3 data backup options for professionals
Data backup should be an essential part of every professional firm's activities. Hardware failure, theft, accidental deletion or a disaster (such as a flood or fire) could see vital files on your computer lost beyond recovery and, as a result, your business could be severely disrupted.
With a solid backup strategy in place, however, firms can mitigate the problems that an unexpected loss of data can present. Every firm is different, so it is important to invest time in conducting a thorough assessment of your backup needs.
What are the options?
There are many backup options available for professional firms and you may want to consider choosing multiple methods that will ensure you are covered in the event of one failing. Deciding on the right solutions can be a daunting task, so below are three examples of the most popular backup options available.
Although online and off-site backup have many benefits (storage on professionally-maintained servers and safety from local disasters amongst them), some firms rely solely on local backup solutions due to the increased speed, control and near-certain privacy that can be gained from it.
Some popular 'offline' solutions include:
Backup and Restore - Window's built-in backup utility allows you to backup all of your hard drive, or just certain folders
Time Machine for Mac - popular with designers and creative professionals, backs up all files on a Mac and checks hourly for changes
SyncBack - a tool for synchronising files to other mediums (such as a USB storage device), an external hard drive or over your local network.
Storing files in the cloud not only means flexible storage that can be accessed from any computer, but also less upfront investment. There is a number of online cloud backup solutions. Examples include:
SpiderOak: gives a unique encryption key for every account which encrypts customer data for uploading, downloading and storage, and access is impossible without the key. They offer a free 2GB account, with an additional 100GB available for a fee.
Memopal: charges on a 'per computer' basis, with one computer costing approximately £30 per year. Like Spideroak, Memopal encrypts all your files, and backs up in real time.
Carbonite: provides continuous backup which protects data. However, old versions of files cannot be accessed as only recent files are saved.
Many firms do not have the time or resources to use both backup options, but if your firm is sizeable, you may want to consider a "hybrid" solution comprising both local and online services in one package.
Many of the previously mentioned local and online backup software solutions can work as part of a hybrid set-up, however there are companies (amongst others, Rebit and KineticD) that provide specialist solutions for small businesses.
Prices can be higher for hybrid backup, but any business that has gone through the experience of serious data loss will confirm that a proper backup solution is an investment any firm should be willing to make.
Please note: Markel do not endorse or recommend any one product and this information is intended as a guide only.