How much can you afford to lose?

Steve Sutcliffe
By Steve Sutcliffe
With a quarter of companies reportedly experiencing accidental system failures, data corruption or loss, the importance of effective data backups has never been greater.
How much can you afford to lose?
And yet, figures show that only 20% of companies have a disaster recovery plan in place, and only 8% of those have actually tested it to make sure it works.

The reasons for system errors are varied, ranging from human error to hardware failure, software failure, network failure or misconfiguration. Finding reliable figures to quantify the impact this has on businesses is difficult, but an online search shows a lot of people quoting DTI/PriceWaterhouseCoopers stats, which state that 70% of businesses that experience a major data loss go out of business within a year. The original report is harder to track down, but nonetheless it raises a valid question: how long could your business survive without critical data?

Data is the lifeblood of any business and, with more and more information being created and stored every day, effective and reliable backups have never been more important. Think about the amount of data your business creates, collects and stores. What would happen if you lost a day’s data? A week’s data? A year’s data? How would your business be affected?

You might think you have regular backups in place, but do you or your IT company ever check? Or do you - like most businesses - assume that, because you've put it in place, the system is working? We’re hearing worrying stories from companies who think they have secure backups in place, but have found - often to their cost - that this isn’t the case. In some cases, their data isn't being backed up at all.

How do I know if my data is being backed up?

The good news is that it’s very easy to find out whether backups are working. The first step is to ask a few questions of your current process or IT company:

  • Does your IT company run daily system checks to make sure backups are completing successfully?
  • Are you given regular reports to let you know your data is safe?
  • Is your backup data stored securely, off site?
  • Does your IT company take a proactive approach, performing regular system checks to keep things running smoothly?
  • Do you have a ‘backup and restore’ process, or just a backup?
  • Does your system store only incremental changes, rather than completing a full backup every time?

What are my options?

If the answer to any of these questions is no, it’s time to consider the alternatives. A proactive and effective managed backup service will:

  • Make sure all files are automatically backed up as frequently as every 15 minutes if required.
  • Give you an off-site data backup and restore solution for the same price or less than a system you have to manage yourself.
  • Provide you with regular reports, letting you know your data is safe - daily, if needs be.
  • Reduce your day-to-day operating costs by storing only incremental file changes after an initial full backup, saving money on storage space, data transfer costs and server load.
  • Enable you to recover previous versions of files from your server.
  • Give you quick access to restore the systems that would have the most impact on your day-to-day operations if they were down.

If you're concerned about the reliability of your data backups, an integrity test can quickly establish the performance of your current system and identify scope for improvement, leaving you free to focus on running your business without worrying about the safety of your data.

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