5 Things to know when choosing a backup and storage provider

Choosing the right data backup and storage provider for you company has become a major challenge. Online cloud storage providers are popping up all over the place pronouncing that “tape is dead” and “all you need is cloud”. But what about compliance issues and document management? If the cloud is all we need, we have to ask ourselves: am I truly compliant with the myriad of consumer protection and anti-money laundering laws that apply to data storage?

The fact is there is no one-size-fits-all back-up and storage solution. Companies need to carefully assess their business process, budgets and legal requirements before making any decisions around selecting one provider over another. In reality, most companies require a combination of different kinds of back-up and storage solutions.

Evaluating business needs
It’s critical for organisations to correctly evaluate their own needs in order to select the solutions that suit their requirements.

Some fundamental points to consider:

1. Types of data
Not all data is created equal. Highly confidential data requires extreme security while some data simply requires regular day-to-day access and daily backup. The key is to evaluate all your options and ensure that you are carefully matching your storage and accessibility requirements to the type of data you are storing and accessing.

2. Scalability requirements
Data continues to grow and change. Consider a five-year span within your business – how much more data do you have? How many more people work for the company? How have the legislative requirements increased? When answering these questions it is imperative to choose a provider that understands the scale and areas of your business growth and can adjust the most effective solution for you.

3. Compliance requirements
Storage compliance requirements are enough to give most compliance officers sleepless nights, and the legal requirements are ever-increasing. Companies will soon be required to keep records for 10 years, which is a massive amount of data even for a small organisation.

Ensuring that you have suitable offsite storage for these important documents, as well as digital imaging in case of an emergency, is critical. This should be the first crucial step for any organisation that has any level of serious compliance requirement.

4. Accessibility requirements
Accessibility to data is one of the key features of new online cloud storage solutions. The ability to upload and download data easily is appealing to most users.

However, for big organisations, this type of storage is extremely expensive when large amounts of data don’t require daily accessibility. Then there are very real security issues and access control considerations when assessing the suitability of an online cloud storage solution.

When looking at accessibility, consider the following: which types of data should be accessible? Day-to-day documents that your team need access to, or shared files across multiple users should be stored and backed up online. However, confidential accounting, proprietary information and personal records for example, shouldn’t be accessible online. Confidential data should be backed up onto a tape and stored offsite in a highly secure location.

5. Security requirements
Cyber-crime and cyber warfare are a reality and unfortunately on the rise. The most effective strategy against this type of crime is to ensure that you have multiple levels of impenetrable security. This means ensuring your data is protected and stored using a variety of different storage devices and locations.

Off-site warehousing facilities for document and data storage combined with secured online storage services will offer you the most peace of mind. Partnering with suppliers who have been around the block and have an established track record is vital. And backups of your backups are always a good idea.

Conclusion
The most important thing to remember when choosing a provider is to consult a supplier with a proven track record.

Yes, online storage and services may seem convenient because of easy access and relatively low costs. However, there are major security risks during data transfer (we all remember the saga with the naked celebrity photos that were leaked online). Why pay to upload terabytes of data that you don’t need access to daily? On the other hand, offline and offsite storage and services require user discipline and infrastructure systems but ensure that your data is protected and that you are in full compliance.

The perfect storage solution for your business is one that is tailored to your specific needs, fulfilling ALL of your requirements. Choose a provider that can offer you all of the services you need rather than just the one they have to offer.

Unsure about the right backup and storage options for your business? BSF can help you to assess your needs and find a tailored solution to suit your needs. Simply contact us.

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