Guest Column | July 25, 2014

Which Backup Solution Is Right For Your Customer?

Dan Tully, executive vice president, Conduit Systems

By Dan Tully, executive vice president, Conduit Systems

For many enterprises, there may be nothing more important than having the right backup solution in place for their data. There are three basic enterprise backup solutions: traditional, cloud, and hybrid. All three have their merits depending on the needs of a company. Some considerations to think about while analyzing what solution is best for your client: what type of data do we need to store? Are we storing the entire data for a corporation or only certain data sets that are constantly changing? These answers can affect the solution you ultimately choose.

Traditional Tape Backup And Records Management

Traditional backup via tape is the decades-old standard and has been a reliable method for some time. The technique is efficient, consistent, and cost-effective. With its long shelf life and low cost, it remains an optimal data backup solution. Knowing exactly where your data is stored is another positive aspect. But with reliability comes the risk of latency. Data placed on tapes is slower to retrieve compared to more modern, digital solutions and it can have a high impact on network bandwidth. For companies that are storing and recovering a lot of data quickly, it may not be the best fit. For a company that needs to store large data sets without the need to frequently access them, tape backup can be a dependable option.

Cloud Backup

Companies have been reaching to the cloud for backing up data, and rightfully so. The data and information that businesses collect and retain can be their most precious commodity. Protecting it is essential. Cloud backup offers a low cost alternative to traditional methods with little upfront expense. When disaster strikes, the cloud offers a flexible recovery second-to-none. The combination of affordability and the ability to store large amounts of data is very enticing for many business leaders looking for efficiency. An added bonus? Employees can easily access the cloud and add new data to it. This creates an easier flow of information. Much like traditional tape backup, there can be downsides. The potential for data leakage may cause enterprises to take a second look. Protecting the data with specific employee guidelines is critical, especially for proprietary data. As a start, this can be mitigated by developing and implementing a centralized management policy.

Hybrid: Cloud-Integrated Backup

Not all companies are comfortable placing all their data in the cloud, which is understandable considering the aforementioned threat of data leakage. Cloud providers are now offering customizable solutions specifically for companies with this preference. The hybrid cloud-integrated backup approach simplifies backup by providing seamless access to data while providing an invaluable tool for ensuring continuity when faced with an emergency. With the installation of an appliance on-premise (physical or virtual), a cache of information is collected, duplicated, and pushed to the cloud in real-time for storage. This is true disaster recovery in every sense of the term. When catastrophe strikes, the most up-to-date information is readily available to be pulled down on to a new server. There are other key benefits to the hybrid approach, such as encrypting key data sets and segregating different data types. For companies that may lack access to data centers in certain locations, storing such data in the cloud makes the most sense.

There are certain features to consider including as part of the backup plan selected. Data encryption of key data is essential because it provides control over who can view the data. Limiting access to backup is equally important, whether on-premise or cloud-based. While having the flexibility of giving employee access to data backup is preferred, controlling who has access can significantly reduce the chances of the data being compromised.

Between these three solutions, business leaders are likely to find the perfect solution for their situation. The hybrid approach offers the most flexibility for data backup, but the traditional and cloud backup options also come with strong benefits. In the end, do what is best for your company and the data you would like to keep safe from disaster. No matter the route companies ultimately take, recognizing the importance of data backup is a step in the right direction.

Dan Tully is executive vice president of Conduit Systems, an IT management services firm headquartered in Lincoln, R.I. Tully brings more than 20 years of computing experience to his customer base. Utilizing a consultative, business-savvy approach, he has assisted some of the area’s largest companies to address complex, technology-based issues. To reach him, email ddtully@conduitsystems.com.

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