Backup and Disaster Recovery: Getting Organized

Last week we began discussing why small businesses need a good backup strategy.  Before we begin the discussion of various backup options, we need to talk about a little housekeeping.  Literally.

How your important company data, files and folders are stored and organized will make a huge impact on your ability to have an efficient, effective and sustainable backup and disaster recovery plan.  In many companies we see the equivalent of organizing by creating piles.  Mary does Quickbooks so the company file is on her computer.  Sara does graphics so those files are on her’s.  Everybody has their own email file and word and excel docs.  A pile here, a pile there.

I’ve watched a number of the “get organized” shows and it is clear that the making multiple piles strategy doesn’t work.  A better approach is to designate a home for the valuable items.  In technology, the more centralized those home spaces are, the easier they are to maintain and manage and protect.

For most companies this means a server.  The server can be onsite or off-site (in the cloud or at a hosting facility) but being easily accessible and fast are key elements.  If employees struggle to use or have problems accessing centralized data, they will quickly begin making their own copies.  While there are centralized storage appliance (Network Attached Storage-NAS), that are a flavor of “server light”, the limitations are often too restricting to small businesses.  A new Foundation Server for a small office with plenty of room and speed costs about $1700.

Servers have different hardware and software than workstations.  Specifically, they are designed to stay on for days, weeks and sometimes months at a time.  They normally are designed to control heat issues better and, because they are isolated from other activity, are less prone to viruses, malware and other software problems.  They also are normally built with redundancy so they can continue to operate and serve up files and data even in a situation like a hard drive failure.   Finally the server software is designed to allow multiple people to access data in a controlled and secure fashion.

If your company isn’t ready for a server financially, we recommend, at a minimum centrally storing files to an unused computer.  The fact that no one is surfing the web or checking email from the central storage computer significantly reduces the risk of malware and other software problems.

Not only can folders be created, shared and mapped from the centralized storage, but the folders you think of as being on your computer (my documents, my pictures) can be redirected so they automatically store to the server instead.

Our experience has been that 1 hour of planning and discussion about how to best organize and create a centralized home for important company information pays back over and over again in ease of use, access, security and efficiency.


No description.Please update your profile.