.  Backing Up to the Web

Cloud storage and other online solutions offer the reassurance of a remote backup strategy that complements your local backup strategy. This is a burgeoning market and backup options and pricing vary. Depending on your storage and user needs, you can expect to pay anything from $120 to $700 per year. You can keep your pricing low by using web-based storage services to back up what you don’t feel comfortable storing locally.

Providers include Carbonite, Amazon S3, DropBox and Mozy.  In addition to basic backup services, many offer various bells and whistles, including the option to access data from mobile devices, backup multiple PCs from one account, and share large files with teams. If you’re worried about not being able to access your data because of a dropped internet connection, DropBox lets you access your files offline.

Another increasingly popular option is to build your own personal cloud with the help of a wireless network and sturdy storage devices currently available in the market.

3.  Server Backup

If you use a server in your business to run email, databases or business applications, backing it up is a must. You can do this using backup software that saves data to disks or tape. Another option often favored by small businesses that don’t have ready access to IT support services is a cloud-based solution. Data is simply uploaded via the web and the cloud provider takes care of IT maintenance. The downside is that data transfer can be slow even with a broadband connection.

Be Proactive About Your Backup Strategy

At the end of the day, business data is one of your most valuable assets. So whichever backup option you use, be sure to continuously review what data needs to be protected. Set up automatic backups and monitor them to ensure they aren’t failing. Lastly, keep an eye on your backup space consumption and have a plan in place to upgrade when the time comes.

Related Resources

About the Author:

Caron Beesley

Contributor

Caron Beesley is a small business owner, a writer, and marketing communications consultant. Caron works with the SBA.gov team to promote essential government resources that help entrepreneurs and small business owners start-up, grow and succeed. Follow Caron on Twitter: @caronbeesley

Comments:

yes thankyous so much share information
I used to backup data from External Hard Drives or Disks
impressed by both the quantity and quality of the information contained within it.
yes thankyous so much share information
backup to cloud, or store device
i usually use Google Hangout, Dropbox to backup my business data I think it very easy and cheap for everyone to use this service
Awesome. Back up data is very necessary in the modern life
Your article very interesting/ Thanks you so much.
The Data is very important. I'm a IT Head, I always careful with Ens User's Data, it can seriously affected to work. Thanks for share.
yes thankyous so much share information

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