Are you showing enough data backup love to your field offices? If not, you run the risk of critical corporate data falling into the abyss. A comprehensive plan can protect data out in the field.
FAST FACT: A surprising 41% of IT professionals responsible for supporting remote offices say their organization doesn’t back up data in those locations at all, according to a 2011 InformationWeek survey.
DID YOU KNOW? By 2010, there were about 1.7 million branch offices in the U.S., a 21% increase over the previous decade, according to a study by Internet Research Group.
Your phone rings. It’s Dave from the Southwest regional office. He’s in a panic because one of the servers just went down, and all his Q1 contracts have relocated to digital purgatory. Can you help?
You should be in a position to help—but sadly, that’s often impossible. An astonishing number of businesses leave their field offices to fend for themselves: 41 percent of IT professionals who support remote offices admit they do not back up data in those locations, according to a 2011 InformationWeek study. Just 16 percent of those surveyed replicate their data to the home office.
Without a comprehensive backup plan to protect critical data—regardless of where it physically resides—your company is exposed to potential data losses. And aside from putting a dent in productivity and possibly losing revenue, your firm may also end up answering to federal or local regulators for violating data handling laws.
The Choice: Centralize or Keep It Local?
By definition, all the data your organization’s remote workers use is distributed outside the data center. Choose from one of two backup strategies: Either perform it locally or handle it from your headquarters. Each technique has its pros and cons, and ultimately your optimal strategy may combine the two.
Backing up data locally typically means shorter backup and recovery windows, since the data doesn’t need to travel over a network. But in many cases, there are no IT personnel at a remote site to manage a local backup process. In fact, 59 percent of firms with fewer than 10 employees in remote/branch offices function without any local IT staff, and 71 percent say they use onsite storage at some point in the backup process at those locations, according to a June 2011 survey by Enterprise Research Group (ESG).
That’s one of the reasons a centrally managed cloud backup architecture and a fully managed online backup service that covers even individual laptop computers appeals to enterprise storage managers. Centralized backup for remote and branch offices is gaining ground, though it’s still the exception. About 26 percent of organizations back up data from remote and branch offices over a wide area network directly to a centralized corporate site, according to the ESG study. That’s a jump from the 7 percent that operated this way in 2007.
However, backing up remote office data to a cloud storage provider or the company’s data center at HQ will not be the right fit in all cases. For large data sets, the cost of the bandwidth required to meet backup and recovery time objectives could make local backup the only feasible choice. Plus, high-speed data links may not even be available in some remote locales.
As you’re weighing backup alternatives, keep in mind that not all data and applications are created equal. When developing a backup strategy that encompasses remote sites, prioritize the most business-critical systems and give them the highest levels of protection.
Pull Out the Tape Measure
If it’s clear you need local data backup at a remote site, you then must consider whether to use traditional tape or a newer disk-based appliance. Tape is still far cheaper on a per-byte basis, and its reliability is unmatched. Moreover, tape is the preferred medium for shipping backup data to a disaster-recovery hot site.
But you’re still dealing with the staffing issue: Tape systems need regularly scheduled media swaps, and seldom can anyone at the remote location do that. In this situation, consider putting a trusted partner to work as your remote hands, eyes and ears to perform routine remote-site backups. Look for a partner that provides automatic alerting and tracking tools, and that follows industry standards for security.
Whichever options you choose, your overarching goal is still the same: making sure the data that is the lifeblood of your company remains safe and sound. There’s no excuse for leaving your remote offices vulnerable. With the right data backup strategy, all points on the map will be in good hands.
Iron Mountain Suggests: Call for (Remote) Backup
What’s the best way for your company’s constellation of field offices to safely and reliably back up data? You can’t expect your star regional salesperson to also play tape jockey. Iron Mountain provides a range of options to help organizations get a handle on remote backups.
Cloud Storage: Iron Mountain® cloud storage and services let’s your company execute backups automatically and continuously, for both servers and PCs/Macs. These services:
- Provide easy-to-use, secure Web-based management tools that safeguard data against disasters, equipment failure and human error
- Protect your data in highly secured and mirrored underground facilities for full failover redundancy
- Maintain a consistent chain of custody via fully encrypted transport and storage services
Tape Management: For remote locations that rely on tape backup, the BackupCare™ service provides specially trained onsite technicians who will pull your full backup media and mount new media securely and reliably. Key features of this service include:
- Automatic real-time notification of media swaps
- 24/7 emergency response, so you can get your data at any time
- Access to Iron Mountain SecureSync® tape management portal, which gives you a unified view of your remote site backups
- A documented chain of custody to ensure security and accountability
Do you have questions about data backup and recovery? Read additional Knowledge Center stories on this subject, or contact Iron Mountain’s Data Backup and Recovery team. You’ll be connected with a knowledgeable product and services specialist who can address your specific challenges.
Tape-Based Archiving: A Smart Solution for the New Age of Big Data
Ready, Set, Migrate: Ensuring Constant Access to Your Data Archives
From Daily Backups to Long-Term Archiving: The Long and Winding Data Lifecycle