Planning your data storage

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We all heard about the risks involved behind data loss and how it can influence both businesses and individuals, yet a lot of us still fail to prepare ourselves against the eventuality of our hard drives failing. This is because as long as everything works, people seem satisfied to carry on with their routines… that is of course until something goes wrong. Let’s take a look at the outcome of data loss, and how you can prevent such incidents from happening.

Consequences of data loss

There is no shortage of important data; from customer records to administrative documents; going through contracts and spreadsheets. Data is essential to the day-to-day functioning of a business, and losing such data can endanger the livelihood of that business; in fact failing to recover that data has been known to lead to the closure of certain companies. After all, how does one expect a company to recover from the loss of all their client’s details? Of course you can always contact data recovery experts such as Kroll Ontrack who are located near London, but this is more of a corrective measure rather than a preventative one. The aim behind this article is to help avoiding being a victim of data loss rather than recovering from it, but of course professional data recovery still remains the best option if data is already lost.

Online systems

Before dealing with data recovery, one can plan ahead and figure out what their data needs are. For example if you are a small business selling arts and crafts, your data needs will probably be limited to orders, transactions, and stock; most of which can be dealt with online using systems such as PayPal and other online banking methods. Online services such as Google Docs are a great way to create, edit and store documents and spreadsheets online at a very low cost. That way your records will always be kept online and you will always be able to access and edit them from any remote computer; providing you have the right login details.

Servers and RAID

On the other end, a video production company will need to keep a lot of large files so they will need to consider getting their own servers to store all that data. Depending on the size of a company and how much they are willing to invest on their data storage, using a RAID array is a good way to virtualize their staff’s working environment, and also to ensure data can still be accessed even in the event of hardware failure. RAID basically allows for the data to be accessed from and written to multiple drives inside an array, meaning the data will be duplicated so if one drive fails, the other ones will still contain that very vital data. This method requires an expert network technician, but it has the advantage of keeping everything in-house rather than relying on external services.

Cloud storage

Of course not every company can afford a complex internal server system, and for those companies, it is worth considering backing all of their data regularly to a cloud storage system such as Dropbox. This method will require the staff to make those regular backups as part of their daily work routine, but this is a small price to pay to prevent those dreaded incidents of data loss. Using cloud storage can however give rise to some issues. For example, if the Dropbox servers containing your data are located in certain countries, those might be subjected to different laws than where your company is located, but this is one of the hazards of not keeping your data in-house. Ideally a small company will use cloud storage until they can afford migrating everything onto their own servers.

It’s not just the tech

No matter which data storage system a business decides to use, there remains the most important factor: human intervention. In other words, how you train your staff is vital. If you are using a virtualized server system such as RAID, then you will need to afford a qualified on-site engineer; you just can’t go cheap on such things. But if your data storage gets backed manually, then it is essential that you train your staff to use the proper procedures to do so. Backing up data manually can go horribly wrong if not done properly; one can easily erase important files without doing it on purpose. So when you plan for your data storage methods, think about the two following aspects: the tech and the humans behind it; as failing one of those aspects will most likely lead to incidents of data loss.

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