Companies that lose their data often fail to remain viable.
The value a company places on its data, dictates the level of data protection methods the company should adopt. With advances in broadband and software technology, cloud backup is finally emerging as the answer to addressing backup problems.
Traditional data backup and storage options for larger organisations have been confined to tape libraries and disk systems. For small and medium businesses the use of tape drives, CDs, DVDs and external hard drives are more common. While these options provide the initial benefit of a data backup which is separate from the server(s), their shortcomings in reliability, security, cost-effectiveness, and convenience have been increasingly exposed.
Measuring the value of data
The value of computer data is higher than ever before. It is difficult to assign an exact value to a company’s data and in many respects this exercise is futile. However, is it worth asking the relevant questions that will help calculate an estimate of data value on a company by company basis? Consider the case of company ’X’ that, due to an unexpected event, lost all server data and found it to be irrecoverable.
‘X’ can expect to lose all its information regarding employees, their annual leave entitlements, pension funds and long service leave. The company will lose all its financial and accounting information, not knowing which companies owe it money, or how much they owe. ‘X’ will lose its company-specific intellectual property; the very thing that sets it apart from its competition, and in fact any other company.
Problems with tape drives
The linear recording format of a tape drive requires more time to write and restore backup data, in comparison to the random-access capability of disk. Tape restore times are further hindered by having to locate and mount the media, to find the information required. Without manual intervention, backup tapes remain in the tape drive, leaving the data vulnerable to physical damage. While disk-to-disk backup (external drives, appliances) attempts to solve this problem, it is only adequate for short periods of time. Ultimately, data must be moved offsite. However, when tapes are taken offsite for security reasons, this creates a significant delay in those tapes being returned to the business for recovery purposes.
The cloud backup proposition
Cloud backup clearly offers a myriad benefits to businesses looking for superior data protection strategies. Arguably, cloud backup’s most important benefit for organisations that choose to prepare for a disaster, is its assurance that data will be stored offsite. Whether planning for disaster recovery or backing up data in order to restore an accidentally/maliciously deleted file, cloud data backup offers an easy, cost-effective and secure way to save critical business information. Businesses not effectively backing up crucial data leave themselves open to the risks of data loss or disaster.
Cloud backup, as a managed service, responds to these challenges by leveraging existing server and network infrastructures to securely and efficiently protect against data loss. Its ability to immediately move backed-up copies of data offsite in a secure manner, away from any potential on-site disaster, is a key differentiator. Greater security and reliability, and easier, more centralised administration suggest that cloud backup is the right choice for companies that are serious about protecting their business-critical data.
From a security perspective, cloud backup uses industry-standard encryption algorithms, meaning data transport over private or public networks is no longer a concern. In fact, security is even further enhanced when compared to manually managing removable tape media and engaging untrained staff in remote locations.
Cloud data backup centralises resources, improving the security and reliability of backup tasks. In larger organisations, IT staff are usually centralised at their data centres, while tape backup devices and the often unqualified personnel who are tasked with managing them, are located in remote offices. Cloud backup enables the remote installation and management of agents that initiate the backup process and then push any backed-up data to a central resource.