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Local Vs Remote Data Backup - The Pros And Cons

by Niall Roche

Backing up your data should be an essential part of your daily routine. Unfortunately for many businesses this simply isn't the case. The only time data backup crosses their mind is when they have a hard disk crash or a serious spyware or virus infection. Unfortunately by this stage it's already too late to do anything about it - the data is gone and you're then looking at several hundred, if not several thousand, dollars to have the data rescued and restored.

The concept is simple - choose a data backup plan and stick to it.

The burning question on most IT managers minds is should the data be stored locally or remotely? To be fair this is the pivot point of all data backup plans. There are pros and cons to each method.

Local Data Backup

Most companies rely on either DVD, external hard disk or tape drive data backup solutions locally. These provide fast, cost effective storage for most small companies and are also very easy for even the IT novice to operate. In the case of any data being lost it's simply a matter of restoring the data from a previous backup point and the user can then continue working.

The data, however, is only as safe as the building it's in. What happens in the case of fire, burglary, flooding or storm damage? That's right you just lost all your data backups in the blink of an eye.

Remote Data Backup

As an emerging industry remote data backup has really taken off. Most commonly remote file backup services allow you to log into a remote drive and via a web based interface upload all your critical files. 5GB of storage space is the entry point for most of the remote data backup services and this is provided at a low cost. Knowing that your data is being stored in a secure facility that's deliberately protected against harm allows you much greater peace of mind.

The weak point here however is the data transfer speed. Unless you're operating a high speed LAN in your company then remote backup can be a complete waste of time as you're tied to the maximum upstream speed of your network - which can be surprisingly slow depending on your IT infrastructure. Add in the issue of firewalls blocking uploads on certain ports and it can quickly become a real IT headache.

So how do achieve a Win-Win scenario? Blended backup! Look at utilizing both of these forms of backup. In an ideal world you'd store a local copy of your data and then upload an exact copy of that data to the remote file backup server. If money is an issue then store your bulk data locally but copy your mission critical data to the remote backup service. That way in the worst of disasters you'll still have the data you need to actually function as a business. That's not to say that bulk data such as archived email is not important but that old data could be recovered in time by a data recovery specialist whereas you mission critical data needs to be available at a moments notice.

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About The Author

This article was written by Niall Roche and provided courtesy of If you want to know more about computer backups this site is a full of useful information.

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