A Guide to Small Business Data Backup and Recovery - Page 2

By Pam Baker
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On-Site and Blended Data Recovery Options

If you own a micro-business, you may think a simple flash drive will serve as a backup. But that's a very limited plan. If something happens at your business or home, you can lose that flash drive just as surely as anything else. In almost all cases, a cloud-based backup and recovery service such as Carbonite is a good choice, especially since you can automate regular backups so that you don't forget to run them.

For small and mid-sized companies, an on-site or blended recovery plan may make the most sense in terms of cost and recovery time. But how do you get the physical distance you need for safety if your backup is onsite?

"Consider using replication to migrate data backups offsite to a remote location, MSP hosting facility or public cloud like Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Windows Azure for disaster recovery," advises Bennett Klein, senior director of product marketing for the data management business at CA Technologies.

Here are 12 more great tips from Klein to make an onsite or blended recovery plan work at peak efficiency

12 Small Business Data Backup and Recovery Tips

1. Consider an image-based backup solution that takes periodic snapshots of the system, application and data for total protection. Image-based solutions are much easier to use and deliver fast backup and recovery. They also enable more frequent backups to help reduce the risk of data loss.

2. Look for Bare Metal Recovery technology that can slash system recovery time compared to building a server from scratch. This helps to reduce business downtime.

3. Examine solutions that protect both physical and virtual server environments. Organizations can avoid the unnecessary cost and complexity of using two separate solutions by choosing one of the many solutions available that effectively support both environments.

4. Look for a solution that offers granular file and application recovery, which is much faster than having to recover an entire volume or database. One example: shops with Microsoft Exchange should consider solutions that offer granular recovery of individual mailboxes, emails and even attachments along with complete Exchange database recovery.

5. Consider a host-based backup approach to protect all the virtual machines on a hypervisor. It's faster and easier.

6. Seek a solution that offers comprehensive security features like access control, auditing and data encryption to address compliance requirements

7. Use data deduplication to reduce storage requirements and associated costs.

8. Look for central management and reporting capabilities to help ease IT support and improve productivity.

9. Take a look at virtual standby and high availability technologies that help you quickly recover an entire system after an outage.

10. Consider using an archiving feature to reduce primary storage. Some solutions allow archiving to disk, tape and even public cloud.

11. Consider a SaaS solution, which converts what would have been large capital expenditure (CAPEX) into a smaller, more manageable operational expenditure (OPEX).

12. Evaluate a solution from a Managed Services Provider (MSP) where you can leverage their knowledge, experience, resources and even facility for backup, disaster recovery and business continuity.

Data Backup Wrap Up

The important thing to remember is that there is no one-size-fits-all, perfect data backup and recovery system. What works exceptionally well for one company may not work well at all for another. 

"It's important that small businesses understand the three basic types of backup solutions: software, appliance and cloud/hosted," says Symantec's Krutikov. "SMBs should also evaluate how virtualization and cloud computing can help in their backup and recovery efforts."

 Krutikov also urges small business owners to not fall into a set-it-and-forget-it mentality. "Backup systems need to be actively monitored for changes in the environment and for errors that need to be addressed quickly. Leveraging technology that automatically identifies and protects new virtual systems as they come online can help with this."

Krutikov advises small business owenrs to reevaluate their disaster preparedness strategy and test its effectiveness at least once per quarter.

Pam Baker has written for numerous leading publications including, Institutional Investor magazine, CIO.com, NetworkWorld, ComputerWorld, IT World, Linux World, Internet News, E-Commerce Times, LinuxInsider, CIO Today Magazine, NPTech News (nonprofits), MedTech Journal, I Six Sigma magazine, Computer Sweden, the NY Times, and Knight-Ridder/McClatchy newspapers.

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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This article was originally published on January 10, 2013
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