This is Part 2 of our 3-part series on IT Managed Services.
If you’re still asking yourself “what exactly are Managed IT services?” we suggest you start with Part 1 of our series.
Managed IT Services are available for a wide variety of IT systems and needs relevant to small businesses. This series covers the 3 most important types of services when it comes to your business’s bottom line: IT Security, Data Protection, and Remote Monitoring/Management.
Today’s topic: everything you need to know about Data Protection.
There are two essential items that are necessary for every small business – (1) Data Protection, and (2) Disaster Recovery. How a company protects its data and where they choose to store it can make or break a business. But the unfortunate truth is that when it comes to data loss, it’s not a matter of IF but a matter of WHEN. That’s why it’s vital that your company have both a protection system for mitigating the risk of data loss, and a solid recovery plan for when disaster strikes.
Data Protection is an essential part of every single business. The old saying for data storage is “Store your data in 3 places.” Traditionally, this means all your company’s data is duplicated (1) on-premise e.g.(to a server or external hard drive) so that the data is easily retrievable, (2) off-premise e.g.(in a data center off-site) in case of fire or natural disaster at the office, and (3) in the cloud, so that if something happens at the office and the data center, you can still get your data recovered This process is intensive – redundantly backing up all data from one place to the next can be overly complex for small business owners.
While the old way is to store your data in 3 places, the new standard is to store it in 2. If you store your items on-premise (which most companies do), the next most valuable spot is the cloud. Companies like Amazon and Datto provide excellent services that store data for pennies per Gigabyte per month. Pairing this with software that uploads incrementally to the cloud as you save documents ensures that your data is safe and secure.
Side-Note: I feel that it is important to talk about security when sending your private data to the cloud. The two companies mentioned earlier, Amazon and Datto, both encrypt data during transport and storage, so the likelihood the data will be compromised is almost zero.
Within the IT world, Disaster Recovery is the hardest failure to plan for. When a hard drive starts to fail, you have a very small window of time to retrieve the data it contains before it is lost for good. Miss that window, and it could cost hundreds – if not thousands – of dollars to get the data back. If you have a proper data protection system in place, your data can be restored from cloud storage. However, every hour that your company has to wait to become productive again can also cost your business thousands of dollars.
This is where on-premise backup appliances come in. If you have mission critical systems on-premise (i.e. servers and data storage devices) a smart way to make sure that your company never has downtime is to purchase a backup appliance. What the backup appliance can do for your business is act like the backup quarterback. It will be over on the sidelines, reading the playbook (storing a live image of your current server environment) and waiting for the coach (your IT company) to put it in the game when the starting QB gets hurt. The backup appliance is essential for businesses that are high volume, as it can pay for itself within the first hour of downtime.
Data Protection is the most expensive service of the 3 types of service we are going to cover, but the price to protect your data pales in comparison to the cost of data loss or production loss. The bottom line here is: protect your data with appropriate backup methods so that when disaster strikes, you can stay productive on essentials while your IT company gets you back to running 100%.