Foundations of Network Storage, Lesson Four: Data backup

In lesson 4 of 5, we'll delve into considerations surrounding data backup.

Foundations of Network Storage: Lesson 4 of 5.

In this lesson, we will explore data backup: how to develop the best backup strategy, whether to use onsite or offsite storage, and what data you need to back up.

Data backup

Developing a good backup strategy requires thoughtful planning, from the selection of devices to the determination of backup schema and other logistical issues. Each step must be carefully analyzed in light of such factors as staffing, technical expertise, and budget.

In a year that's seen identity theft and data loss skyrocket, some well-known organizations have already served as high-profile examples of the importance of data backup security. In late February, Bank of America admitted to losing a number of backup tapes in route to a backup center; the tapes contained the financial information for 1.2 million government employee credit cards. A little more than two months later, Time Warner made a strikingly similar announcement—it had lost backup tapes containing personal information for 600,000 current and former employees.

Can your company afford to lose its data? The obvious answer is no—no one's going to admit that it's acceptable to lose corporate information. And yet, many companies don't take the necessary precautions to ensure it doesn't happen.

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It's a well-known fact that backups are vital to the disaster recovery process. The majority of organizations understand the importance of backing up information as well as testing those backups. (I said they understand the importance of testing—I won't discuss how many actually practice what they preach.)

But if you don't take the necessary security measures, backups can end up causing a disaster rather than preventing one. If your organization's network contains personal or proprietary information, you need to take steps to secure your backups.

Questions to ask

Here are a few questions you must answer as you are planning your backup strategy:

  • Will you be backing up all or just part of your data?
  • How often will you back up?
  • Will you store your back-ups onsite or offsite?
  • If you store offsite, how do you plan to move the backups?
  • Are there special legal and regulatory requirements that you have to meet in your data back-ups?
  • What media will you be using for your backups (tape, disk, etc.)

For more on Data Backup, including free downloads, see page two.

Data Backup Resources

  • Centralize your backup and recovery systems
    Data is the lifeblood of the enterprise, so its backup and recovery strategy should be respected. Centralizing these operations ensures software is updated and backups are performed as necessary.
  • Data center experts recommend vaulting backups
    Backing up data is not effective if the data is not stored offsite. In addition, the data should be vaulted to ensure its safety.
  • Develop an effective data backup strategy
    Backing up valuable corporate data is more than performing a copy to a CD or rotating tapes. You must begin with a backup strategy that includes the backup system selection and how often it is performed.
  • The future of e-mail archiving
    Because of corporate accounting scandals of the last few years and compliance with both old and new laws, IT is under pressure to keep more data for longer periods of time and to manage its entire life cycle. An expert from Ferris Research talks about what to expect in the not-too-distant future in terms of e-mail archiving technology.
  • Resources for better e-mail archiving
    Use these resources to understand the regulations regarding e-mail archiving and the solutions available.
  • Take three steps to secure data backups
    Everybody knows that backups are vital to the disaster recovery process. But if you don't take the necessary security precautions, backups can end up causing a disaster rather than preventing one. This article discusses three ways you can beef up the security of your data backups.
  • Issues to consider in deciding where to house backup systems
    In light of increasing security issues, deciding where and how to house backup systems is likely one of the most critical decisions an enterprise can make. Learn about all the elements you need to consider before making a final determination.
  • Selecting the best backup strategy for Microsoft SQL Server
    Backing up your database server is an integral chore for the database administrator. Choose the strategy that is best for your enterprise.
  • Offsite backups: A critical tool for disaster recovery
    Maintaining data backups is a valuable aspect of protecting enterprise resources, but the data should be stored offsite to thoroughly safeguard against an emergency.
  • Disk disaster relief
    Dealing with disk drive failure is an often overwhelming adventure. Learn from the TechRepublic community as they share their advice for data backup and recovery.
  • Build a high-capacity backup solution on a limited budget
    Large data backup systems from companies like EMC are way too expensive for most shops, but there are many options available for those with smaller budgets.
  • Check and double-check
    The daily activities of an administrator has many activities, with backup being just one.
  • Create your own brick-level backup script for Exchange Server 5.5
    E-mail is the backbone of corporate communications, so safeguarding mail messages is important. Follow this example of creating a backup script for working with Exchange.
  • Choose the optimal site for your data center
    This sample chapter, taken from Cisco Press' Build the Best Data Center Facility for Your Business, explains how to choose an appropriate location for your data center, from the hazards you should avoid to the physical attributes you want.

White Papers

  • Online Backup Service Providers: Clarifying the Value Proposition
    After many years of wait-and-see pessimism, the near-ubiquitous nature of broadband internet connectivity has helped remote data backup finally come into its own. In an effort to capitalize on the newfound popularity of the service, hordes of wholesale online-only backup companies have sprung up, advertising remote backup services at ultra low prices. Data storage and remote data repository companies are also on every virtual corner, hawking wildly varied products that initially confuse even industry veterans.
  • Improving Backup Performance with Defragmentation
    Did you know you can speed up your backup times by as much as 67 percent? Since backup is basically a file-by-file copy process, disk fragmentation has a huge impact on backup times. This white paper, authored by Diskeeper Corporation, outlines tests conducted to determine the performance increase that can be realized by defragmenting a drive before backing it up.
  • Data Protection - Backup has never been simpler
    Discover how the HP StorageWorks VLS 6000 can simplify your data storage environment by reducing the complexity of data protection.
  • Achieving New Storage Backup Performance Levels
    Download this white paper to read the results of benchmark experiments that demonstrate the performance advances that are possible with HP StorageWorksUltrium 460 Enterprise Class Libraries.

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