Most small and large businesses know that off-site backup is a good idea, but deciding how much space they need can be trickier. In making decisions about your company’s remote data storage, you first need to understand data center security, storage capacity, and the frequency at which your data will be backed up. Let’s take a look at the basics so your organization can figure out what you really need.
Is Off-Site Backup Really Necessary?
First of all, let’s cover the obvious: off-site backup is an absolute must. There are many reasons that it’s simply more efficient and secure than on-site backup, including:
- Offsite storage backup is totally automatic and does not require your company to remember to do it on any kind of schedule.
- Your files are more secure. When your entire backup process is on-site, your files are at risk from fires, theft, floods, accidents—and a host of other issues that don’t apply to off-site backup.
- It’s more reliable than an external hard drive. Assuming you choose the right off-site storage, you’ll be dealing with redundant backup, which is simply more reliable than any external hard drive you could buy.
- You’re backed up from anywhere. Once again, assuming you’re working with a leading-edge remote data storage facility, as long as you’re connected to the internet, you can back up your data—from anywhere.
Data Center Security
Though the specific security features of data centers will vary depending on which one you’re working with, you can count on it always being a central part of their configuration. Some data center security points you should look for include:
- Servers designed without unnecessary hardware or software, which reduces the possibility of vulnerabilities
- Disaster recovery measures that shift data access immediately to another data center to allow users to continue working without interruption
- Emergency backup generators that power data centers if there’s a power failure
- Distribution of data across numerous computers, which prevents a single point of failure or unauthorized access
- Automatic backup
- 24/7 information security teams that secure the data center’s perimeter and infrastructure
Cloud security management should address 4 main issues:
- Deterrent controls reduce attacks on a Cloud system. Think of it like a warning sign on a fence. These deterrents lower the risk of hackers by alerting them to the fact there will be consequences if they continue.
- Preventative controls work to reduce or eliminate vulnerabilities in the Cloud. For example, strong authentication of users of the Cloud reduces the chances that unauthorized users can access it.
- Detective controls detect incidents and react to them. If there is an attack, detective controls will signal the right corrective or preventative controls to act. Examples including network monitoring, system monitoring, and intrusion detection.
- Corrective controls prevent serious consequences if there is an incident. Their role is to limit the danger and they come into play either during or after an incident has occurred. For example, a system backup designed to recreate a compromised system.
Determining the Amount of Off-Site Storage You Really Need
It can be challenging to choose an amount of off-site storage that’s appropriate for your needs. There are many factors you should consider as you make your final decision, including the ones below.
- Look at the largest digital files your company has. What applications do they come from? Could you use a Cloud-based application that would reduce the amount of data you need to store at an office facility?
- Which of your applications run on which servers?
- How old is your data? How long do you want—or need—to keep it?
- How much of your data is old, irrelevant information or duplicate information? Could you reduce redundancy, thus reducing the amount of storage you need?
- How quickly do you need to access your stored data?
- Where do you need to access your data from?
Once you’ve answered these questions you should have a clearer picture of what your needs are from a data center.
Important Factors to Consider When Choosing Online Backup
The amount of storage you need is specific to your particular company. However, there are some factors that everyone needs to look into when they’re choosing the right remote data storage.
- How frequently is the data backed up?
- Are the terms flexible? You may buy in for a certain amount of storage, only to have your business grow within a few years. You want to know that when you need more space it’ll be available to you.
- What are your security features? We’ve listed above some of the security features at data centers and Cloud storage. However, you may need specific security measures. For example, hospitals need storage that’s HIPAA compliant.
- Where can we access data? Ideally you’d be able to access data from anywhere you have an internet connection. Even if your current business model doesn’t involve the need for remote access, you may want employees to work from home in the future, or you may open a second office and have documents that need to be accessed at both locations—or any number of other situations may arise that would require mobile access.
The bottom line is that the amount of backup utility you need varies based on the type and amount of data your company needs to backup—as well as how much is kept on-site and how efficiently you utilize Cloud services.