Disaster Recovery Plans: Local, Offsite, or Hybrid Backup?

May 18, 2016

As we discussed in our last post, Disaster Recovery (DR) is a plan that should be in place for every medical practice. While the possibility may seem remote, the erasure of all critical information is a real threat. Unfortunately, too many professionals don’t take the threat seriously until it is too late.

With the realization that losing all information is possible, the question becomes how to best protect your practice. The best line of defense is to have a backup. This means that no matter what happens to your systems – including catastrophic events that render them completely unusable – the information can be retrieved and business can go on as usual.

There are several options for backups:

  • local backup (Simple same site)
  • remote or offsite backup (Simple offsite)
  • hybrid backup (Complex same site and offsite)

Local backup

Local backup keeps your data on a network storage device or physical media close to you. A local backup is usually kept on an additional internal hard drive, external hard drive, CD/DVD-ROM, magnetic type media, or local network backup. In other words, it is another memory storage device with a full copy of all data located within close proximity to the rest of the system, usually within the office itself.

Local backups provide peace of mind, since people feel safe with original files as well as backups in their physical possession. The major drawback to a local backup is the need for the physical location to remain intact. If a fire or flood destroys the office, it has also destroyed the backups for the office.

Remote backup

Remote backups refers to sending backups of critical data away from the main office location.

The data is usually transported offsite using the cloud. “The cloud” has become a buzzword in its own right, and we will explain it more in depth in a future blog post [link to blog post on the cloud]. Essentially, this refers to internet-based computing and storage. The data is stored remotely and can be accessed on demand.

Data can also be sent electronically via a remote backup service. This concept is similar to a local backup, but the physical location is a secure site in another location. It circumvents the possible issue of a disaster knocking out the backup equipment in an office, though some people do not like to think that their data is not all in their physical possession.

Remote backup also solves the issue of having the space within an office setting to accommodate the sometimes large backup servers or other hardware.

Sending backups offsite ensures that servers can be reloaded with the latest data in the event of a natural disaster, error, or a system crash. Offsite backup services are convenient for companies that backup pertinent data on a daily basis.

Hybrid backup

Hybrid backup involves a combination of local backup for fast backup and restore, along with remote backup for additional protection.

Hybrid online backup combines on-site and offsite data vaulting. This backup is typically used to ensure the most recent data is available locally if there is the need for recovery, while archived data that is needed less often is stored in the cloud.

Hybrid backup is often effective for very large practices, or those with vast amounts of data that has to be stored. The combination of data storage allows for the best of both remote and local backup, and mitigates some of the shortfalls of each.

We recommend three different kinds of solutions, depending on your environment and backup needs. In our next blog post we will cover some of the considerations that help businesses to determine which type of backups are best for them.


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