Critical Data Storage and Recovery…What’s Your Plan?


Summer has officially kicked off in the state of Minnesota, the part of the world where CSI Onsite resides. For those of us who reside in Minnesota Since the readership for this blog is located across the globe allow me to briefly describe what Minnesota summer weather can be like.
Minnesota is a state where people have to deal with the threat of tornadoes straight-line winds and other significant, destructive storm systems that move throughout our state. The spring/summer of 2014 has brought about an amazing amount of rain which has led to significant flooding in different parts of the state. In Minnesota most homes have basements and these basements very often flood as a result of sewer systems being overwhelmed, water tables rising, and other negative effects of flooding. As a result of this basement flooding many home offices experience tremendous damage to office equipment, IT hardware and software, and any data that has not been backed up/stored off-site. This translates to significant time loss and loss of productivity for a home office/business. One of the most disheartening losses can come in the form of losing personal photos, personal contacts, and personal financial data due to a catastrophic event and lack of off-site storage/backup.

This got me to thinking; do our customers have their most important data protected and restorable? If there was flooding in a basement office or perhaps a fire, would they be able to recover critical data? Would they lose their most valued photographs, financial data, and important files?
Think through what you have stored on your computer’s hard drive whether it’s a business computer or your personal system. How much of that data would you consider critical (think a combination of I can’t live without this & my spouse will kill me if I lose this)? Do you have a backup system in place that protects you from permanently losing your critical data? Do you have a system in place to restore your critical data? If your answer to these questions is no we urge you to invest some time and energy to create a viable backup and restore system for both your business and personal critical data.
Well this blog is not intended as a step-by-step tutorial in guiding you through creating the aforementioned data protection system, there are a few basic steps for you to consider as you add a backup strategy to your IT infrastructure.
Critical Data
This is a fairly straightforward consideration. It simply answering the question what photos, documents, or files of any type do I need to be able to replace. For business owners this typically includes financials, invoices/PO, and CSM Data. For an individual using a personal PC: photographs, contacts, and any and all financial information would be considered critical data. Once you have discovered and determined what data is truly critical it is time to move onto the next step.
Acceptable Down Time/Recover Time
After your critical data has been identified the next step is to establish the amount of time you can function without this data – be it personal or business. This is important because it will help you determine where you can store your data off-site and which company/service you will want to use. If yours is a company that has to have this data to function, you will want to look at a backup service’s guaranteed recovery time. In other words how fast quickly can they upload your off-site, stored data? Conversely if you can operate as a business or person without this critical data you might save some money by purchasing a less expensive recovery/backup service.
Data Storage Location
A quick side note about location. We recommend having critical data stored offsite. The most compelling reason for this is to have it protected from any type of destruction that can be experienced at your location. If your basement floods, or your office has a fire and the sprinkler system fried your Network, your Data will still be safe and restorable…pretty slick ‘eh? You can achieve offsite storage in a number of ways. An external hard drive (you need a minimum of 2 HDDs to do this) can be connected to your Network and a backup script can be written that points your backup solution to store the data on that HDD. Then you will have to manually remove the external HDD and take it offsite. The pro for this is that the data is readily accessible. The con…you have to go through removal process every time you want to secure the data offsite. If you wish to avoid have to be as diligent as this solution requires there are always Cloud options available.
Once you’ve determined the data you have to have and your acceptable downtime/recovery time you can then consider how you choose to backup your critical data. If you choose a company that offers to store your data on a server (offsite) that you consider local, they may be able to get your data back to you even quicker than a service that has a faster upload time. This is possible because they are closer in proximity to your business and could possibly mail you, and/or, drop off a provided hard drive containing all of your critical data. There are a number of free cloud storage systems for you to consider. Each has a limited amount of space for storage (2GB-5GB) that they offer with their free version of their backup solution. Because each backup solution really does need to be personalized it is best if you work with your trusted IT consultant to devise such a system in consider what service may best serve your needs. You can look at
– Dropbox
– Box
– Google Drive
– Amazon Cloud
– One Drive
There are very few others services you may wish to explore on your own, but we have found these reliable and affordable. For strictly storing photos consider Flickr, shutter fly, or SmugMug.
Hopefully this blog will inspire you to take some time and create a viable backup/restore system for your critical data at work and home. Don’t wait for a catastrophic event to wipe out your data by then it may be too late. As a company we had to try to restore the family’s entire photo history that had not been backed up, from a hard drive destroyed in a fire. Thankfully we were able to work with the vendor and restore their photographs. We’ve also had situations where the damage was so extensive that recovery just wasn’t possible. We truly do not want you to experience this heartbreaking situation. We would more than happy to work with you where your business to create a robust backup strategy and restoration solution. If we can be of assistance please give us a call at 952 – 928–1788 and we can set up an appointment for one of our technicians to get started on your personalized backup/restore solution.