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Off-site Data Backups: Enterprise Level Data Protection for Small Businesses

written by: •edited by: Bill Bunter•updated: 11/17/2011
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Think data loss. Natural disasters, viruses, worms, trojans, hardware theft, disgruntled employees, hard drive failure ... the list goes on. Protect yourself by utilizing the same backup processes as large enterprises with simple implementation and without the purchase of additional hardware.

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    Hurricane Preparedness and Data Protection

    I moved from Indianapolis to Orlando just three weeks before Hurricane Wilma whipped through South Florida in 2005.

    After watching the media coverage of Hurricane Katrina’s wrath, I became very conscious of weather disasters. Growing up in the Midwest, I have seen the damage that tornadoes can cause but I was both anxious and thrilled to experience a hurricane for the first time. The winds in my neighborhood merely knocked over some outdoor furniture and terrified my roommate’s cats; however, many were left without power for weeks, 23 people lost their lives and thousands of homes and business lost everything.

    Being prepared for such a loss should be at the forefront of every business owner’s mind. Insurance can replace servers, workstations and filing cabinets, but not their contents.

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    Off-Site Data Storage

    Storing backups of your data off-site can greatly reduce or eliminate the threat that natural disasters, data corruption and hardware theft pose to the digital property that each and every one of us own.

    One simple approach is to backup data to CD, DVD, Flash or external hard drive. Creating a backup schedule and sticking to it requires discipline, but knowing that your business will retain invoices, customer contacts and other records during a worst-case scenario will bring peace of mind when the sirens start wailing.

    For the admirable entrepreneur who works out of their home, finding a safe, off-site storage location may not be easy. Safe-deposit boxes are not always convenient, and the chore of repetitively driving to another location to simply store a data device will become tiring and cumbersome in a very short time. In the event of a large-scale disaster such as Katrina, data in both locations may be lost or damaged.

    Large enterprises often duplicate their data in several geographically diverse locations, and this data protection ability is now readily available to small or mid-sized businesses - and even single users and sole proprietors.If you point your browser to your favorite search engine, look for “remote internet backup" to find companies that offer the service.

    Some services require software to backup and restore your data, while a few allow you to log in to your account through a web browser and download files from any computer. These services will automatically backup your data over the Internet, securely and quickly.

    Data is encrypted using secure algorithms that utilize a user-created password to ensure maximum privacy, and compressed to increase speed and minimize bandwidth usage. Be sure to look for a data protection company that offers incremental backups (which only send changed files), data encryption, scheduled automatic backups and reasonable fees for adding more storage space.

    Most online backup vendors also offer versioning, which will allow you to step back through several revisions of a single file. This is extremely helpful when you accidentally delete records from a database or when a file becomes corrupted prior to a previous backup.

    Sharing data between other employees and giving access from remote locations can be extremely helpful to some business owners. All of the major PC vendors have begun offering this service, so ask for discounted rates when you purchase your next laptop or desktop.

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    Everyone Is Susceptible to Data Loss

    While you may not reside in an area known for inclement weather or natural disasters, everyone is susceptible to data loss from viruses, hardware failure and theft. Make your critical data bulletproof by using encryption, password-protection and regular backups.

    Utilizing an automatic online data protection service is just as important as buying insurance, with a much lower price tag!

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