Do you have any servers or critical PCs on your network? Of course you do, in today’s business they are critical. But does your communications system use a server? You may not know, but it is worthwhile to find out. Solutions from companies such as ShoreTel may not rely on the server for voice traffic, but critical applications such as voice mail and voice mail storage are on the server. Other solutions from companies such as Cisco or Microsoft are server reliant, making a backup strategy even more important. Many businesses have backup strategies for their servers; sometimes it is local, sometimes to the cloud, or both. Generally it is recommended that businesses employ a strategy that spreads the risk among cloud and local backups for your communications servers.
A combined strategy can be a business solution that means the difference between getting you back in running in minutes or days. Local backups are great as you are able to get your servers running fast if you experience a failure as you can restore service easily and quickly using your stored databases. Generally the local backup will be to several places including a partition on the server itself, a separate drive in the server, a dedicated backup server, tape drive, a NAS (Network Attached Storage) device, or even a flash drive plugged into the server. But what happens if the backup is corrupt, or there is a disaster that renders these unusable?
This is where cloud backups become important. Generally a cloud backup will back up the entire designated device the first time and subsequent backups only include files that have changed. Usually this first backup will take several hours to a day or so. Depending on the service chosen this could clog your local or wide area network if the backup is done during business hours. Other services take a different approach and backup in the background. This means that the initial backup may take a little longer, but you probably will not notice the effect on your network. However, in both cases the size of the drive will affect the time it will take to backup the drive.
There are many different companies that can provide this service. One of the largest and oldest is Carbonite. Carbonite’s method can be purely cloud or local and cloud based. The pure cloud backup from Carbonite for servers starts with 250GB of space and goes to 500GB and then up. The mixed service offers a local appliance that the server is backed up to as well as backing up the drive to Carbonite’s data center. In the mixed scenario Carbonite provides and maintains the appliance for a monthly fee. Setup for either their pure cloud backup or the mixed backup is easy, the initial setup only takes a few minutes. Carbonite’s backup runs in the background, so businesses usually do not even notice it on their network at all.
In conclusion, if you are only backing up locally, or not at all, it is highly advisable to look at a mixed strategy so that your business is covered no matter what the nature of the failure. This strategy will position your servers and your business for continuity and sustainability.