Does Your Business Have Data Insurance? : Local Vs Offsite Backup

Call Your Agent – Do You Have the Right Insurance Coverage?

Business owners know the drill, especially when it comes to insurance coverage.  We make sure we’ve covered our bases with the proper insurance; liability, errors and omissions, key-man insurance, disability, property.  These policies are critical to ensuring that the business survives those bumps in the road that keep all but the brave entrepreneurial few from starting their own ventures.  It always amazes me that there is often one policy that is overlooked or falls victim to the budget axe.  Most likely this is the case because the agents who sell it don’t advertise enough to business owners.  No flashy television commercials, sparse radio coverage, a few ads here and there in the trade publications.  Also, when they do advertise, they usually don’t mention the fact that it is one of the most important insurance policies a company can hold.

Data Insurance

Yes, data.  And by insurance, I mean backup.  If you don’t have a good online backup, you don’t have an insurance policy on your important business data.  Notice the word ‘good’ in front of backup.  If you have a backup, is it good?  What are the odds of the backup failing or being destroyed along with the original data?

If any of these questions make you nervous, they should.  From my experience as a consultant alone, roughly 20% of backup plans fail.  Some fail due to faulty media such as tapes or external disks, while the majority fail because the backups were never successfully executed in the first place.   To avoid these terrible numbers, I usually try to improve the odds for my clients.

Tiered Backup

Just like you can buy supplemental insurance to boost your health insurance, you can build supplemental data insurance into your business.  If the data you store is critical to the success of your business, the extra insurance is well worth the money considering the alternative.

To implement a solid tiered backup plan, we can do something that makes most businesses happy.  We can keep using the current backup solution.  Though I shy away from tape backup solutions, I don’t have any issues keeping them in place if they are already in the mix.  They provide a last ditch effort to restore the data if the other tiers of the plan fail.

The first line of defense in a tiered plan is something local.  Users can have even large files restored immediately.  For my customers, I usually put in place a NAS (Network Attached Storage) or SAN (Storage Area Network) device to store this first level backup.  This backup won’t survive a natural disaster, as it is stored onsite, but it will survive what I call a ‘user’ disaster such as deleted files or directories.

The second line of defense I recommend is online backup.  The cloud has improved drastically over the years.  With solid data rates and smart client software, the amount of data crossing the lines has decreased, while the speeds have increased.  One of my customers who backs up over 200GB of data only transmits 150-200MB of changes per day.  Online backup is highly encrypted and is stored offsite, helping a business stay compliant with regulations such as HIPAA and protecting their data from localized disasters such as flooding or fire.

What is the last line of defense?  You guessed it.  Let’s go to the tape.  I just hope for your sake that you never have to go there.

— The Backup Master

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