Data recovery and backups for small businesses

Sep 25, 2018

We've all experienced the very real sinking feeling of thinking we've lost an important file. Whether that be a Microsoft Word document which for some reason hasn't saved properly, precious personal photos which have been wiped from a memory card, or a computer crash in the middle of an unsaved essay due in the next morning, the sickening realisation that 'I should have saved a backup copy' is something that's all too familiar for most people. It’s horrible when it’s your personal files lost, but the stakes become even higher when you consider the potential impact on a business.

There are a lot of articles on the internet titled with things such as 'the importance of keeping backups', but in reality, if you're reading this you already know how important it is, it just never seems to be an urgent priority. It's one of those 'I must get around to inquiring about that' things, and by the time something happens to bring it to the forefront of your mind again, it's too late - that document is already lost.

Once it has been lost, data recovery can be possible. However, it can also be incredibly expensive with no guarantee that you will actually be able to retrieve all of the important files which you have lost. The best thing to do in the event of your system being compromised and data going missing, is to turn off your machine and contact an IT professional.

In terms of prevention, there are multiple solutions when it comes to making sure your files are kept safe, and when we consider which ones might be best for our customers we ask a few key questions:

How much data do you want to save?

How many people need to use the same backup system? As well as this, what is the general size of the files that they will be saving? This often depends on your industry.

An independent, one branch solicitors are likely to be dealing a lot with Microsoft Word documents which don't take up much space, but wedding photographers, architects, or designers all work with many big files taking up a lot more space - the one thing they all have in common is that losing this information would be a disaster.

How much downtime can you deal with?

Imagine the worst were to happen and your computer system were to be hit with a virus requiring all machines to be wiped. Although it would be annoying, smaller businesses with only a few staff members can typically cope with a bit of downtime, being able to conduct tasks around the office which don’t require their computers whilst programmes and their data are reloaded on to their server.

For larger businesses having downtime en masse can cost tens of thousands of pounds and needs to be avoided! In these situations, an extensive disaster recovery solution is needed –a regularly updated complete duplicate of the server or servers, means that programmes, settings, and users can all be restored in one hit, vastly reducing the expense of downtime.

Who is going to manage the backup?

Physical backups involve needing tapes or drives changed daily. In a small business where this might be a task designated to one person, this could present a challenge when they go away on holiday. In a larger business, it would probably be more viable to have multiple people who know how to do it.

What about backup security?

Our backup solutions are all encrypted as standard. This means if you were to be carrying an external drive filled with your data and documents and left it on a train, if someone dishonestly picked it up and tried to access the data they wouldn’t be able to without the accompanying encryption key. The same applies to the very unlikely event that your Cloud provider was hacked. Not every backup solutions provider does this, so it’s definitely a question worth asking.

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