Data Backup Solutions for Small Businesses

When your business is operating at maximum efficiency, the last thing you want to deal with is a failed hard drive or compromised computer system.  Although the salesman will tell you how functional and solid the machinery is, it’s only matter of when your computer will crash.  All computers will eventually fail, making data backup an important insurance policy for businesses of all sizes.  In terms of protection, having a comprehensive backup software solution offers the best insurance there is for small businesses.

Small Business Storage Needs

Large corporations may have the capital and the need for a more complex storage system, but small businesses may be able to get by with a simpler, less expensive storage option. 

Your business should first set up a backup policy by identifying the following information:

  • Backup Frequency – choose between monthly, weekly or daily.
  • Recovery Point – determine how important your data is and how much you can afford to lose.
  • Backup Type – full or incremental backups?
  • Backup Devices – choose from backup appliances, NAS devices or tape.
  • Offsite Backups – part of a foolproof backup policy, decide how often these must be taken and where they will be stored.
  • Versioning – how important is seamless up to date backups to your business?
  • Online backups – can your business benefit from a Cloud based storage?
  • Security – is your data safe in the open or does it need to be encrypted?
  • Downtime – how much downtime can you afford between an error and when the system is running again?
  • Legal Requirements – read up on the pertinent compliance laws.
  • Data – what pieces of data must be backed up? 

Online Services

Small businesses can also use online storage services as an important part of a comprehensive backup plan.  These services work similarly to other storage devices, the difference being that your information is stored in the cloud, or online.  Some services will even allow you to send them hard drives in order to backup previous information.

Backup Devices

Backup devices are available in several forms and in a wide range of prices.  Choosing the right one is a matter of your budget and your storage needs.

Backup Appliances – offer encryption, automated backups and RAID, but come at a significantly higher price than others.  Some backup appliance providers include Arkeia and Quantum.

Tape Backups – the traditional option, tape backups are quickly decreasing in popularity.  If you need frequent, full backups, tape may be a viable option for your business.

Disks – perfect for small and home offices, removable hard disks don’t work great for businesses with several PCs.  Most removable hard disks also come with built in backup software. 

Network Attached Storage (NAS) Devices – for small businesses, NAS devices provide the most consistent storage option.  Although most NAS devices come with built-in backup software, you can also choose to use a preferred app for regular backups.

Backup Software

Backup apps can be used in tandem with NAS devices, portable hard drives and online accounts.  Some popular examples are:

  • ReBit
  • Acronis
  • Cobian
  • Genie Timeline

Email Backup

You may not think of backing up your email, but it’s an essential part of maintaining your business.  Before backing up email, make sure to consider compliance laws and issues with E-mail.

Most small businesses utilize a mix of each aspect of data backup in order to create a comprehensive storage solution that prevents any hiccup in the day to day managing of data.