Limited budget? Start with Backup and Disaster Recovery.

If you run a business in the Tampa, FL area, you already know about lightning and hurricanes.  These are only a couple of reasons why you should start with backup and disaster recovery. Being the owner of a small business myself, I understand and empathize when an owner says “I can’t afford that.” Certainly, I still have to make a profit on what I sell, or I will be unable to remain in business myself for very long. The costs and challenges of finding someone you trust your business network with can be overwhelming. Whether you are considering A Better Choice Network Solutions or not, here are some reasons why you should start your IT purchase with a backup and disaster recovery (BDR) solution:

Backup and Disaster Recovery

Your IT provider may refer to it as backup, cloud backup, Backup and Data Retention, or Backup and Disaster Recovery. Regardless, the terminology means the same:  keeping your data available to you after a disaster. The threats to your data continue to evolve at astronomical rates. Thirty years ago, I remember helping my Mom back up her business data on the old floppy disks (yeah, I’m that old and then some!). Her worries mostly involved a lightning storm or hardware failure would cause the loss of her business data. With the evolution of computers and the internet, the threats have grown more complex as well. In simplified terms, the threats are:

Hardware Failure

The first threat to your data is a hardware crash of the computer that stores your data. Hard drive failures do occur. Well-designed servers use RAID to copy data across multiple hard drives so you can recover from a hard drive crash.  If one drive fails, you are still able to operate off of the others. If your entire server crashes, you need a BDR solution to recover the data and get back to work.

Internal Threats

Ever had a disgruntled or clumsy employee? It happens. Coffee spills and server computers don’t mix well. Neither does the rage filled employee that decides to damage your server. Active Directory can only protect from your employees accessing and deleting the data. Preferably, have an offsite copy of your data untouchable by disgruntled employees.

Natural Disaster

Welcome to Florida…the Sunshine State. Welcome to Tampa, the lightning capital of North America. I’m pretty sure that qualifies as an oxymoron. In addition to lightning (which can be devastating), you also have the added threat of hurricanes, fires, and other disasters. Data breach insurance cannot recover the data that your business relies on to operate.

Malware

Whether it corrupts, deletes or encrypts your data, malware can be devastating to your business. Ransomware continues to evolve at an astronomical rate. Once it encrypts your files, there are only 3 options: pay the ransom in the hopes that a cyber-criminal can and will decrypt your data, restore your data from backup, or lose your data. Ransom costs are rising quickly, and in 25% of the cases, data wasn’t recovered after payment was made.

The Solution is BDR!

Certainly, it would be preferable to prevent becoming infected in the first place. Two years ago, an FBI cyber-security agent actually recommended to pay the ransom when a business was infected. Since then, the FBI has stepped away from that line of thinking as the cyber-crime environment grows more complex. Ransoms continue to rise in both cost and prevalence. The actors that hold your data for ransom are not exactly friendly to US interests.

There are affordable options available depending on your business needs. Providing a blanket quote for all businesses isn’t practical because every business has unique storage and recovery needs. Here are a few factors to consider:

Tolerance for Downtime

How many hours or days can you go without your data? How many employees are data-reliant? What does it cost per hour for employees reliant on your data to be denied access to it? With those factors in mind, how long can you afford to run your business without access to your data? A multiple drive failure could result in your IT department spending hours reloading programs and data back onto your server. This can be very time consuming.

Advantages of File-Based Backup:
  • Recovery of files and folders
  • “Roll back” to before a file was infected with malware
  • Set automated backups
  • Cost is on the lower end of the spectrum
  • Often can access files and folders remotely
Disadvantages of File-Based Backup:
  • Recovery time increased due to need to reinstall programs
  • Not a great option for Quick books or exchange files.

If it’s affordable and your downtime tolerance is less than an hour or two, image-based backup is your best option.

Advantages of Image-Based Backup:
  • Entire device, including programs, is duplicated
  • Much faster to recover, sometimes in 15 minutes to 1 hour
  • Better option for backing up server drives than file-based
  • Moderately priced
  • Automated backups
Disadvantages of Image-Based Backup:
  • Usually limited to one device
  • Much better option to reduce downtime
  • Better for Quick-books and Exchange files
  • Can roll back infected drives

Generally speaking, the cost for backup comes down to two major factors:  (1) how much data needs to be backed up, and (2) how fast does it need to be recovered.  Contact A Better Choice Network Solutions if you would like help with finding the right backup solution for your business.

Most small and medium businesses will be well served by the options above.  If you are in a critical infrastructure where downtime could mean life or death, we recommend a disaster recovery as a service (DRAAS) solution where your servers are virtualized on a cloud server and can run (albeit often a little slower) via the internet connection.

 

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