Backup Strategies: Combining Local and Cloud Storage for Complete Disaster Recovery

Backup Strategies: Combining Local and Cloud Storage for Complete Disaster Recovery

April 17

Do you backup your data? Hopefully that’s something you look at as a stupid question. After all, we are deep in the information age. Deep enough to know that your precious data is vulnerable to hackers, malicious infections and blunders so unique, they can only be pulled off by human hands.

Luckily, the digital age has us living in times where backing up information is simple and affordable. With CDs, DVDs, and flash drives revealing themselves as viable storage mediums, home users can finally do what they’ve always wanted with those 3.5-inch floppy disks —launch them at the nearest wall, bad television show, or annoying house mate. Businesses can take a hammer to those unreliable tape systems that failed to restore data in the clutch in favor of online storage solutions.

Technology has given us a plethora of options for backing up data both of off and online. When it comes to disaster recovery, the answer does not lie in the local environment or even in the cloud. It lies somewhere in the center where a combination of both is used.

First Thing’s First …

No matter where your backups end up, they should always start at the local level. The data you pile up on an external hard drive or even an alarming number of USB drives should be on-premises, or somewhere close to that premises at all times. Having a local strategy will enable you to bounce back when hardware failure, malware and other untimely elements of IT threaten your operations.

Disaster Proofing in the Cloud

Cloud computing serves several purposes. For some businesses, it is a model that supports the deployment and distribution of software. Others use it as a platform to deploy servers, operating systems and other infrastructure components. One of the cloud’s most basic purposes is to provide convenient and flexible storage, which happens to make it highly reliable for business continuity planning.

Should a disaster strike your business — be it a fire, theft or something Mother Nature sends your way, the cloud acts as that insurance policy that allows you to recover your valuables. Cloud computing is powered by virtualization, so even if your entire facility is destroyed, you can have backups restored to a virtual machine that literally gets you back up and running quickly. Cloud computing is ideal for the business that wants to offload the day-to-day responsibilities that come with backing up data in-house and focus on other priorities.

A Smarter Cloud-Friendly Solution

Backing up locally is a recommended business practice, yet prone to the error of human intervention and vulnerable to a swarm of untimely disasters. The cloud is a wonderful technology, robust and ever so agile, but there is always that slightly uncomfortable element that comes with putting your informational assets in someone else’s hands. Here’s a three-step strategy that will enable you to effectively incorporate both into your backup regimen.

1. Localize cloud data. If you do choose the cloud as a storage option, make sure the data you upload to a web server is stored locally. A complete disaster recovery plan will enable you to recover your data from as many points as possible and local mediums are the most logical choice.

2. Make it a routine. With the wide availability (and cheapness) of external hard drives and software tools, there is no excuse not to locally save copies of your data on a regular basis. This practice will give you an added peace of mind on top of a vendor’s rock-solid service agreement.

3. Stay on top of your data. The importance of keeping data organized is an aspect that often gets overlooked. The better you are at organizing this information, the better visibility you’ll have into what’s been backed up, where it’s stored, what needs to be backed up and so forth.

A recent study found that 60 percent of companies lost data despite backing up their information using methods such as external drives, tape and cloud-based systems. According to the research, outdated and inefficient backups were cited as the leading reasons for data loss in these instances. The findings here highlight the unpredictability of data storage and the fact that anything can go wrong when you least expect it.

Local and cloud-based backups are a solid options on their own, but even stronger when you bring them together. Integrate them into one strategy, and you may have the ultimate disaster recovery solution.