Is Data Backup and Disaster Recovery an Expense… or a Way to Save Your Business Money?

For as much as businesses spend on technology, it would be natural to assume that the hardware they buy is going to work the way it’s supposed to once it’s installed in an office or facility, right? Unfortunately, that’s not always the case… and when it doesn’t, the costs to an organization can be enormous, or even deadly.

If you think that might be a little bit of an exaggeration, think again. An unexpected data loss, due to an office fire, theft, electrical surge, or other garden-variety disaster, can absolutely do big damage to your business – or even put you out of business.

To understand why, you have to realize that there are two categories of costs associated with lost data and damaged hardware:

The First Cost Associated With Lost Data is Monetary

Just as you might expect, losing access to important information costs your business money in a very real and tangible way. Right away, there are the expenses associated with finding new drives, backup systems, servers, and/or storage media. The expense of these items alone can be staggering, with a single piece of new hardware often running into the tens of thousands of dollars. Those losses should be significant enough themselves for businesses to consider protection.

The second immediate expense has to do with the havoc that is caused by lost files, information, and communications. These could include emails, invoices, and even sensitive customer records. Losing any of these, even temporarily, could put an enormous dent in your company’s cash flow. And, depending on the severity of the data loss, you might not ever be able to recover all of the money that slips through your fingers when important files disappear.

The Second Set of Costs Are Hidden, Yet More Significant

If you were developing a spreadsheet of expenses associated with a failed piece of data storage equipment, the first two items we mentioned would undoubtedly show up on the list, and would probably have significant dollar amounts attached to them. And yet, there are a couple of other expenses that would be even larger, even though they would be more difficult to calculate.

The first is unplanned downtime. That is, the hours (or days and weeks) that your staff spends not working to their fullest capabilities, and possibly not even working at all. Add in the overhead associated with utilities, office space leasing, etc., and it’s easy to see why these costs could quickly dwarf anything you actually spend on hardware or IT help.

Even more importantly, when data is lost the credibility of your company takes a severe hit as well. Regardless of what kinds of precautions you took beforehand, customers, vendors, and colleagues don’t feel as comfortable working with you, or may decide (fairly or not) that their account information isn’t secure enough with your company. Who knows what kinds of long-term bottom-line repercussions that kind of negative attention could have?

The Easy Solution to Lost Data Costs

Although a lot of business owners and executives like to assume that their data is safe because they have never had a problem in the past, that philosophy puts the future of their companies in serious doubt. The smarter option is to explore colocation at a Canadian data centre, where they can enjoy cost savings, hardware upgrades, and automatic backups as part of a single package.

With this kind of configuration, files are archived securely on a regular basis. In the event that you do experience some kind of important data loss within your office, or with another piece of technology, turnkey recovery services mean you can usually be back online – and fully restored – within a matter of minutes. Best of all, costs are extraordinarily reasonable, and there aren’t any complicated setup or configuration procedures.

In this way, colocation services are virtually bound to save your business money in the long term. In fact, you can think of integrated data backup and disaster recovery as a form of life insurance for your company. You might hope to never need or use them, but you’ll certainly be glad you’re protected when the unexpected strikes.

Want to know more about colocation, Canadian data centres, or data backup and disaster recovery? Come back to our blog next week for more great tips!

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Top 5 Common Data Archiving Mistakes

Protecting your company’s data is imperative these days. As businesses continue to move to a virtual environment, it’s important to ensure that all information has been archived properly. Otherwise, you risk losing everything. We’ve created a list of the most common data arching mistakes. Take a look to ensure you’re not falling victim to any of these blunders.

  1. Implementing Only One Backup: If a disruption occurs, you don’t want to have to rely on a single backup connection. Employing more than one backup will provide greater peace of mind, and keep your data safe.
  2. Failing to Test Backups: Putting backups in place is only the first step. The second step is making sure they actually work. After putting all the time and money into employing a disaster recovery plan, it would be a waste if it didn’t work. Protect your data by testing and retesting your backup to ensure effectiveness.
  3. Keeping Too Few or Too Many Copies: We understand that space is at a premium, but storing only a minimal amount of data can hurt you later on. For example, the more copies you store – the greater your chance of recovery. On the other hand, saving copies of everything isn’t effective either. We recommend creating a retention policy, which is a formal plan to preserve information. Combined with a long-term and short-term backup policy, your company will have a more effective recovery experience.
  4. Neglecting Other Departments: Although providing backup and disaster recovery is primarily the job of IT, it’s important to include all departments in the backup process. Each department will have their own data that needs to be preserved. IT will need to learn how other departments create data, what information they need access to and what legal concerns they have regarding data retention.
  5. Not Taking Security Measures Seriously: It can be easy to turn a blind eye and assume that a disaster will never impact your company, but that’s one of the worst things you can do. Being careless will negatively impact your company later on if a disaster were to occur.

Your company will need to utilize a colocation facility in order to store all your company data offsite. Trying to keep all your data onsite isn’t only time consuming – but defeats the purpose of backing up your data. Using an offsite facility will keep your information safe if anything were to happen to your office location.

To learn about data center facilities in your area, click here.

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The Cost of Owning and Managing Your Own Data Center

With the growing popularity and practicality of data centers growing, it makes sense that businesses are interested in owning their own data center facility. However, owning and operating a data center is not cheap, and the few companies that do didn’t start out owning their data center – it took a lot of time and money.

Several companies that currently own their data center started out by leasing hardware. As the need for more space developed, these companies would then naturally progress to colocation services before eventually storing their data in house – in their own data center. However, it can take quite a lot of time to recoup costs after purchasing or constructing a data center facility.

Many businesses have the perception that they’ll save a great deal on costs if they own a data center, but they won’t save any money unless they have a large customer base and recurring revenue. Also, it’s important to note that the savings won’t happen immediately. It would take quite a long time before a company saw a return on their data center facility investment.

There is a significant upfront cost, which includes purchasing the hardware, servers, equipment, and structure required to house everything. In addition to the initial cost of owning a data center, there are several ongoing costs that will delay any return on investment. Ongoing operational costs include:

  • Data Center Employees
  • Power – as well as any back up power sources, such as generators or batteries
  • Internet service, networking, switches, routers
  • Security System, which may involve outsourcing your alarm and monitoring system to a professional security company
  • Facility costs, such as property taxes, mortgage, or lease payment

So, for those companies who are looking to save on data center costs by purchasing their own, we recommend using colocation instead. By storing your information in a colocation facility, your company will see cost savings immediately.

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Four Common Myths About Data Protection

Protecting your company’s data is more important than ever these days. In many cases, a particular business may not even be able to operate unless is has access to it’s data and information. Even those companies who specialize in producing material goods have a majority of their business located in a virtual environment.

Think about your own workplace for a moment; how many elements are virtualized? Off the top of my head, my list includes electronic pay stubs, direct deposit, all communications (email, intranet, direct messages), vacation management, and the list goes on. So, for example, if something were to happen to the data at my office, I could lose track of my vacation time, lose the ability to view my pay stubs, lose my direct deposit capability, and lose the ability to send and receive communications. And I’m one person out of approximately 175 employees.

To help you ensure that your company’s data isn’t compromised, and to avoid a scenario similar to the one mentioned above, we’ve compiled four common myths about data security among IT administrators.

  1. The technology isn’t up-to-date. Several IT administrators believe that their technology can’t keep up with the abilities of hackers. However – typically, the technology is fine – it’s just misconfigured or unnecessarily complicated. One of the biggest challenges faced by IT is the increasing complexity found among the different layers of security and administrators. So there’s no need for your business to employ costly or complicated countermeasures to protect themselves again hackers – all that’s required is more vigilance and a simplified system.
  2. A majority of cyber attacks are very sophisticated. As much as IT members underestimate their own technology, they overestimate the capabilities of hackers. Not all hackers are as skilled or infamous as the Anonymous group or Gottfrid Svartholm – many of them breach your company’s system through easy points of access. IT administrators sometime accidentally leave easy loopholes for hackers, allowing them to penetrate without much resistance. Businesses need to be more thorough when testing their systems for weak points.
  3. Network controls are useless. Although several hacking attempts come through port 80 (the port that a Web server uses to communicate with a Web client), there are still several ways for a company to protect themselves. Different firewalls and whitelisting methods are available to stop malware and other potential threats from entering the system.
  4. Patching your systems is an effective way of preventing data breaches. While there’s a time and a place to use patching, it’s not the solution to every problem. Patches need to be tested for quality assurance prior to deployment, and by the time they’re put in place, there’s another thing that needs patching. This method should be used sparingly, not as an overall solution.

 

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