Celebrating World Backup Day: Three Ways to Create a Smarter Data Backup Strategy

Topics: Data Archive

World Backup Day comes around every March 31,reminding companies like yours to back up your business-critical data now and to better manage backups in the future. If, as IDC predicts, the digital universe adds up to 44 zettabytes of data by 2020, we'll all have a role to play in keeping that data safe.

A good data backup strategy keeps critical files close at hand and prevents costly downtime. It also ensures the security of data no matter where it might travel, and remains cost-effective—even as it scales to meet tomorrow's demands.

Celebrate World Backup Day by taking these three actions:

1. Evaluate Your Options.

Most businesses run regularly scheduled backups—often daily—to protect themselves from losing more than a day's worth of data. But which form of data storage should you choose?

  • Disk-Based Backup: Disk-based network-attached backup is the choice of many simply because it's fast and local. That speed is crucial if yours is a transaction-based business. However, disk arrays are expensive to maintain and don't keep your backups in a separate safe location in case of a natural disaster. Disk backups are also always on and connected, making them susceptible to malware attacks.
  • Tape-Based Backup: Although offsite tape vaulting has long been thought of as a long-term data-archiving solution, it can figure in backup operations as well. The cost-per-gigabyte of tape storage keeps dropping, and new technologies, such as Web access to tape catalogs and the LTFS file format (which makes tapes look like just another drive), make tape attractive for protecting less-critical data. Best of all, tapes are stored offsite, where they're safe from any disaster that might strike your facilities.
  • Cloud-Based Backup: The cloud is coming on strong for backup. Why? From an operations perspective, it cuts labor costs and turns a capital expense into an operational one that you pay for with a predictable subscription. If needs change, you can adjust the terms rather than purchase new equipment. Like tape, the cloud keeps your data safely offsite and, like disk, it can be very fast for data retrieval. A robust cloud service can back up many servers and desktops, regardless of where they are in the world.

2. Evaluate Your Data Security.

No matter how and where you create and store your backups, the end-to-end security of your data is crucial. No matter which form(s) of data storage you choose, you should be encrypting data from the time it leaves your facility until it's returned and restored in your enterprise. You also need a verifiable chain of custody that describes any journey your data takes; regulators demand it. In fact, those same regulators may want to know if you are complying with the latest data center security standards, especially if you take the cloud route.

To finesse all these challenges, work carefully with your backup service partner to establish the appropriate level of data security. And don't forget about testing. Your backup data is useless if you can't get it when you need it—or if the data is corrupted. Any backup service you use should come with regularly scheduled testing to ensure that all systems are ready in case of a business interruption.

3. Find the Right Technology Blend.

With the many storage options available, you can seamlessly combine two or more methods to custom-fit your specific solution. For example, you may want to store full backups inexpensively on tape and reserve local disk space for a smaller portion of high-use files. You can also deploy the cloud once you have your tiered backup strategy formulated. Even small and midsize businesses can take advantage of this flexibility, benefiting from the cost-effectiveness and flexibility of cloud services.

A trusted third-party data management partner can help you establish a secure data management program to schedule your backups and send them to the optimal storage media—whether onsite or off. Design your plan soon. World Backup Day may come and go, but you should be thinking about backups every day.

Do you have questions about data management? Read additional Knowledge Center stories on this subject, or contact Iron Mountain's Data Management team. You'll be connected with a knowledgeable product and services specialist who can address your specific challenges.


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