Things you need to know about data backup

As the world becomes increasingly digitised, it is becoming more and more important to keep all data safe and accessible. Whilst modern technology is equipped to store data securely, it is also a good idea to consider how best to create a backup of your data in case things go wrong – either due to a human or machine error!

Backups used to take place most frequently through creating extra physical copies of your data on an external hard drive, for example. But that has started to shift, so today there are different backup types and backup procedures today. Let’s look at a backup definition as well as reasons to backup, before reviewing some modern backup technologies.

data backup graphic with person in business environment

Importance of data backups

A backup definition in our specific context is a secure copy of data which you consider important. Finding a backup technology that suits you is an important part of choosing how to back up your data, but let’s look at the reasons why you should backup your data first.

More than half of the small businesses that suffer a data breach eventually fold1. It is expensive to recover data, but it is often much more expensive to lose it, and this is one of the main reasons to back up. If for example the customer base is stored digitally and this is permanently lost, it could do lasting damage to a business. Having a separate copy of data means that even if in the worst case, there’s still a safety net and everything that was lost can be recovered without paying lots of money in the process.

Backup technologies

There are many different ways to keep your data safe, but the main distinction is between cloud backups and physical backups. Let’s take a look at both, considering their strengths and weaknesses.

Backing up data physically, whether for personal or professional use, will usually be done with an external hard drive. There are two types of external drives - HDD and SDD. An SSD comes at a higher cost, but will also work a lot more smoothly and is quicker. A physical backup is simple and affordable – and if there is certainty that it can be kept safe and accessible, it is a great way to have a second copy of data.

Unfortunately, physical data backups also come with their pitfalls. For one, if the loss of all data occurs due to office flooding, for example, then not only nd the hardware might be damaged, but it’s highly likely that physical external hard drives have been destroyed. Plus, a physical hard drive is liable to be lost or stolen, meaning that the second copy of the data is at risk of falling into criminal hands. This is one of the downsides of physical data backups, which is perhaps why cloud-based backups are becoming ever more popular.

Cloud backup technologies are virtualised backup solutions. These backup types are more suited to a professional environment due to the fact that the storage possibilities are almost unlimited. One option is the increasingly popular Backup as a service. Finding a good cloud storage provider also means that a business doesn’t need to worry about doing data backups, but can outsource this task to the service provider. Yes, the associated costs with cloud storage will be higher in the long run when compared to physical backup solutions. However, if lots of data needs backing up regularly, a cloud solution might just trump the physical backup type.

To summarise the main differences between physical and cloud storage, we can think of physical data backups as an ideal backup solution for private individuals or smaller businesses. They can also be a necessity in areas with limited bandwidth. However, not only is there is a higher risk of loss or theft with a physical backup, doing regular backups is also time-consuming and is easily forgotten. Cloud backups are great for higher volumes of data, offer an increased level of security, and a hassle-free, regular service. But of course, they can be more expensive in the long run than physical data backups. Your IT partner will be happy to do an assessment and suggest the best solution for the specific needs of your company.