Most people understand the importance of keeping backups of their data as part of a backup and disaster recovery plan. Their companies and organizations diligently backup critical files to tape or hard drives on a daily basis, just as they have done for years.They believe they are safe but they're not.
Even if you are storing backups on hard drives, all of the diligence in the world won't amount to anything if there's a disaster.
What Would Happen to Your Backups in a Fire
Disasters for a company run quite a gamut. Fires can gut a building and destroy not only your electronic files but your hard copies as well.
If you think you're in the clear by keeping them in a fireproof cabinet, you're not. "Fireproof" is a misleading word. "Fire-resistant" is more accurate as these cabinets are only able to buy time for the fire department to put the fire out.
A good window for this is about two hours, but if you decided to save a little money you may find yourself with even less time. The melting point for many of these cabinets is 1260 Celsius (2300 Fahrenheit). If you have chemicals on site, this temperature is not unrealistic. (Even some construction materials used in older buildings can generate this sort of heat.)
Even if you have a good fire system and the fire is put out before too much damage is done by the flames, there are other factors. Smoke damage and water damage from the sprinklers can wreak more havoc than the flames. Smoke and water will coat your media. A hard drive will have a little more protection than a tape drive, but when the surface gets coated, you can expect to pay quite a bit of money for a data recovery company to take your tapes and disks and pull off what data they can.
Other Risks to Your Backup Data
Earthquakes, floods, and other natural disasters are looming threats to securing your backup data, but there is another, more insidious threat that many overlook, and that is the age of the media.
A tape used for backup will have to be replaced every 6 to 12 months before data integrity begins to suffer. Internal hard drives average 3 years for life expectancy, while external hard drives average 6. If you aren't prepared to have someone stay on top of rotating the media, you may find your backup data failing just when you need it most.
Why Online Offsite Backups Systems are So Important
Smart companies mitigate this by using offsite backup and disaster recovery services. Instead of taking their own employees off of their tasks and projects to handle the backups, they trust them to a company dedicated to performing and maintaining backups.
Securely transmitted over the internet, performing backups and rotating media becomes as simple as clicking a button on a screen. Should a disaster of any sort befall your company, your data is safely stored offsite for recovery. It's kind of like health insurance for your data with a "resurrection" policy for your company.
Too many people overlook the value of a backup until it's too late. Sometimes they find out that the data they thought was secure has deteriorated into an unreadable jumble of computerized garbage. This is avoidable, however. A good offsite backup and data recovery plan can literally save your company from disaster.
So how confident are you in your backup and disaster recovery plan?