As a business, your data is incredibly important. From your old financial records to your new customer contact information, everything about a modern company is run on computers with digital information. Whether you’ve got everything on local software or host your files on the cloud, having access to your business data is vital to daily functions. While active information might be stored locally where it is easy to open and edit, there are also many instances where you will need information stored in files that are more than six months old. This is exactly the reason why you keep older files available, but where do you keep them and how? Are you archiving old files efficiently, and if you are, are they safe from disasters and data loss? There’s a big difference between archives and backups, and understanding that difference is vital to ensuring your data is right where you need it when special circumstances arise.
Are You Archiving?
Archiving occurs when you store older data in an efficient, tidied, and local fashion. Blogs, for instance, have an archive of articles older than three months that allows you to access old content without assuming that you will want to see it. Archiving can take several forms. The most basic kind of archiving is simply leaving old files to build up in place. This allows them to be easily located and referenced and can be considered a reasonable method if you access the old files quite often.
The second kind of archiving involves re-packaging and compressing the archives into smaller zip or tar files, which reduces them inside and allows them to take up less of your local or rented digital storage space. These compressed archives can have their contents examined and retrieved individually or unpacked again to restore the files in their original positions. The archives can also be moved to a separate folder in your file system to keep your active directories tidy.
The Weakness in Archiving
Archiving is a perfectly good starting place for storing your data, but it is not the most secure from disaster or invasion. While most individuals and many companies use archiving as their primary form of file safekeeping, the method also has some significant weaknesses. An archive only exist on your own systems, in whatever local or backup server or network you control. While this may sound good, think of it from a disaster recovery perspective.
If, for instance, a bolt of lightning struck your office building (or cloud hosting facility) and damaged all the computers. This would cause you to lose all your data, both past and present, with very little hope of recovery. Similar issues arise when a computer or entire network get hacked. Hackers can access your data, steal it, delete it, encrypt it, corrupt it, or simply fill your host machines with malware until they can’t function. In all of these circumstances, your system is at serious risk without recourse.
Before the cloud, archiving was among the most reliable ways to protect your business data and files but times have changed and so has the technology available to take care of your data. Backups, and cloud backups in particular, are now the best possible way to make sure that everything you need is waiting for you even if malware or natural disasters take out your entire local network.
Stay tuned for the second half of this two-part article where we’ll discuss how to use cloud backups to protect you from a wide variety of potential disasters. For more information about why backups or important or how to back up your business files onto the cloud, please contact us today!