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Backup planning - in house or outsource?

By ajohnston ·
Hi everyone,

I'm a non-IT professional charged with various IT responsibilities in a small accounting firm. I am grateful for the opportunity to learn from you all!

I have a question about data backup. Here is the background info: We have two office locations, almost 100 miles apart. We have a Windows Server 2003 server at each location, and we have broadband and T1 connections. Both of the two networks are connected via a VPN. Our current backup plan consists of weekly full backups and daily incremental backups using Windows Backup with a USB hard disk that is then carried offsite daily.

An IT vendor suggested that we could use rsync to back up each server's data to the other server so that we're only up a creek if a disaster hit both offices simultaneously. That seems unlikely, and as I told our management, if an event happened that was big enough to wipe out 2 cities 100 miles apart, we probably wouldn't care about data :-) (I was only kidding). This server-to-server offsite backup seems to me to be a good use of resources and it seems to be a sufficient mitigation of most basic data loss scenario risks (fire, flood, lightning, etc.).

We recently became aware of a remote offsite secure data center in our area. Their rates for storage seem very inexpensive ($1.00 to $1.50 per GB per month). We now have the option to create a backup plan by backing up each server to the other office location, or we could backup each server to this remote offsite secure data center.

Aside from wanting a good bit more education/experience so I can hang with you guys and gals, I would like some opinions on whether we should use the server-to-server plan or the servers-to-data center plan. What do you think?

Andy Johnston

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Either way ..

by DaedalusMgmt In reply to Backup planning - in hous ...

... you're limited in your transmission speeds toward the backup destination. So it really depends on how much data to backup and how often you want to do it. T1 uplink speed is of course 1.5Mbps, but if you want to send 10GB of data every day, even that might be painful. The broadband connection (cable or DSL I assume) could be even lower - 256-512kbps depending on the provider. Some simple division can give you a rough ballpark of how long it would take to move the amount of data you have to backup, so if the speeds you have are sufficient for the data you have, go for it.

Storing it with a 3rd party has some inherent security risks associated with it, particularly for your sort of data. Once uploaded to the 3rd party servers, the data is potentially available for their examination. Some sort of encryption would be needed to ensure that some unscrupulous techie at that company didn't go peeking into the financial data of your clients.

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