Which Backup Media Is Right For You?

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Twenty years ago, backup media was easy to get your head around. Floppy Disk, Iomega, CD and Tape Drives, nothing to it.

Nowadays there’s so much more – what method of backup to use, where the backups are stored, how the backups are taken, when they are taken and how the backups are tested to ensure they are restorable.

Floppy disks and Iomega have gone the way of the dodo, but let’s look at current backup media still in use

  • USB Stick
  • Internal Hard Drive (via RAID)
  • External Hard Drive
  • NAS
  • CD / DVD (some people still use it!)
  • High Speed Tape Drives
  • Remote Backup Services
  • Syncing over internet (OneDrive, Google Drive etc.)
  • Cloud Backup

Each of these methods has its place depending on many factors, but don’t fool yourself thinking that a cheaper version will be ‘OK’ - It rarely is.

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Considerations when deciding on a backup media type

Type of backup

Whether you are backing up hourly or daily and what sort of files you are backing up should help determine what backup media to use. For example, if you have a large amount of data requiring a nightly backup, then you could not use DVDs.

Backup Media Cost

It is important to factor in the cost of backup media, as well as the number of devices you require to ensure a consistent and effective backup process.

Backup data security

Identifying what is backed-up and how sensitive that data is can help you decide the most appropriate backup media. If your data is integral to your business, don’t sacrifice quality for savings.

Restorability

You need to weigh the risk of your selected media - how often will a restore fail per 1000 times it is tried? Each type of backup media has its own pros and cons and you need to investigate them properly to make an informed decision.

Hardware Redundancy

Ensuring that your hardware is not going to become redundant over time is extremely important when choosing a media type. Five years down the line, you may need to restore data which seems recent today, and the hardware may be considered obsolete with the restore devices hard to find. Restoring from a 3.5” floppy disk today would not be the easiest task.

Restore speed and time

Depending on the data, whether it is ‘mission critical’ or whether you can do without for a day or more, all plays a part on which backup media to use and what processes to put in place. Consider putting your crucial servers on a quicker restoring media where possible.

These are only a few considerations when looking at backup media. You need to see the complete picture and envision where your organisation might be in five to ten years’ time. If you think back on how things have changed since the 1990s, you can appreciate that being open to new ideas and processes could not only save you time, but also money.

For more information on back-up software and processes, get in touch with one of our highly experienced staff today. 

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