Slideshow 6 Tips for a Smarter Data Backup Strategy

  • March 29 2015, 4:35pm EDT
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6 Tips for a Smarter Data Backup Strategy

A good data backup strategy keeps critical files close at hand and prevents costly downtime, according to data storage vendor Iron Mountain. Yet, in an annual report from the company, “22 percent of companies are needlessly backing up inactive data while also routinely missing backup windows.” Here are three ways to evaluate backup options, along with tips to evaluate data security and finding the right technology blend. (Photo: Fotolia)

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. (Photo: Fotolia)

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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. (Photo: Fotolia)

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. (Photo: Fotolia)

Evaluate Your Data Security

No matter which forms 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. (Photo: Fotolia)

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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. (Photo: Fotolia)

Archiving and Backup Best Practices

According to research conducted by IT research firm Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG), both primary storage and secondary/tertiary storage are growing at aggregated rates of approximately 35% year over year. That’s an interesting phenomenon. One would typically presume that for every 1TB of active production data created, anywhere from 2.5TB to 6TB worth of secondary copies would be created in an effort to protect the information for traditional backups, snapshots, BC/DR, regulatory compliance, testing, and so on. (Photo: Fotolia)

Get the Report

Iron Mountain’s 2014 Data Backup & Recovery Benchmark Report is available here. (Photo: Fotolia)