Disaster Recovery: Choosing a backup-Part I

May 18, 2016

Data loss is all but inevitable during the lifespan of a business.

Choosing the correct data backup service can save millions of dollars in lost employee hours, fines for failing to meet compliance regulations and lost business. As we talked about in our first blog  this often results in a complete loss, with a practice being unable to recover and continue providing care.

This begs the question: what is the resistance to creating sufficient DR/data backup plans?

The first, as we have discussed, is a lack of understanding of the need for backup data, combined with a lack of understanding of the financial consequences of this oversight.

We have already covered some of the possible consequences of not backing up data – complete loss of the business – but the resistance to adequate information backup has consequences for compliance [link to compliance page], as well. Even if a practice does not experience a single devastating event, the financial losses incurred by failure to meet compliance standards can be significant.

Most business owners are familiar with the numbers when it comes to the possibility of flood or fire damage, as well as theft, virus infections, and hardware failure. The implications for the loss of physical premises are relatively well understood, but the implications for loss of information seem to be less so.

Once businesses understand the need to back up their data in case of disaster, the issue becomes deciding which backup is the best fit.

The second barrier, however, is cost. It is no secret that DR and information backup is not a cheap solution. There are costs associated with purchase of hardware and software, as well as service fees and ongoing hosting costs. In other words, it is a huge investment.

While the cost of implementing DR/backup strategies is a barrier for many, not putting a plan in place is not an option. Instead, choosing the best possible fit for your business is essential to continued success. It is not a decision to be made lightly, and we encourage decision makers to consult professionals for help.

However, a basic understanding of the considerations for DR and data backup is key to making a well-informed decision. There will be two major factors that play into a decision on what kind of backup is appropriate for a business: cost and archive.

Cost This may include month-to-month charges, the up-front purchase of hardware and software, and vendor support/warranty fees.  Cost is generally proportional to the amount of data you need protected.  The more data you have, the more the solution will cost.

Archive This is typically related to compliance requirements.  This is the amount of data that must be retained, on-site or off-site, multiplied by the amount of time you are required to maintain the data. This is where most solutions become very expensive very quickly, but must be considered the cost of doing business.

In our next blog post, we will discuss the levels of protection that can form a framework for thinking about DR/data backup for your business.

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