Accessibility of Offsite Backup Data

It's snowing here in Atlanta today. There is barely enough snow to cover the ground but it may be enough to shut down the city. If you have ever been in a southern city when it snows, then you know what I am talking about. The kids are sitting in front of the television watching the local news, hoping to see their school's name crawl across the bottom of the screen in the list of closed schools and businesses. The city of Atlanta isn't very good at clearing snow from the roads, and the Atlanta drivers are not very good at driving on snow and ice. Everyone is better off just staying off the roads. I don't mind, I can get my work done from home without much problem. That is if the power stays on. Snow and ice tend to make tree limbs break and knock down power lines.

These weather conditions cause me to think about what would happen to a business if they suffered a serious computer failure at their office or data center, or perhaps completely lost access to their data center. Suppose the business had properly backed up their data and stored copies off-site. If the roads are closed and people can't get to work, getting access to offsite backup data could be a serious problem. Suppose your entire city is struck by a disaster such as a hurricane, flood, or earthquake.

There is a simple and relatively inexpensive solution to this problem; use an online backup service. Professionally managed online backup services store data in secure data centers with redundant bandwidth and power. Some of them use multiple data centers to ensure that backup data will be accessible when needed. Even if you are determined to continue to use tape backup systems, you should consider using online backup for some of your most critical data. The data stored on an online backup service will be available in situations where your offsite tape backups may be inaccessible.

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