You can’t move forward
without backing up
Alan Zisman (c) 2006 First published in Business
March 28-April 3, 2006; issue 857
High Tech Office column;
the years, I’ve concluded that backing up data is like dental hygiene:
not something that most of us particularly like to do, but a relatively
minor chore if it’s done regularly. If it’s ignored, however, it will
almost certainly result in major pain in the future.
too many of us put off regular backup hygiene. Some estimates suggest
up to 70 per cent of businesses – particularly small and mid-sized
companies – aren’t backing up at all. Other estimates claim that among
businesses that lose their data for 10 days or more, half file for
bankruptcy almost immediately and 93 per cent are bankrupt within a
engineering firm Condor Rebar
Consultants investigated backup options.
It concluded that, though widely used, tape backups were difficult to
manage and unreliable. Mirroring – making a duplicate of one computer’s
data on another – led to problems: if a file was deleted on the first
computer, it was also erased on the mirror. Storing large amounts of
data online was expensive and impractical.
hardware and software systems were too expensive. Ultimately, Condor
chose to design its own; after fine-tuning it on-site, it has begun to
market its DataVault backup system to other small and mid-sized
on to DataVault gives each client a pair of tiny Linux-powered
dedicated backup computers and a pair of external USB 2.0 hard drives.
One system remains on site, the other is kept at a remote location like
the owner’s home.
backed up data is readily accessed using simple Windows File Sharing or
password-protected FTP. While being transferred between the on-site and
remote locations, data is protected with secure 1024-bit encryption.
an initial full backup, only changed data is backed up; it is
compressed for transmission to the remote location, minimizing the time
to transfer the data. Hardware and data is owned by the clients and
stored only at the clients’ locations. With this system, a client
maintains two backups of its current data along with an archive of
changes. This archive can be kept as long as needed, something that’s
becoming increasingly important with stiffer regulations affecting many
industries. As the external hard drives fill up, they can be replaced
and stored as a data library. Many backup schemes require users to
install recovery software first in order to retrieve data. With
DataVault, the stored data is not in any proprietary format and can be
opened using standard applications. DataVault uses powerful but easy to
use open source Cobian Backup, but clients can use other backup
programs as long as they can be set to backup to the shared network
hard drive. The initial $1,000 setup cost includes installation and
hardware. Condor also charges a $150 monthly fee.
hopes to provide customized, automated systems for small to mid-sized
businesses. Smaller or home-based offices may prefer to create their
own, combining software such as the free Cobian Backup for Windows or
Silverkeeper for Mac with an external hard drive. If relatively small
amounts of data are involved, consider an online backup, such as
Toronto-based Acpana Data
Deposit Box, which costs about $0.01 per
megabyte per month (www.datadepositbox.com)
or iBackup (about $120 per
year for five gigabytes: www.ibackup.com).
data is vital to your business. If you’re not regularly backing
it up, it’s time to improve your backup hygiene.