By now, everyone should know the importance of backing up your files. It is insurance for your important data. It doesn’t take long to find stories about companies that were saved by having backups, or ruined because they did not have any. Here is a great video about one such company that was saved.
When choosing to backup your files, you essentially have two options: local or offsite backup. Each method has their benefits and weaknesses. Let’s go over the pros and cons of both options.
Retrieving your files is much faster than accessing them online. The connection between the local server and your computer will be much faster than an average internet connection. A local backup is also more secure from theft than an online storage. There is little risk of someone stealing your files when they are secured on a physical hard drive in your possession. While the initial cost can be expensive, it will likely be much cheaper in the long term to store your data on a local machine.
Physically handling the hardware can be cumbersome. If you store your information on an external hard drive, you will need to find a safe place to store it. If there is a lot of data that needs to be protected you may need multiple drives. Other types of physical storage can be even more problematic. If you save data onto a CD or DVD, this requires that you properly label and store the disks so that you do not lose them.
The largest concern of local storage backups is the risk of losing the data, either through misplacing it or by an event like a fire or flood. One common measure is to gather a fire-proof safe and storing important data in there.
Storing your data in an online, offsite location is one of the safest methods for protecting your data. If something were to damage your office or computer, you can have peace of mind knowing that your important information is still safe.
There is no initial investment required for storing your data off-site because you don’t need to purchase any hardware like you would with local backups. However, the cost may become more over time as most companies charge monthly fees.
Speed of retrieving data
Retrieving your data can be much slower when retrieving it from an off-site location. Some companies will have to recover the data for you, limiting the times that you can access your data to their office hours. Even if you do have access to your data, you are limited to the download speed of your internet, which can take a long time if you are storing large amounts of information.
Which should you choose?
It really comes down to what is right for your business. If there are large amounts of information that need to be saved regularly, it might be worth investing in some physical hard drives that you can set to auto backup whenever you need to. If you don’t need to backup large amounts of data, an online backup system may be more appropriate.
For some people, a hybrid approach may be more suited. Perform regular backups on a local hard drive, and less regular online. This will allow you to have easy access in case you need your information quickly, and it also protects you in case of events like natural disasters.