When it comes to the backup of data, it seems that we are constantly bombarded by technologies, speeds and feeds, expensive and low cost solutions, and the task of choosing the best option out there. We all know backup is important, but sometimes I think that because backup is such a main focus for so many vendors, we often forget WHY we backup in the first place. (So now everyone is saying, “to recover data you idiot.” Keep reading…) The fact of the matter is that many small-to-midsized businesses (SMBs) trust their IT tasks to only one or two people where many of the responsibilities of data backup are overlooked. If you are consistently finding yourself in this situation, you might want to check with a backup service provider.
Because the IT department of SMBs is often minuscule, its workers are often heavily over-tasked and data backup is just one of those routine tasks at the end of the day. Not only are IT employees overwhelmed with duties, more often than not they’re break/fix because of being under-budgeted and under-resourced. So at 5:00pm every day, IT has to go into the server room/wiring closet and put in today’s backup tape in hopes that a successful backup is completed by the morning. Sounds simple enough right? The chaos often comes when businesses close or when IT employees have gone home for the day.
When the IT staff is away, data backup duties are generally delegated to the office manager. Here’s a hypothetical instance outlining this situation with an SMB we will creatively call Company A. Prior to taking a vacation, Company A’s lone IT staffer decides to hold a quick meeting to show the office manager where the tapes are located, and what to do on a daily basis in order to perform a backup. The IT guru then leaves and heads for the Bahamas. Missing anything? Yes!
Unfortunately what that IT person FAILS to do is show the office manager how to RECOVER data and systems should a data disaster occur. A backup is useless if your staff is unable to recover anything from it. So how does showing Company A’s office manager how to backup protect the business from downtime should there be a data or system loss event? IT DOESN’T! What if the IT person was out for an entire week and the company lost their Exchange, SQL or another critical server on day one? With IT out, and the office manager not knowing how to recover data, how is Company A expected to continue operations?
I hope that if you’ve gotten this far in this story your head is nodding in agreement to some degree.
Now, let’s look at this exact same scenario if the IT staff from the same SMB Company offloaded the mundane task of backup to a service provider. No need to have to worry about that tape at 5:00pm every day. No need to hope and pray for a successful backup job to be completed the next morning as a service provider monitors this on your behalf. No need to worry about having to go and ask for capital budget because you have out-dated backup hardware. No need to worry when going on vacation (and yes, IT guys worry about things going wrong when they go on vacation), and as a major timesaver, you wouldn’t need to train any staff on the intricacies of data backup and recovery.
Tyler Fergusson is currently a Regional Sales Manager for Asigra, Inc. He specializes in storage and backup/recovery space. Over the years, Tyler has helped dozens of managed service providers across the Americas improve backup/recovery service practices. You can follow Tyler on Twitter at http://twitter.com/#!/CanadaCloudGuy or read his blog on the Asigra corporate website http://www.asigra.com/blog/4