Backup options for the truly small business

Great lakes Data SecurityMany computing options for small- and medium-sized businesses appear to be aimed at companies that have 50 or even 100 computers running on an integrated network complete with a server.  For some SMBs, however, such a company would not appear to be a “small” business at all.  Firms that have only a few computers also experience a pressing need to keep their systems backed up; even a business operating with only a single standalone system must find ways to ensure data security to protect both its own interests and those of its customers.

What are the options for small network backup, then?

Local hard media options

Any computer with a DVD-writer can burn information onto a DVD disk to create a durable backup copy.  This simple option generally requires very little IT expertise to carry out, but it comes with serious drawbacks for the small business.  DVD backups are likely to be wildly out of date when data recovery is needed since the process of making such backups is time-consuming and disrupts regular workflow.

If businesses are diligent about updating backups daily, this option comes with large costs since employee time must be dedicated to it each time.  The cost of DVDs will also add up, even if the disks are bought in bulk at a low per-item cost.

Network attached storage

Instead of using a DVD burner, a small business can consider purchasing a hardware device that can function as network attached storage.  These simple backup devices can be attached to a single computer if desired, or they can serve networks as small as two or three systems.

With network attached storage, automatic backups can be programmed to run on their own, which reduces the employee-time costs of getting data properly archived for use should data recovery become necessary.  A major drawback of this approach, however, is the fact that the device in question will be resident on the premises of the business.  Events such as theft or fire that could affect primary computer systems are likely to affect the backup device as well, leaving businesses without a reliable set of backup data.

Remote hosting

Any computer connected to the World Wide Web can take advantage of a more recent advance in SMB data backup options.  Remote hosting services allow businesses to use online backup.  This type of backup can be configured to run largely on its own, taking advantages of the cost savings offered by automation.  With online backup, data is stored away from the business customer, which renders it much more able to withstand local problems such as a flood caused by a broken water pipe.

These options are not mutually exclusive; it is perfectly possible to have, for example, network attached storage on site and to also back up files online for an additional layer of data security.

Compare Data BackUp Software Options

Download the WHITEPAPER “Comparison and Performance Analysis of Backup and Disaster Recovery Software” for an independent assessment of backup and disaster recovery software solutions performed by David Bourgeois, President of My IT, LLC. In this first hand account, the author evaluates performance limitations of Acronis imaging software, ARCserve tape software, MS SQL Backup for SQL, and MIMS offsite.