Running any kind of business generates a lot of valuable data. Contracts, client records, financial statements, as well as confidential documents, conclusive research, and invaluable media are just some of the important data stored on your business computers. Losing these can set your business back, or worse, lead to legal consequences.
For these reasons, it’s crucial that your organization employs at least one efficient and effective method of data backup.
What makes a backup efficient and effective?
First and foremost, a backup is efficient and effective if it is automated. Manually backing up essential files and applications on a regular basis can eventually eat up a great deal of business resources. What’s more, manual backups are prone to human error. Automation solves these issues by ensuring that backups are performed consistently and accurately. After all, backups are useful only if these are up to date.
Another element that makes a data backup effective is security. Backups must be secured with baseline protections such as access control and authentication. This is to ensure that critical data is protected against accidental data loss, corruption, and unauthorized access. Additionally, copies of backups must be stored in an off-site location so these won’t be affected by local accidents or natural disasters.
Lastly, a backup solution is only effective if you can recover your data when you need to. That’s why it’s paramount that you audit your backups regularly to ensure they’re working correctly. More importantly, you should set a schedule to review and update your backup plan to guarantee that your data backup and recovery measures are as effective as they need to be.
How do I back up my small business data?
There are several methods for backing up data, ranging from cloud-based solutions to offline backups. To determine which is right for your business, it’s important to understand the advantages and disadvantages of each method.
1. Cloud-based backups
With cloud-based backups, you can create, store, and retrieve data anytime and anywhere, as long as you have an internet connection. These backups are kept on servers that are far away from your workplace, in a data center maintained by a cloud service provider (CSP).
What’s great is that this facility is protected against theft and common hardware failures. Additionally, a reliable data center has a comprehensive plan for mitigating risk and protecting data in the event of a natural disaster.
More and more businesses are using cloud-based services to back up their data because this solution is easy to budget for. You simply pay a fixed monthly fee for storage, security, and maintenance, and the CSP will take care of the rest.
2. Hardware backups
Hardware backups — aka local or offline backups — refer to the traditional way of storing backup files in local storage devices such as CDs, thumb drives, and external hard drives. Because you have physical access to these devices, connecting to your network and backing up is simple and straightforward.
Although this tried-and-tested backup solution has been used for decades, it’s relatively harder to maintain. Investing in a reliable local backup solution starts at a few thousand dollars — and that’s just for a team of 10–15 employees. You would be paying for the cost of the actual hardware and software plus related expenses, which include maintenance, upgrades, and power consumption.
3. Hybrid backups
A hybrid backup is essentially some combination of cloud solutions and hardware backups. This method offers both the accessibility of cloud storage and greater control over your data backups.
What is the best backup solution for a small business?
For small businesses that often lack the resources needed for elaborate on-site backup systems, a cloud-based backup solution is the ideal option. It’s inexpensive and doesn’t require extensive in-house management once the system is in place. The following are some of the most popular cloud backup solutions today.
Carbonite is one of the most commonly used backup services by individuals and businesses alike. What makes it so popular is its user-friendly interface and affordable plans. It offers unlimited storage for single devices, and a decent 250 GB storage allocation for multiple computers. Users can also choose to back up their data automatically or manually, and there are even options to perform backups in full as well as in increments.
Another reason that makes Carbonite so popular is its security. The online backup solution encrypts all of your files and gives you the option to manage your own encryption key for extra privacy and protection. On top of that, Carbonite has a simple dashboard that allows you to view and manage all your backups from a single place.
As with Carbonite, Backblaze offers unlimited storage space, affordable plans, and an easy-to-use interface. The service also provides complete encryption of data backups and generates a private key for exclusive access. But unlike Carbonite, Backblaze has only semi-private encryption. That is, you will have to send your passphrase to Backblaze for them to be able restore your encrypted files. This data restoration approach is more convenient, but it does create a potential security risk.
Acronis is a powerful, feature-packed cloud backup solution. What sets it apart from most of its competitors is it supports Linux and even Android and iOS. So right off the bat, Acronis comes across as a complete backup solution for both personal and business users.
Beyond incremental and continuous backup features, Acronis offers granular recovery. This feature allows you to search for and restore specific documents, emails, and the like without having to recover full databases or systems.
Moreover, the solution provides end-to-end encryption for extra security, which includes ransomware monitoring and blockchain checks not found anywhere else. Acronis assures enhanced data security, but its hefty price tag and commitment to a three-year agreement can put some businesses off.
With its unique partner program and 24/7/365 support, Datto is the backup solution of choice for many MSPs. It offers a host of backup, recovery, and business continuity tools that are designed specifically for MSPs, which they, in turn, offer to their clients. This approach allows Datto’s customers to protect clients from downtime and data loss, and at the same time focus more on delivering great and dependable technology.
Datto’s data protection and continuity solutions include file and folder backups, image-based backups, and cloud-to-cloud backups, among others. What’s great about their product line is it features centralized, cloud-based management. This allows MSPs to consolidate most of their work on Datto's platform, enabling them to operate more efficiently.
Before choosing a cloud backup solution for your business, you should carefully consider the pros and cons of a particular service and whether it meets your distinct needs. Nowadays, having a comprehensive backup plan in place is the best way to ensure that your data is always safe from increasingly sophisticated cyberthreats and unpredictable natural disasters.
If your small business in Orlando is serious about protecting your data, get in touch with us today. Our IT professionals will help you find the best backup solution that can effectively eliminate the risk of data loss and downtime.