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Oct 11, 2008
How to Choose the Best Backup Storage Media for Your Business
by GlueTooth / General
Setting up a backup system is an essential task for any business, but it can also be a complicated process as security relies upon more than one technique. This article shows how some weaknesses of one backup system can be offset by the complementary strengths of another.
A RAID setup of internal HDDs can update a data backup in a second. But, unfortunately, it does not safeguard against the accidental deletion of data or the total destruction of a computer.
In this article we'll look at backups that use removable storage media and discuss backup rotation and off-site storage.
Backups of removable storage media are more time-consuming to perform than using RAID, often taking up to several hours. However, daily backups can help recover accidentally deleted files that are more than a day old. Also, off-site storage of your backup media protects against a major disaster such as a fire, flood, or theft.
But first you have to answer the question what's the best removable storage?
Some of the requirements you should check out are:
relatively inexpensive form of data storage that is durable and reusable.
sufficiently high capacity to store all or most of your critical business data on one unit of media.
the storage medium should be widely available and commonly used, so that the data on it can be quickly accessed and restored on another computer should the original PC be destroyed.
These requirements rule out some types of removable media fairly quickly. For example, while the floppy disks were once a favourite for backups, its limited storage capacity makes it virtually useless today. Most of new PCs don't come with a floppy drive, so it's not even the universal portable storage solution it once was.
Most of businesses will have a greater quantity of important data than the 700MB or so that can be stored on a single CD. But still, CDs a re great media for storgae backup. If you have more than 700 MB of data, you should consider using multiple CDs on daily, weekly, monthly basis, depending on how often you preform your backup.
Recordable DVDs are much better. They provide 4.7GB of storage on single-layer discs, or 9GB on dual-layer discs. They're good solution to put all your data on it during the single backup. These discs are so inexpensive that you don't have to be concerned about reusing the media.
The latest members of the optical media family are Blu-ray Discs. They can store even more data, up to 50GB per disc, which means that you can store whole HDD on one disc, of course, if use small capacity hard discs.
USB sticks can be another good backup choice, with prices dropping and memory capacity rising considerably over the past year. Flash memory drives are good for document backups because they're so small and convenient to transport.
External hard drives
Hard drives are excellent storage media for backups, since they're fast and high in storage capacity. External hard drives are perfect for backups. Some of them come bundled with backup software, so all you have to do is simply push a button on the drive to start the backup.
External drives works with USB 2.0, Firewire, or eSATA connection. They're fast enough to keep backup times manageable.
For businesses with up to 8GB or so of important data, either a USB stick or DVD burner would work well. Both of these medai can store up to 50GB, which is more than enough to save your data in case of loss.
Businesses with greater storage requirements should use external hard drives, where 1TB or more can be stored.
It's recommended for all business owners to preform a periodically backup rotation. Periodic rotation and transport of back-up media to off-site storage will protect against theft or loss due to destruction of the premises.
It's recommended to business owners to maintain a minimum of three backup generations:
- Backup can be attached to the computer or network.
- Backup can be stored securely on premises.
- Backup should be stored safely off-site.
You can then rotate the backups, taking backup B off-site, attaching backup C to the computer, and moving A elsewhere in the office.
A small owner-managed business may opt to store the off-site backup at the owner's home. An alternative may be to rent a box in a bank vault.
Larger businesses with multiple locations may swap backups between sites. Some small businesses may make similar swap arrangements.
If you use a courier or other common carrier to transport your backup to another location, it's strongly recommend that you encrypt the data.
If the backup is lost or falls into the wrong hands, encryption will help ensure that business data remains confidential.
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