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How do you back up your data?

Here are some of the pros and cons of the most common data protection methods.

Local/On-Site Back-up

What it is: Making a duplicate copy of important files on a second computer, external hard drive, zip drive or other media that is stored in the same location as your primary computer.

Pros: Local back-ups are convenient because they don’t cost much and are accessible at your fingertips, in case you accidentally delete an important file and need to recover it.

Cons: Local back-ups don’t protect against major disasters. What happens in the event of a flood or fire in your office? This is something that many business owners don’t think about until it’s too late.

Off-Site Back-ups

What it is: Using portable media, like an external hard drive, to store your back-ups outside of your office. Another method would be having your data stored on a server at another location nearby, such as an IT company across town.

Pros: This type of back-up provides essentially the same benefits as a local back-up, with an added layer of protection against building-specific problems. If your office burns down, your data will be safe if it’s stored in another building.

Cons: Some disasters are not building-specific. What happens in the event of a major hurricane that causes flooding throughout your business neighborhood? If your office and your local IT company’s servers are both flooded, you could lose your data.

Online Back-ups

What it is: Your data is stored on remote servers with multiple locations that guarantee both up-time and security.

Pros: Online back-up services can give you the security and flexibility you’re looking for. Countless sites like Mozy and Windows Live SkyDrive are available to store your data online for little or no fee. Some sites, like the popular Dropbox.com, have the added benefit of working as an online “folder,” accessible from multiple devices, in addition to simply keeping data secure.

Cons: Depending on the option you choose, it may be difficult to recover individual files using this back-up method and you’ll be limited by the speed of your internet connection, so downloading large amounts of data may take some time. Combined with an on-site or off-site back-up, however, there are no additional downsides to this method.

What does it all mean?

Many companies, like Garner IT, offer data protection plans that utilize off-site storage as well. By partnering with large storage vendors, we can get higher quality service for our clients at an affordable price. We also remove the hassle of having to deal with a third-party company, because we can handle it all for you.

Having data stored in another location gives you an extra layer of protection that you can’t get any other way. If a major disaster hits your neighborhood, your county or even your whole state, you can rest assured your business data will be secure and accessible when you’re ready to get back up and running.

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