Starting a Business – Top Ten IT needs – Backup

If your new business is going to be hiring staff any time soon, you’ll probably find at that point that you can’t get away with running it out of your garage.  In this blog post series we’ll be covering the top ten IT products and services that you’re likely to need as you grow the business.  Check here if you missed the first part of the series.

9.  Backup

Doing backups to your USB stick or external hard drive is one thing.  Having a properly monitored backup system is another.  If you are planning to, or are already using a server in your business, manual backups that you do yourself whenever you remember are no longer a safe option.

It’s at this point that you will need to understand the difference between backups, disaster recovery, and business continuity.  The easy version is this:  Backups are a part of Disaster Recovery,  and Disaster Recovery is a part of Business Continuity.  Backups alone do not constitute a disaster recovery plan, and a disaster recovery plan alone is not a business continuity plan.  Here’s a backup whitepaper that explains what I mean in more detail.

The other key component in all of this is Monitoring.  Once you graduate from backing up files from your PC to doing server backups, keeping track of whether everything is working and backing up the correct data each and every day becomes far more challenging.  You either need a system that reports to you in a way that you understand, or a provider that you trust to keep things on track (or both – a provider that reports on the status of your backup).

A top-notch provider should also be performing regular (quarterly?) tests of your backup and disaster recovery systems to ensure that you will actually be able to use the data in the event of an emergency.

Here’s some links for your further reading:

How much downtime can your small business afford?

Whitepaper:  Improving your Backup and Disaster Recovery Strategy

Three Small Business Trends in 2012

Next time we’ll look at Number 8 – Copiers & Printers.