No system is infallible, and for professionals working in the data center this can ring especially true. With data storage acting as the lifeblood of an organization, threats to a system’s safety are rarely taken lightly. Downtime can be an enormous cost for an organization, and without adequate data backup, that cost can quickly lead to major revenue loss.

Yet data backup is not always enough to ensure business continuity. While there are several ways to back up data, there is only one in which business continuity is best assured, and that is by using a solution that taps a cloud-based system. The following “don’ts” of data backup will help you navigate various approaches to data recovery, potentially saving your company a lot of time, resources, and stress.

Don’t ignore the possibility that a disaster could be right around the corner.

Out of sight, out of mind isn’t always the best approach. Just because your organization is located in an area free from most storms or other extreme forces of nature does not mean that you can be lax in ensuring minimized downtime in the event of a system failure. Even if operating in a location safe from natural disasters excluded organizations from considering data backup a priority, the threats posed to systems from simple human error, network outages, and system failures still constitute valid risks to productivity. This strategy is reckless and naïve, and could end up costing your organization more resources than you can afford.

Ignoring the possibility of danger isn’t conducive to business continuity, as it fails to minimize downtime in the event of a lack of service; this, in turn, causes an organization to lose business. According to the Aberdeen Group, downtime costs midsize companies hundreds of thousands of dollars, and could exceed $650,000 per hour. Implementing a system that decreases downtime should be a top concern of any business, especially if it views itself as untouched by poor luck.


Don’t cause backup day to be “Throwback Thursday.”

Backing up data on tape is a strategy that has been in use for 40 years, and one that, for whatever reason, will not go away despite all the better ways to protect your data. The use of tape as a primary backup method can cause recovery time to stretch to a week, which isn’t a feasible option for most companies. Because it is done manually, using tape backup also carries an increased risk of human error, making the resulting product harder to test for reliability and possibly more prone to failure.

As with the previous method, business continuity is not achieved through a tape data recovery system, which can often pose a liability to continuous service through its lengthy recovery time. Businesses should look to leverage the cloud for backup and disaster recovery instead. With a cloud approach, you will have better peace of mind and automatic redundancy for your critical information. IDC Research clocks the average downtime during a server failure at approximately seven hours, with 18% of IT managers reporting it could take as long as 24 hours to be restored to full functionality. With tape backup, this process can take exponentially longer. Minimizing this time through a different system or strategy could be a deciding factor in whether your business sinks or swims in the data center.


Don't rely on manual backups.

Aside from relying on tape backups, businesses may also be under the impression that copying data to an external storage drive every few days will save money and avoid disaster recovery headaches. But should a person forget to manually back up critical files or skip a week, one outage can set a company back weeks. Business continuity is best achieved through a hybrid solution of local and cloud storage. The data is copied and stored locally for easy access, and a backup is processed in the cloud, providing off-site copies. This system decreases human error and allows for less downtime during a failure, potentially saving a company hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Businesses can also enlist the help of channel partners. These partners ensure that everything runs at peak performance and act as specialized go-betweens for enterprises looking to move from traditional backup to a different method that can capture more than just files. An image-based storage option allows IT teams to get exact replicas of what is stored on a server, such as its operating system and preferences, by taking a snapshot of data in its natural state. Teams that hold out for a solution that works as a virtual machine disk (VMDK) on the local device and the cloud can achieve a faster virtualization process, providing IT teams with the ability to restore the system in a matter of minutes instead of hours or days. Using a channel partner during this process can help a company determine the vulnerabilities in its critical data and find a solution to diminish the cost of its loss wherever possible.

Avoiding human error, improving security, verifying systems, data redundancy, and ensuring business continuity through smart solutions place your organization at an advantage during the event of a system failure. Make sure that the option you choose provides your company with complete business continuity that ensures that even if your organization isn’t infallible, it’s as close as it can be.