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Offsite Data Protection

Background:

If you own a business, no doubt you have embraced computer technology as part of your daily routine. Computers contribute in areas such as: computerized quotes, office documents, billing software, Customer retention software, online meetings, and calendaring events—to name just a few. These advancements have lead companies to shift away from paper storage to electronic data storage as their primary solution. Electronic storage is inexpensive, easily accessible and seemingly limitless. But where is all of that data stored and how secure is that storage? Offsite data protection has been created to fill the need of securing vital electronic information.

How does it work?

To start, let's talk about how data is typically stored at a company's location. Most likely, your company has a computer that serves as a central repository for vital information. This device is the central hub for sharing information within your organization and is called a SERVER. Each morning users (employees) log onto this server, and as they work, data is shared and stored on this central computer. Some Servers come with built in redundancy called RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks). A Raid configuration is nothing more than several separate internal hard drives that act in unison to reduce the risk of data loss if one hard drive should fail. Such redundancy will help a business recover data should there be a hard drive failure. It is important to note that this failsafe does not count as a backup solution—since an electrical spike, virus, or numerous other disasters could render both drives unusable.

As a first line of defense most companies have adopted an external hard drive or tape as a backup of the server's information. This external device is then carried offsite each day as part of the business's disaster recovery plan. This works well as long as the employee manually carries the backup offsite each and every business day. Unfortunately the facts state otherwise.

The Facts:*

The truth is that 55% of small businesses rate themselves as having a "fair" or "poor" disaster recovery plan for their electronic data, 30% admit they have no formal daily routine for their backup procedures, and 13% admit that even when they perform a backup, they never remove the backed up device off the companies site. Such inconsistencies can represent untold hours of data recovery time should a disaster occur—or worse yet, totally unrecoverable data.

Enter Off-site Back up:

Offsite backup is a cost effective way to help ensure correct daily backups of a company's critical data. Instead of making a copy on site, a business hires an outside vendor to act as their offsite storage location. Critical data is sent daily via a secure internet connection to a remote storage facility. As an added precaution, these venders typically use several separate locations to store your company's data. Best of all, the cost for such a solution is pro-rated according to the amount of information you send—most small businesses can expect to pay under $100 per month for up to 20GB of offsite storage. Plus, the offsite partner can help with replacing the data to the server should disaster strike. Using this solution also frees company employees from the burden of maintaining and transporting external devices offsite.

5 BASIC STORAGE TIPS:

1) Never store critical data locally on a desktop or laptop computer without having a backup solution

2) Make sure to have redundancy built into the main storage center (i.e. RAID configuration)

3) Review (or develop) a Disaster Recovery Plan at least once per year.

4) Have at least 2 backups of the company's critical data (no, RAID doesn't count).

5) Consider replacing dated onsite backups with an offsite backup solution—better yet, have both and keep the external backup onsite.

*Imation data storage user survey 2004

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