We all know backing up our data is important.  This is becoming even more critical in light of all of the security breaches that have recently been taking place.  But, what’s the best strategy for storing all of that data?  Several factors need to be considered when deciding where to backup your data and where to replicate the backups.  These are the four most often considered targets and the pros and cons of each:

Local disk

  • Fully on premises storage to magnetic media and devices
  • Least expensive – likely it’s already in place for the primary backups
  • Highest risk – issues with power, cooling, vandalism or natural disasters could take out your primary data as well as the backups
  • Fastest recovery from hardware or OS failures or intentional or unintentional data deletion or corruption

Disk at another location (Data Center that you own)

  • Data is located at a branch office, another plant, a sister or daughter company or any other site where you have good connectivity
  • Minimal expense – requires connectivity, power, cooling, and space. Any or all of these may need to be increased to support this solution.
  • Moderate risk – this approach is still somewhat vulnerable to vandalization and cyber attacks
  • Depending on bandwidth, data is copied offsite soon after it is backed up

Cloud

  • Data is stored in a 3rd party location completely outside of any of your own environments. Expense varies – some up front and recurring costs are required to maintain data storage and these costs will increase as retention volumes grow
  • No facility costs – the cloud provider handles all of those
  • Other fees – sometimes there is a cost for egress from the cloud; large amounts of data are often better handled via physical shipping of drives from the cloud provider to your location
  • Lower risk – these environments are more secure as typically these companies have scale for more security personnel and technology
  • Depending on bandwidth, data is copied offsite soon after it is backed up

Tape

  • Data is stored to a physical tape as a static copy with custom retention
  • Takes up space – on site storage requires a climate controlled environment where they can be protected from damage
  • Moderate expense – offsite storage can be expensive; shipping tapes to offsite storage on a regular basis is normally provided through a courier or as part of the vault service
  • Low risk – very secure from data attacks since the backups are completely offline
  • Shipping tapes back and forth creates latency for both storing current data in a timely manner and recovery if needed in a DR situation

Most backup environments end up being a combination of two or three of the targets outlined here.  In most cases, organizations retain a local copy for at least a few days and use one or more of the remote storage options for DR and archival purposes.  It’s also important to TEST restoring from these backups to ensure you can recover the data!

If you would like help evaluating backup solutions or discussing your DR policies or strategy, email info@peters.com. We are happy to help!