Can your business operate without the programs on your computer? Can you use your programs without your specialized data? If you answered no to both questions then your better be sure that you have a strong backup solution. I have broken the news to many people that their hard drive has failed, and after it has happened the cost of a backup solution seems small.
Backups are probably one of the most important computer maintenance functions that can be performed, and they are often the most neglected. From a business perspective, backups are as important as filing your taxes. You can get away with it for a while, but eventually it will catch up with you.
When deciding on what backup solution you should choose, you have to look at several factors. Questions that you should get answered are how much interaction will you have to maintain the system? For example, a good tape system will have multiple tapes that will need to be changed daily. If you do not have someone on staff that can reliably change tapes then you do not have a reliable backup.
Another question that you need to answer is how fast will you need to restore your files. Offsite backup is a good solution for companies because it protects your business from fire and natural disasters, however that protection comes with a price. You are limited to your internet speed when restoring files. If you have large databases to restore it could take days to download the file from your offsite backup. A combination of off-site and on-site backups would be a preferable solution for most businesses.
While the focus of EDC’s business is working with other businesses, occasionally we are called to help save an owner’s personal computer. Something important to consider is do you have backups of pictures and purchased music? In a heartbreaking case I was approached to recover a drive for someone whose son had perished in a car accident. Less than a month after the accident the hard drive failed on his computer taking with it hundreds of pictures for which there was no backup. While we were able to recover the pictures, his father could have been spared the agonizing wait if he had a backup.
All hope is not lost if you have a hard drive failure and no backup. While there is a risk for a total loss of data, there is a very good chance that your data can be recovered. The cost of recovering data from a drive that has failed can be very expensive. If the data was just deleted, or the drive was found to be failing early enough to attempt a recovery the cost can be around $200. However, if the drive failed and has to be sent to a data recovery facility, the cost can easily run into the thousands.
In addition to the lost data, there is usually an extensive downtime associated with the recovery. A scanning program that will recover deleted files can take anywhere from 24 – 72 hours to complete a recover scan. If a drive has to be sent to a recovery facility the turn around usually depends on the price paid for the recovery. By paying a higher fee the turn around can be only a few days, but the lower cost recovery can take over a week.