Top 3 Storage Disasters and How to Preempt Them

By Paul Mah | Posted March 19, 2013

Despite all the advancements in data storage technologies, disasters do sometimes result in data loss for businesses. In this article, we outline some common small business data storage disasters and what you can do to preempt -- and hopefully prevent -- them.

Remember the old adage about an ounce of prevention being worth a pound of cure? Certainly, investing in protecting your data is certainly more desirable -- and much less expensive -- than permanent data loss.

3 Common Small business Storage Disasters

1. Storage Appliance Failure

Let's say that you've just acquired a top-end NAS (Network Attached Storage) or SAN (Storage Area Network) appliance for your small business, and configured it with a good level of redundancy. As a diligent small business owner, you certainly deserve a pat on the back for a job well done.

What you may not realize, however, is that while storage appliances do protect against disk failures, the appliances themselves are hardly immune against failure. Indeed a study by Quorum, a disaster recovery vendor, attributed 55 percent of all small business downtime events to hardware failure.

There are a couple of methods to protect against storage appliance failure, the easiest of which is a regular offline data backup. Moreover, most mid-range (or better) storage devices also allow for data replication between separate NAS or SAN devices to protect against malfunction on one of them.

2. Accidental Deletion

As much as we might hate to admit it, even the best of us have accidentally deleted a file or a folder on occasion. While it's usually a simple matter to recover data from the Recycle Bin, the chances for data loss increases exponentially when you don't notice mistakes immediately.

In instances when weeks or months go by before you realize that you or an employee has accidentally data deleted, the only viable method of recovering the information is the presence of a separate data backup. As such, it makes sense to ensure that your company has a full-fledged data backup application that is configured to perform incremental backup copies.

3. Failed Backup

Finally, it is imperative that small business IT managers remember that automatic backup is not necessarily intelligent. Problems can – and often do – crop up after weeks or months of seamless data backups.

We have encountered real-life scenarios where, without constant monitoring, backup procedures that worked correctly in the past failed without anyone being the wiser. You can imagine the consternation and panic that would ensue if you only discovered this problem existed after a disaster.

Small business owners must periodically check their data backups to ensure that they are working as expected. In addition, test the data backups to ensure that they are usable -- e.g., not corrupted -- in the event of a catastrophic disaster.

Paul Mah covers technology for SMBs for Small Business Computing and for IT Business Edge. He also shares his passion for and knowledge of everything from networking to operating systems as an instructor at Republic Polytechnic in Singapore, and is a contributor to a number of tech sites, including Ars Technica and TechRepublic.

Do you have a comment or question about this article or other small business topics in general? Speak out in the SmallBusinessComputing.com Forums. Join the discussion today!

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