Data loss or IT outages have a plethora of causes, such as natural disasters, fire accidents, human error/malice or power loss.
Back in May, Salesforce experienced excruciating embarrassment caused due to a massive outage at one of its key data centers. Salesforce reported that a database failure introduced a file integrity issue and subsequently, they lost four hours of their transactions.
And they are not alone.
An alarmingly large number of business are suffering from unexpected data losses caused by a variety of reasons. A survey by Department for Business, Innovation & Skills reveals the risks businesses are setting themselves up for because of inefficient business continuity (BC) and disaster recovery (DR) planning. Lack of planning combined with inadequate testing and investment in resources has created quite a calamitous situation for organizations that aren’t prepared for sudden IT outages.
Is your backup and storage strategy aligned with your organization’s use of IT?
Natural disasters and cyber security threats cost businesses million of dollars in terms of lost revenue, tarnished brand image, diminished customer base and potential lawsuits due to compromised confidential information.
You can’t alter the course of nature or always succeed in preventing cyber security breaches from happening or preempt a hacker’s malicious attack. But with the increasing number of data backup solutions, businesses now have the option to install effective backup plans in place, to ensure that they are mitigating dire consequences as much as possible.
Are you taking advantage of backup solutions to ensure business continuity during unexpected catastrophic situations?
How to choose the right business backup solutions
When choosing a backup option, businesses need to consider certain key aspects:
- Size of organization,
- Type of business
- Scale of internal and external data
- Nature of data (mission-critical vs. public)
- Operational requirements
Data backup initiatives should be aligned with the organization’s business goals, particularly relating to Return on Investment (ROI), security and data management.
After reading this blog, you will be understand three popular data backup options available, so you can choose the best one to suit your unique organizational requirements.
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Direct Attached Storage (DAS)
DAS refers to equipment that can be physically attached to a server or a PC (example: via a USB port). Typically, storage that can be directly attached includes portable storage devices, external hard drives, etc. This is the go to backup option for individual computer users as well as small businesses that require data backup of only a few terabytes of data.
- DAS devices offer plenty of capacity and are easy to store securely.
- It also offers end users with better performance than networked storage
- DAS is particularly advantageous for applications that require high performance, making it a lucrative option for enterprises
DAS limits scalability due to various reasons:
- High capital expenditure (CapEx)
- Doesn’t offer easy management of individual storage devices across multiple computers
- Susceptibility to sophisticated security attacks.
- Disaster recovery performance and data management can incur additional costs, because of associated dependencies – software solutions, internal IT resources and third-party services
- It is not a practical solution for repetitive backup processes that have to run automatically and concurrently across multiple computers
- As if the threat of security attacks wasn’t enough, the convenient portability feature that DAS allows, unfortunately opens up devices to the threat of loss and theft.
- DAS provides hardly any data protection against on-site natural disasters
- Ad-hoc or batch backups to copy data doesn’t guarantee that you have up-to-date files.
If you have a business with minimal backup requirements, direct attach storage is a practical and cost-effective option. However, it must be noted that utilizing this backup option has to be done cautiously. Businesses considering going with DAS will have to maintain compliance and secure confidential business data against cyber attacks. Since DAS does not offer protection against natural disasters, companies should also consider locking away data in remote locations to secure it.
Virtualized Network Backup
Organizations that manage a huge amount of data require efficient, scalable, cost-effective, and secure systems. This is to manage, backup, and recover information from a network of systems with as little user intervention as possible.
Virtualization enables systems to share a reservoir of network-connected storage devices that seem to operate as a single storage unit.
- Organizations can scale storage capacity easily by connecting additional storage devices.
- High performance data transfer capabilities allow for quicker data recovery and minimize service interruptions in case data loss happens.
- Just like the DAS option, Virtualized Network Backup can incur high CapEx for large organizations, owing to the size and shifting data backup storage requirements.
- Businesses also have to use sophisticated security solutions to ensure data protection.
- Virtualization requires dedicated internal resources as well as third-party services and solutions to ensure better data management and recovery.
Truth is, you will have to spend a pretty penny on Virtualized Network Backup. Just like with DAS, the physical resources will have to be stored away across various remote locations to minimize damage from natural disasters. Organizations are also responsible for managing data, compliance, ensuring security for sensitive business data.
Network Attached Storage (NAS)
Network-attached storage (NAS) is a type of dedicated file storage device that provides local-area network local area network (LAN) nodes with file-based shared storage through a standard Ethernet connection. NAS directly connects to your network and can be remotely synced with other compatible NAS devices.
- Compared to the other options we have mentioned, NAS offers high capacity at relatively low costs. There is no licensing fees or hardware CapEx that a file server would incur.
- NAS offers multiple clients on the network access to the same files.
- It has done away with an enterprise’s need to separately configure and maintain thousands of individual file servers. Now, if you need additional storage capacity, you can simply supplement NAS appliances with bigger disks or combine them together to scale both vertically, as well as horizontally.
- One attractive benefit that many NAS vendors offer is that they partner with cloud storage providers, which essentially means that customers get an extra layer of redundancy.
- Unlike DAS, NAS offers the benefit of storing real time back-ups. This means files will always be kept up to date.
Regrettably, the drives are non-removable and can not be unplugged or moved to safe locations during an emergency.
NAS is an effective, scalable and low-cost storage solution for centralising data storage in a safe, reliable way and is rapidly growing in popularity. Providing access to company data can produce several competitive benefits – improving customer service, speeding up the sales cycle and so on, making it an advantageous solution for both enterprises and small businesses.
Which of these is right for your business?
We would like to reiterate the importance of having this important discussion on data backup options with the management. Backup and storage requirements vary from one business to the next. There is no “one size fits all” approach. However, you can consider opting for a hybrid approach to find the “perfect fit” for your specific organizational backup requirements.
There are a few factors to bear in mind when making this decision – volume of data and the level of sensitivity, number of storage locations you have, as well as your budget. Our recommendation for organizations with large volumes of data would be a series of NAS devices in various locations and connected over the Internet (or VPN).
If you would like to learn more about these or other data backup options available that will suit your organization, you can consider getting in touch with one of our IT experts.