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5 ways to disaster-proof your data backups

Paul Mah | Oct. 2, 2013
Protect the lifeblood of your business with at least one—and ideally, two—of these proven techniques.

If your storage needs are modest, using recordable optical disc media such as DVD or Blu-ray discs may make sense. They're significantly less expensive than tape drives, especially when purchased in quantity. To hedge against "bit rot"—the unexpected death of data archived on optical media—store the backup discs in a cool, dark place, away from direct sunlight, and use them only for short-term backups.

Synchronizing your NAS
Bringing data backups home with you every day may work well if you're a sole proprietor or a very small business. But that arrangement can't last forever as your organization grows and as the demands of running the business increase.

If your business has multiple office locations, you can deploy two compatible network-attached storage (NAS) devices at each location, and set them to synchronize or back up to each other over the network. In the past, only expensive SAN (Storage Area Networks) offered this capability, but today practically every new NAS model does. Look for NAS devices that support block-level sync, which conserves bandwidth by transmitting only the changed portions of a file.

You can send the data over an Internet connection, or over a leased line, if offered in your area. Regardless of your choice, never transmit unencrypted data. You'll need to do additional research to find a suitable NAS appliance—Buffalo, Synology, and QNAP are among the brands that include appropriate NAS models.

Disaster-hardened storage devices
Disaster-proof enclosures provide the ultimate in local backup protection. This approach used to entail chucking tape cartridges into a fireproof safe, but now at least one company offers disaster-hardened data storage devices.

The ioSafe N2 NAS is a disaster-resistant NAS appliance that relies on data mirroring (RAID-1). It's both fireproof at external temperatures of up to 1550°F for 30 minutes and waterproof even when fully submerged at a depth of 10 feet for 72 hours. The ioSafe N2 runs Synology's well-regarded DiskStation Manager operating system, which supports syncing with a second Synology NAS or with the cloud.

Disaster-proofing the lifeblood of your business can take a little time and cost a little money, but it's not nearly as expensive as rebuilding from scratch after a catastrophe. Take steps now to survive Mother Nature's worst, and you'll rest easier no matter what the future brings.


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