Belt and Suspenders: what everyone needs to know about data backup

Sometimes we joke about the “belt and suspenders” solution – those situations where people look for not one but two powerful sources of security. When it comes to data backup, don’t be afraid of the “belt and suspenders” title. Businesses need two kinds of backup.

Tough jobs require a belt and suspenders. (Photo courtesy of bibliofind.com)
Tough jobs require a belt and suspenders. (Photo courtesy of bibliofind.com)

One will be on-site, the other off-site. The first protects against data loss due to technical failure and some theft, the second against catastrophic loss due to theft, fire or other disaster.

Jeannie Shea, owner of Bay to Bay Technical Solutions and our backup expert for this series, wants you to remember one  key point: If your computer is in your office and you backup to an external drive in the same office, you may be protected against data loss but not against theft, fire or other disaster.

Your on-site backup should be:

  • Automatic (not dependent on human intervention most of the time)
  • On-site (makes it convenient to restore your ability to work in case of computer failure)
  • Daily, at a minimum
  • Able to back up “open” files, that is, files that are in use

Your offsite backup should be:

  • Remote, so that in case of fire or theft in your office, the backup is intact.
  • Encrypted, so that your data travels over the internet in a secure fashion to a secure location, usually out of state.

With services such as Carbonite and Mozy, this is now affordable even for the solo entrepreneur.

So how to make this work for your business? Yesterday we talked about why this matters for your business, whether you have 100 employees or you’re all on your own. Next time we’ll turn our attention to the solo entrepreneur and the micro-business, then in a future post we’ll address the needs of the “larger small business”.

Got questions about backup? Leave a comment here.

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