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To be fair, it’s a bit of a trick question.

The punchline, like Arnold Schwarzenegger’s famous line from Predator, is: “Do it… Do it NOW!”

Data is the lifeblood of every business, encompassing everything from client histories, to proprietary formulations, to accounting records. Every business should be investing in some level of off-site data storage, as part of their disaster recovery plan.

Once upon a time, the only disasters a business had to prepare for were physical: a fire or some other natural event, like earthquake or flood, that could wipe out years of paper records. Nowadays, the risks include cyber threats, like malware or viruses that can erase years of hard work—or halt business until the invading software is eradicated and the damage corrected.

The question you must ask yourself is: What would happen if your data were suddenly wiped out? If you run your business from your laptop – what if that machine were stolen? What if an electrical surge at your office fried your on-site storage?

Worried about storing data in the cloud? Offsite backup and cloud storage are safer that traditional disk based backup. If the (often unencrypted) disks, USB drives, and tapes you are storing or carrying back and forth became lost, stolen, or ruined by the elements… What then?

How long could you afford to have your business “down”? 7 days, 3 days, 1 day, 4 hours, less than an hour?

The reality is, for most entrepreneurs, business would come to a screeching halt if something happened to their data. Off-site (“cloud”) storage, or data backup, is a fundamental part of any disaster recovery plan.

Choices include:

  1. Disk-to-disk nightly backups of the day’s activities
  2. Replication backups which are ideal for high-volume data entry
  3. Virtual backups requiring servers to save data in real time

Offsite backup automatically saves your data in a remote location ensuring that a lightning strike didn’t just wipe out your server and local backups. While your new server is being built and software reloaded, you have the critical data your business can’t run without.

If your own peace of mind, unfailing customer service, the reputation of your business, and the morale of your team aren’t sufficient reasons to invest in off-site data storage, you may be obligated by statute:

According to Wikipedia, data protection statutes “are usually non-prescriptive within the commercial IT arena in how data is to be protected, but they increasingly require the active protection of data.” US Federal entities have specific requirements, as do businesses in the health and medical industries (HIPAA), as well as publicly traded firms (as regulated by SOX). Check out this page for a more complete list of statutes which mandate the protection of data.

Learn more about disaster prevention and the cost of downtime, and schedule a chat with one of our IT experts to see what level of data backup you need, and what type of off-site storage best suits your business complexity and budget.

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