Online Data Backup

In an earlier post, “Online data Storage“, I tried to explain the difference between  Online Data Storage and Online Data Backup. I don’t think I did a particular job of it so I will try again here. I now have a much better understanding of the two so this attempt should be better!

Online Data Backup (ODB) involves creating a copy of your critical data on a server somewhere out there in “The Cloud”. The Cloud being the Internet (at least that is how I think of it). This copy of your data remains out there on someones secure servers until you remove it. You do not use this data in the day to day running of your business, it is there purely as an insurance policy against loss or corruption of the local data on your computer. This data is updated automatically on a regular basis, at least once a day but in some cases continuously, but only as the local data is modified. In some cases the backup regime may involve keeping multiple or historical copies of this data so you may be able to retrieve files from days or even months ago regardless of how often the file has been modified on your computer.

There are various offerings for ODB from a number of companies, and as usual prices and features vary. Most of them offer the same sort of thing but costs can vary considerably. Basically, ODB replaces any other backup regime you may have, although I still use a USB hard disk sitting on my desk! Call me cynical but I just don’t trust computers so I always try to have at least two backups on different media! Also, if for some reason your local hard disk fails, it could take some time to recover all your data from the ODB, so if you have a local copy you can at least quickly access any critical files.

Currently we are using the Carbonite online backup system (see banner on Home page). They offer what I think is a reasonably easy product to install, configure and use. Their pricing is good and they effectively offer unlimited storage, although I did read somewhere that they suggest when you hit the 100GB or so of data you should be looking at their professional packages which offer faster upload speeds, larger file sizes and other features. We have been using Carbonite for couple of months now and after initial teething problems (more down to my lack of understanding than problems with the product) I am very happy with it.

There are obviously serious security implications with these systems but they pretty much have it under control. All products offer some level of encryption of all data. The way I look at it is that my data in my office is much easier to steal be it on the computer or on backup media.

Now how does this compare with Online Data Storage (ODS)? Well, data stored online is current, real-time data. It is data you are using every day in the running of your business. This can be anything from a letter you have typed to accounting software data files so this data should in fact be included in any backup regime you set up including any ODB systems. There are a number of reasons for using ODS systems such as ease of sharing data between staff members and access to that data from any device anywhere that you have access to an Internet connection. So you never need to be in the situation again where you arrive at a client’s and realise you forgot to put that important file on your laptop!

I use a combination of ODS and ODB. I use Dropbox for ODS and store all of my business data and a few other bits & pieces on this. That way I have access to the HighComm data from anywhere with an Internet connection. Dropbox maintains a copy of this data on my PC and Mac and synchronises these with the ODS copy so they are always up to date. Then my ODB, Carbonite, is configured to backup the Dropbox data, so I have a backup of this and other critical data online. It sounds complicated I know, but once you get your head around it, you’ll be fine! The main thing is to work out what data is critical so you do not end up backing up unnecessary data.

As it can seem complicated, please do not hesitate to contact us. If you want more information on Carbonite, click on the link on our home page.

Keith

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