|By Jamie Brenzel||
|December 2, 2013 07:00 AM EST||
The digital age has forced a kind of dependency never before seen, a dependency on our inbox. The mere thought of losing these emails is inconceivable where the thought of it leaves us with a sense of panic, one similar to losing our credit cards or house key. Unfortunately, the potential for losing access to email is greater than one might think.
There are a multitude of threats that can bring about the loss of an email, or an entire email account. Simple user error, such as clicking the wrong button, can result in the loss of crucial information that could potentially make or break your business. A more daunting threat is cyber attack, wherein hackers target email accounts to gain access to personal information, which could also result in the deletion of critical communications.
Today, however, we rely on email not only as a means of communication but as a way of conducting business. We save our documents and back up important programs, why then do we forget to back up this critical data? The reality is simple - small to medium sized business (SMB) owners are generally focused on the operational responsibilities of running the business. Day-to-day activities and deadlines are top of mind for most business owners, leaving data backup management on a back burner, while many rely on dated methods such as tape backup. What many SMBs don't know is that, when tested, tape backup has been found to have as much as a 77 percent failure rate.
If the threat of losing access to your inbox puts the viability of your business at risk, it is time to re-consider your business's backup procedures.
What Is Your Status?
Email provides efficiency to our daily communications and the information enclosed in our email accounts is oftentimes the most crucial. In fact, many businesses today conduct a majority of their correspondence exclusively through email and securing the associated data should be a priority.
When evaluating your email backup strategy, ask yourself the following questions at a minimum:
- If you are using an external backup drive, have you created additional copies? Are the extra copies kept off site for safekeeping?
- Are you utilizing a cloud email provider such as Gmail or Yahoo? If so, do you know how to restore your email should these websites go down?
- How often are you backing up your email? Do you have a backup plan?
- Does your backup strategy include a restore procedure?
Answers to these questions will guide you towards developing a viable data backup and recovery solution.
Customize Your Solution
Although there are several data backup and recovery options, it is important to find the solution that best fits your needs. As previously noted, backup to tape, external hard drives or zip drives must be managed carefully. Zip drives and external hard drives are highly susceptible to viruses and hardware malfunctions. Ongoing maintenance can be easily forgotten and even worse, anything that can be carried has the potential to be lost or stolen.
Additionally, while these methods are certainly better than no method at all, the reality is that the individual who is responsible for executing the backup is oftentimes consumed by other tasks, or does not comprehend the significance of consistent backups.
Harnessing the services of an online data backup or cloud computing service provider is the most timely and cost-effective way to ensure the safety of your company's email. Online data backup today has become affordable for the SMBs and it is the most comprehensive solution available to protect digital information.
An Ideal Partner
Before utilizing an outside service to backup your data, consider these key questions when conducting your research:
- Does the cloud provider offer onsite and offsite protection? Do they offer the means to quickly and efficiently backup your data to a secure offsite server, while maintaining a local copy for easy restoration of large application files?
- What does the backup software look like? How easy is it to use, what does it protect and how much user input is needed to accomplish a regular backup procedure?
- How long has the cloud provider or IT service company been in business? Look for companies that have been in business for longer than a couple of years. Ask for references and/or case studies that you can review.
- Where is your data stored? Is it in a secure data center or is it sitting on a server in some obscure location?
- How secure is the data center that will store your data? Ask for certifications that ensure that it has been audited by a third party, such as SSAE16. If you are a health provider, does the data center offer HIPAA compliancy?
- How easy is it to backup and restore your email files? Ask for a demonstration or a trial period to test the software.
- How much data capacity do you really need? Look for companies that will allow you to grow and won't charge you for unnecessary storage space.
When choosing a backup method it is important to seek an automated solution, removing the responsibility from over-burdened staff. This guarantees that all data will be backed up and protected, while eliminating the possibility of user error.
Consider all your options when looking to protect your email. Any ideal cloud backup and recovery solution should be user friendly, easy to manage and provide you and your staff with ongoing support in the event of a disaster. A little planning will go a long way in assuring that your business's data is safe and secure.
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