Stephen Lawton (North America) - Risk Analysis = Constant Vigilance

How much risk are you willing to take with your data? Could your company survive if your systems crashed and your data wasn't available for a day, a week or a month? Chances are you'd be in the same boat as so many other companies that go out of business when their data is lost.

So what do you do to protect yourself? The answer might seem a bit obvious, but it isn't. Sure, you need to back up your data. That's pretty obvious. What isn't obvious is where and how you do it.

If your business does a lot of transactions or makes modifications to files frequently, then you need a backup product that works as hard as you do. You need to keep constant vigilance over your data. In this case, you should consider a software program that will make constant backups of your data when it changes.

If your company makes relatively few changes on an hourly basis - changes that can be easily recreated if they are lost temporarily - then you might consider a product that backs up your system on a daily basis. If you are in business, then it is probably too risky to just do weekly backups; too much data could be lost.

Now consider where you want to put your backups. Backing up locally means you can access your backups very quickly. This is a great way to do full system restores or to grab a file or folder that was accidently deleted without delay.

However, local backups have their issues as well. If your company is hit by a natural disaster, such as a flood, earthquake, fire or storm and the local office is without power or destroyed, then you will want to have an offsite backup as well. Backing up to a cloud-based service, in conjunction with local backup, gives you the best of both worlds. Cloud backup gives you the ability to restore your system anywhere, anytime. It will be a slower process than a network-attached backup server, but if that backup server is also destroyed or unable to power up, it's your best alternative.

Experts recommend that you opt for a backup solution that provides you with the greatest flexibility - local and remote, file-based for quick backups with the ability to do a bare-metal restore, and a simple interface that will make the entire process easy when you in the midst of a stressful event.

Stephen Lawton is the founder and president of AFAB Media Services, an IT marketing consulting firm. He is based in the Seattle area. You can reach him at:


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