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Better Safe than Sorry: The 5 Biggest Backup Misconceptions

Posted on 3.24.2015

By Holger Felgner, TeamViewer

Fires, break-ins or hackers are the security threats companies fear most. The loss of data on the other hand is very often taken lightly. However, it can be just as damaging.

Many companies and private users think of data backup as too difficult, too tedious or even unnecessary. As a result, data is too often lost due to oversight, negligence or technical malfunction. In fact, lack of a backup copy is among the top five reasons for company data loss, far ahead of much more widely reported issues such as cyber-attacks. 

With so many businesses at risk of losing data and so much at stake, now is the time to debunk these five common backup misconceptions once and for all: 

Misconception 1: “Losing data isn’t so bad”

Anyone who’s ever tried to restore his or her entire image library knows how devastating data mishaps can be. And although losing all your pictures on your home computer might be emotionally painful, for companies, losing large amounts of data can have massive financial consequences – in the worst cases leading to bankruptcy.  In fact, more than 93 percent of companies that suffered a serious data loss after a disaster and were unable to access their data center for 10 days or more, filed for bankruptcy within just 12 months of the incident according to  the National Archives and Records Administration in Washington. The lucky ones have made the necessary provisions for such an emergency or, better yet, taken the proper steps to secure their data. 

Misconception 2: “Backups take forever”

Many companies tend to avoid backing up their data for time-related reasons. Small businesses in particular, in which fewer employees must wear many different hats, often end up postponing time-consuming security measures such as backups in favor of more urgent operational tasks. This is based on the assumption that data backups take a long time or require a lot of storage space. In reality, only the initial backup takes extra time. Future iterations can be much faster thanks to data compression, redundant record identification and incremental backups, in which only data added since the last backup is stored. 

Misconception 3: “Google Drive, Dropbox and other cloud services are adequate backup tools”

Cloud storage has become mainstream and usually tends to be quick and practical. However, it is just online storage, not a backup solution. The various cloud storage services may be good enough to synchronize data that is used at various locations. Yet, they do not meet the true requirements of a backup. For instance, these cloud storage services can only partly protect against unintended deletion of data, or they come utterly without an answer in regards to the securement of system settings. Moreover, they have only insufficient approaches to the back up of email , calendar, sensitive business or customer information in databases.

Misconception 4: “If the Internet goes down, online backups are useless”

The Internet is obviously essential to online backups. However, even without a Web connection, online backups are still useful. Today, there are many hybrid forms of backups that combine outside with local data storage, allowing you to restore your data with or without an Internet connection. This gives companies two-layered security: in addition to offsite storage, a local copy of the backup can be used to restore data offline, in many cases even faster than online.

Misconception 5: “Data is difficult to restore”

Traditional backup solutions often fail to meet users’ needs in an emergency. In fact, few companies are able to recover from a major IT failure quickly; according to a recent national survey by Dimensional Research, only 7 percent of IT professionals were confident that they could recover operations within two hours, and almost 25 percent said it would take more than an entire day. Online backups can be lifesavers for many users, allowing them to restore old data easily with the click of a mouse.  

Blind trust, however, is rarely a good idea. Companies should put their backup solutions, including data recovery, to the test in regular emergency drills. 

Holger Felgner is CEO of TeamViewer, a German-based IT solutions firm that offers businesses a highly encrypted and secure backup process, among other advanced services.

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