By Dr. Marc M. Batschkus
Small businesses face a lot of challenges. They have to compete with their services and presentation against much bigger companies. And, sometimes they want to look bigger than they are to attract customers.
Their data and IT play a central role and have to be efficient to achieve that. Small businesses need to keep costs low. This is also true for their backup solution.
Data protection is crucial. Reliability for their work and towards their customers is a core asset, and data needs to be accessible at all times.
So, the question is: How to create a small business backup strategy that best supports the small businesses’ work?
There are two main categories of IT setups that need to be backed up: servers and virtualised servers. Archiware has solutions for both. Let’s first have a look at the criteria a backup as to fulfill.
Important Small Business Backup Strategy Criteria
Automate as much as possible for maximum reliability. Only an automatic backup will protect data reliably. Any manual process will be skipped or postponed sooner or later.
The backup runs should avoid production time (i.e., run overnight and weekends). To avoid any impact on the actual production, the backup should make use of times with less or no production taking place.
Create step-by-step documentation of how to restore files. This is important so that everyone can get their files back whenever need be and independent of a specific person.
The chance of mishaps increases with deadline pressure and when people might work late. In this case, the person that set up the system might not be there, but files need to be recovered. For this, simple documentation of all steps needed is essential. Make it available to all involved.
Use different media technologies to balance technology risks. Having enough copies of important files and on the right media provides maximum security. To achieve this, there is the 3-2-1- rule.
Keep 3 copies of each file on 2 different media technologies (like hard disk and SSD or hard disk and Cloud) with 1 stored offsite.
It is crucial to regularly test the restore process once the backup is deployed and runs. This ensures that all parts work together as intended and that files are actually accessible when needed.
- Automate the backup
- Avoid production hours for backup
- Document the restore process
- Run a full test of backup and restore before deployment
- Create enough copies: 3-2-1 rule, 3 copies on 2 media technologies (disk+tape, disk+cloud), 1 stored off-site
- Regularly test restore to ensure operability
Best Practices for a Small Business Backup Strategy
The NAS as a Backup Server
With NAS systems—being extremely capable and having low cost—it is possible to have a NAS as backup server.
Archiware P5 is available in the QNAP and Synology App Center and installs directly on the NAS. From there, it can back up data to the NAS, to Cloud, and with compatible QNAP products even on LTO tape. This serves the cost for a dedicated server, OS license, and maintenance.
Backup to the Cloud
Archiware P5 Backup supports all storage options, being able to back up to disk, NAS, tape, and Cloud storage. Cloud storage has the advantage of always being immediately available in any capacity and without ordering, delivery, physical installation, and upfront investment. This makes it an attractive option for SMBs. Archiware P5 Backup supports Amazon S3 and Glacier, Microsoft Azure, Backblaze B2, Hitachi S3, Wasabi, generic S3, and others.
Backup to LTO tape
The most professional backup and archive medium is also the cheapest, LTO Tape. P5 Backup supports LTO drives and libraries and scales into the petabytes. LTO tape has many benefits:
- The proven life span of 30 years,
- lowest cost per TB, built-in air gap for maximum security,
- easy offsite storage,
- easy scalability (just add tapes), and
- high performance of up to 360MB/s read/write on a single drive.
Discover more on Why Choose LTO Tape?
Backup for VMware
Virtualisation has spread to almost all environments. Having one physical machine providing multiple services/servers has many advantages.
Snapshots are a means to be able to go back to a specific state of the setup. Snapshots are not a backup because they rely on the setup to work flawlessly. This is precisely what is not available when something goes wrong and files become inaccessible.
For this reason, the VMware needs a dedicated and specialised backup solution. Archiware´s Pure is one of the easiest VMware Backup solutions available. Pure is available for free and unlimited features and scale. A professional support package is available.
For small businesses, having a professional automatic backup is a must. The benefits of having reliable access to all files at all times, even if something goes wrong, is tremendous. With some planning ahead, it efficiently protects data and ongoing production while running invisibly in the background.