From magnetic tapes to online services to portable “thumb drives,” there are more backup options for small business these days than ever.
If your business has any hope of surviving a routine systems failure or even a once-in-a-century catastrophe, it’s time to start thinking seriously about backing up your data.
Myriad backup options are available for prices ranging from a one-time expenditure of a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars, plus monthly maintenance fees. The complexity and cost of a backup system varies widely, depending on the amount of data to be stored, the frequency with which backups are made, the relative ease with which lost data can be restored and whether old data must be kept separate from new.
Small business backup considerations
According to data back-up specialist Iron Mountain Digital, small- to medium-sized businesses need to keep several key factors in mind.
While there are a variety of backup options these days for small and mid-size businesses, a company also needs to put in place a regular process to ensure success of its backup strategy. “At the core, everyone focuses on the technology, but that’s the least important aspect of a back-up,” says Steve Lewis, CEO of Teneros, which makes an application continuity device for Microsoft Exchange servers. “Instead, you have to map certain things out: Have I hired the right person with the right skills to do this? Do I have a workable process in place? Am I doing regular test restores? Am I sure we’re backing up the data we need most? Does everyone in the loop know where the backups are stored and what to do with them?”
Costs of backup
Costs of backup options vary widely. Online backup costs between $2 and $7 per gigabyte per month but hard drive backups can cost anywhere from 50 cents to $2 per gigabyte depending on the size of the drives used and the type of software used to synchronize the backups. But the basic backup costs can be assessed using three key measures: RTO, or recovery time objective, measures the length of time that data would be unavailable following a failure. RPO, or recovery point objective, measures the acceptable amount of data loss between the last good backup and the point of failure. And DLE, or data loss event, looks at the type and scope of various failure scenarios.
With the radical drops in hard drive costs over the last few years, small- and medium-sized businesses have been able to implement back-up strategies similar to those used by large enterprises over the last few decades. In fact, so-called ATA disk drives this year became the number one storage technology across all enterprises, according to IDC. In addition, small businesses now routinely have broadband access that they can leverage for online backup options.
Types of backup options to consider