How you decide what is the best data storage for your business comes down to what you really need, as well as what you would be most comfortable with using. You have the option of using either on-site data storage or the cloud, however there are pros and cons for both.
On-site Data Storage:
Requires an in-house server, computers, or other hardware to store your data.
You will need to purchase your own hardware and software.
It is necessary to ensure that you regularly invest in, maintain, upgrade and replace your infrastructure as necessary.
You will have to buy additional equipment if needed. For example, if your storage requirements increase beyond your current capacity.
Security – If you keep your hardware and data within your company it remains completely in your control. Just remember to take sensible security precautions. All critical data will be kept on site, which may be more beneficial for your business.
Control – As you own the hardware and software, as well as decide where the data is and who is managing it you are in complete control of every aspect of your IT systems.
Access – As your hardware is on-site then you are not reliant on internet connection, so all employees based at your site will always have access to the data, and it can be faster if you are dealing with large files.
Cost – It may well be more cost effective for a small to mid-size business to have all of your data in-house.
Remote access – You must rely on suitable technology being implemented, or remote access to on-site servers can often be more complicated and slower than cloud solutions.
Cost – The initial outlay of purchasing, then maintaining and regularly replacing your own hardware and equipment for the latest and most up to date versions requires a regular capital investment and ongoing operating expenditure.
Space – Dependant on the size of your business you will need dedicated storage space for all of your equipment, which may can be a problem in smaller buildings or offices.
Data loss – You may be more susceptible to data loss if it is all kept onsite, unless you have a recovery plan in place with an offsite backup.
Cloud-based data storage:
Uses remote servers or hardware that is maintained by a 3rd party service provider.
You will need to buy the specific amount of storage space and bandwidth required.
Accessing your data will be via the internet.
Flexibility – You can access your data at anywhere and at any time. All you need is an internet connection. If you require more storage space, then you just buy it as needed.
Cost – Cloud based data storage means that you do not need to purchase your own hardware and software. Ongoing costs are often lower than the costs of maintaining your own IT infrastructure.
Backup – Can be done frequently, which would minimise data loss in disaster situations.
Security – Although you have greater flexibility you also have greater risk. Cloud storage often uses multiple providers and shared resources, meaning that it may be more easily accessed by people outside of your organisation. This can be reduced by using a private cloud rather than a public one.
Downtime – As you are more reliant on an internet connection your access to cloud servers can be more susceptible to power and line outages and downtime.
Storage – The data centre you use may still have storage limits due to space availability and cost.
Internet access – If the internet goes down at either the data site or your own site you will not have access to any of your information.
A few questions to ask
1. How quickly can lost data be restored from backup?
Restore time means downtime, which can negatively impact your company’s bottom line. Your backup solution should restore data in a time frame that meets or exceeds your business requirements.
2. Does you need to minimise the time your company may be without its data?
Consider a solution that offers “image level” as opposed to “file-level” backups. A file-level solution ensures that files are safe, but in the event of a disaster or critical outage, servers may have to be built from scratch. This can add days or weeks to recovery time. An image-level solution allows technicians to restore systems in their entirety (including the operating system) to new hardware. Not only does this reduce recovery time, but it reduces labour costs significantly.
3. Does the solution have a provision for offsite storage of backups?
Not even the best on-site solutions will be of any use in the event of a fire or other disaster that destroys both source data and backup copies. Make sure you have offsite copies of backups.
4. Is the backup solution automated or manual?
Many backup solutions require manual processes such as changing tapes or rotating external hard drives. When the individual responsible for this process is away from the office or simply forgets to perform their task, the backup is compromised. Ensure your solution is as automated as possible.
5. Are there any gaps in your backup solution?
Some companies have so much data that a complete backup isn’t possible with their outdated solution. For example, if a company is using tapes, the tapes may not be large enough or may require too much time to back up all the data. Solutions or configurations that are not backing up an entire server may be missing important or critical data. Other solutions that only backup once a day or once every few days expose companies to high-cost risks due to even minor system failures or accidental deletion
6. How far back can you restore?
Restoring data can be required for a number of reasons, whether it is hardware failure or corruption or deletion or an earlier version is required. Having several points in time when you can restore from is worthwhile but can add to the cost of storage or time to restore each version.
You may find that more than one solution is required and whichever solution you choose for your business we would always advise that regular tests are conducted to ensure that data can be retrieved.
Should you need assistance in selecting the right solution for your business speak to one of our staff on 0333 332 6600