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Backup solutions can vary enormously and it is important to be aware of the consequences of choosing one solution over another. While many services provide excellent protection, some cover just data while others cover entire systems. Some enable faster recovery of your systems in the event of a major problem, while others ensure that your systems are safe from physical risks such as fires, floods or theft.

Data only or full system backup?

Data only backup

Backing up your data is a great start as it means that if there is a failure within your IT system then your vital, irreplaceable business data such as documents, financial information and emails can be safely recovered.

The disadvantage of only backing up your data is that everything else on your system has to be recreated from scratch – which in the case of a server can take several days.

System level backup

This takes a copy of the whole PC or server, including all the system software and settings, as well as the data. This means that the entire system can be restored exactly as it was previously, rather than having to re-install and reconfigure everything. This can dramatically reduce the time a system is unavailable, whether a PC or server.

On site or off site?

On site backup

With this option the backup copy is made to a device on the same premises as the computer being protected. The advantage of this is that it is not reliant on the internet being available and generally higher volumes of information can be copied locally which means large system level backups are easier to manage.

Also, accessing the backup to restore it is also quicker and easier than retrieving the data from a remote site over the internet. The disadvantage is that it does not protect against local disasters such as fire, flood or theft.

Off site backup

Here the backup copy is made to a device or data center at a different location to the computer being protected – normally over the internet. The advantage of this is that it does protect against local disasters such as fire, flood or theft. The disadvantage is that it usually relies on an internet connection and the availability of bandwidth of this connection may limit the backup frequency and how much data can be backed up.

Which backup is right for your business?

Each business has unique requirements and so you should consider your businesses potential risks and vulnerabilities, understand what’s important to you and then implement the appropriate backup solution for your situation. If you’re in any doubt, ask an expert.