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Member Article

Data backup: need for business continuity goes on

Aad Dekkers, Marketing Director EMEA, at EVault, shares his expertise in data management.

With the Olympics and Paralympics behind us, there have been mixed reports on the effects of the games on UK businesses. Yet before it began, something no one disputed was the potential the world’s greatest sporting event had for causing major business disruption. As such, prior to summer 2012, many companies - especially those in the London area - were advised to reassess their business continuity plans and implement concrete changes. These included flexible working policies, revised travel plans and other measures to ensure that staff were able to work without interruption. Small businesses took these warnings on board, and, with the lessons that have been learnt over the Olympic period, should now be considering their ongoing data continuity plans.

Backing up your business data effectively and securely is the first step in ensuring business continuity. The commotion surrounding the Olympic and Paralympic games has highlighted the need for such protection, but this is not a one-off, ‘big event’ issue, nor is it limited to London postcodes. Businesses of all sizes are handling increasing amounts of data (even small businesses have to manage on average 20TB of data each day, according to a survey we conducted this year), and foolproof backup solutions are therefore an essential part of any business continuity plan. When evaluating options on the market, there are several factors businesses should consider.

Security and efficiency

A data loss or breach can be fatal for a business, affecting its ability to serve clients or customers, costing tens of thousands of pounds and damaging its reputation. Therefore, to ensure the highest security, a backup solution should encrypt data during both transit and storage. Disk-to-disk is better than tape-based backup in this respect, as the former is significantly faster during encryption. In addition, opt for a solution that includes deduplication to optimise storage efficiency by avoiding multiple copies of the same data.

Accessibility

There is no point in backing up data if it cannot be easily accessed in the event of a problem. To avoid critical delays, establish with your vendor the combination of onsite and offsite copies that will best meet your organisation’s specific recovery time objectives.

Compliance

Businesses must make sure they act within the law when handling data, and adhere to industry privacy, security and data retention standards. It is therefore essential that you choose a backup vendor that can prove compliance with all relevant regulatory requirements. A good place to start is making sure they are vendor-certified.

Operating systems and platform support

With Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies becoming increasingly common, business backup plans must accommodate the use of portable devices like laptops. Be sure to ask your provider for a full explanation of how their solutions can accommodate multiple, often remote, devices.

Cost-efficiency

When considering cost-efficiency, remember that a data backup solution is a long term investment for your business. The investment in tape may initially appear less, but costs will rise during application. Always look at the whole lifecycle of data backup: from acquisition and setup, through to storage, transport and maintenance. When you consider the entire process, the cost of ownership of disk-to-disk solutions represents far better value than tape.

The most important thing to remember is that, because business continuity is a permanent challenge for organisations, the need for data backup is an ongoing concern. The Olympics and the Paralympics drew attention to the issue, but the need is outlasting them both. If more companies address their data backup needs as a result of this summer’s events, it will be an Olympic legacy that benefits them in the long run.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Aad Dekkers .

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