In today’s digital age, data is everything—even for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Data enables digitally transformed SMBs to drive growth, increase productivity, and maintain a competitive edge.
However, the same data SMBs rely on so much is also vulnerable to various threats, including malware, targeted cyberattacks, hardware failure, natural disasters, user error, and malicious employees. That’s why it’s paramount for SMBs to choose a reliable backup approach.
There are two main backup approaches available to SMBs: local backups and cloud backups. Each of these two approaches has specific advantages and disadvantages, and we explore them in this article to help SMBs choose the best backup approach for their business.
Finding the Right Data Backup Strategy for SMBs
In order to find the right data backup strategy, it’s paramount for SMBs to clarify their data backup objectives by asking the following questions: How many copies of important data do we want to create? On which storage devices do we want to create them? Where do we want to keep them?
Many experts believe that the 3-2-1 backup strategy provides ideal answers to the questions above. According to the strategy, SMBs should always have:
In practice, the 3-2-1 backup strategy can be implemented using both local and cloud backups, but that doesn’t mean the two approaches are equally suitable for all SMBs. Let’s take a closer look at each of them.
What Are Local Backups?
Local backups store backup copies of data on physical storage devices that are located on-premises or in various physical locations. Examples of storage devices on which local backups are commonly stored include external hard drives, network-attached storage (NAS), or tape backup systems. SMBs can create local backups using many different backup software tools, such as those offered by Veeam, Synology, and Backblaze.
In practice, local backups can be used to implement the 3-2-1 backup strategy by backing up all workstations on a central NAS device and tape backups or USB flash drives. The tape backups or USB flash drives can then be regularly moved to a secure off-site location so one copy of data is always protected against local disasters.
However, local backups also have some disadvantages, including:
What Are Local Backups?
With cloud backups, backup copies of data are stored on remote servers that are owned and managed by third-party cloud providers like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, or Google Cloud. These providers charge for their backup services based on a pay-for-what-you-use basis, which means SMBs only pay for the backup storage capacity they actually need.
Because cloud backups are always kept off-site and optionally replicated multiple times across different geographical locations, they make it easy for SMBs to implement the 3-2-1 backup strategy in practice. For example, Microsoft’s Azure Backup service by default replicates data to a secondary region located hundreds of miles away from the primary region.
But cloud backups are not without some disadvantages:
Which Backup Approach Should SMBs Choose?
Given the above-described advantages and disadvantages of local and cloud backups, it’s clear that cloud backups are the better choice for most SMBs. The advantages they offer are really compelling, while the disadvantages are usually easy to overlook or overcome.
The only exception are SMBs with specific data security or compliance requirements that prevent them from backing up all data to the cloud. For them, combining both local and cloud backups to keep the most sensitive data locally and the rest in the cloud is a viable option. This is known as a hybrid backup approach, and it can combine the advantages of both backup approaches.
If you are unsure which backup approach is right for your SMB or are looking for a reliable IT provider who can help you implement the approaches described in this article, then don’t hesitate to contact us at TechGen. We can help you choose and implement the right backup approach for your business to ensure that your data is always protected.