Backup solutions for small business

by Caron_Beesley, Community Moderator

  • Created: February 16, 2012, 7:09 am
  • Updated: March 5, 2012, 7:48 am

How are you backing up your small business data? If you are like most small businesses, you could be compromising your business and its data on a daily basis.

A 2011 survey by Carbonite, a provider of online backup solutions, found some facts about data loss that may surprise you:

  • Forty-eight percent of American small businesses with between two and twenty employees have experienced data loss, up from 42 percent in 2010.
  • Top causes of data loss include hardware/software failure (54 percent), accidental deletion (54 percent), viruses (33 percent) and theft (10 percent).
  • Thirty-one percent of business owners surveyed think backing up company data is a hassle.

Scary, huh?

If you’ve ever lost a laptop, or been left stranded by malware or some other problem, then you already know the detrimental effect it can have on your business. For many, it can mean disaster.

So what are your options for backing up business data so you can access and restore files on the fly in the event of a data loss incident?

Finding the Best Backup Approach

The backup market is huge, so before you start looking into your options, develop a backup approach that meets your needs. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you need to back up your entire operating system or just essential data (employee records, financial records, documents and databases)? The answer will help determine how much data you need to back up. For example, an operating system can take up a lot of space, but if you have a copy of it, on an installation disk, for example, you may not need to back it up.
  • What are your vulnerabilities or primary concerns? According to the Carbonite survey, most businesses still use external hard drives and USB sticks to store data. Backing up data to one location only can be risky, so assess whether your business needs an extra layer of protection. Consider backing up your most critical data to both an online backup service and a local device which could also house your less critical assets.
  • How often do you need to perform a backup? What window of vulnerability can you tolerate? For businesses, a daily or weekly backup is a good idea – especially if you are fairly active in creating or updating files and documents.

Backup Options – Mix it Up!

There are endless options for backing up data, but it’s a good idea to build in some redundancy and shoot for at least two methods that will divide and conquer your data backup needs. Here are some options:

1. External Hard Drives or Disks

Disks have long been used as a go-to backup device, but they are also notorious for failing to capture all your data. Plus, it’s a manual process. A better option would be to back up to an external storage device. For $60 or thereabouts, you can buy a desktop device that stores almost 1 Terabyte of storage. These devices also offer the convenience of scheduling automatic backups for those of us who’d otherwise forget.

Caron_Beesley's Profile Picture
2007-03-08 12:22:55 by chimatt99

Online Backup vs. NAS

You've already identified some of the Pros and cons of having an onsite NAS box doing backup vs. an online/offsite backup service.
I did this same analysis for a small business client of mine, and what made the online backup approacha non-starter was that none of them could do backups of networked files, only files residing on a PCs local drives. This client wanted to more beyond simple peer-to-peer, but not quite ready for full server, so a NAS box was a good idea.
So here is what I setup for them.
- Buffalo LinkStation Pro 250GB NAS Drive.
- The LS Pro came with Memeo Autobackup, which got loaded on each PC so that all the PCs perform continuous autobackup to the NAS drive

2007-09-04 15:14:36 by -

Some answers...

1) Wired. Gigabit ethernet.
2) Yeah, get a small FreeNAS box with mirrored drives, and be religious about backup. For small business, I usually recommened a simple disk-to-disk solution.
3) Get the new iMacs if they'll work for ya.
4) Version control is a bitch. There are complicated solutions. What do you mean by "shared"? Is there a "version 1" file on the server, someone copies it, makes 1A, and some locally makes 1B, and you want to merge the changes back together? Yeah, that's a PITA.....

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