The editor of Storage Newsletter created a few waves earlier this month when he wrote an opinion piece entitled ‘Backup is dead’. He made the point that backup today has no more interest and organizations only need replication.

I won’t go into the merits of replication and de-depulication of data and the benefits of backing up blocks rather than files (or the issues encountered when indexing and matching hashes), however I think that a statement like backup is dead is somewhat premature and way off the mark.

The point I want to make is that in many businesses, especially small and medium sized setups, backup has NOT even been born as a concept let alone a tried and tested strategy.

Many people and businesses do not backup their data or if they do, it’s a piecemeal affair, doing just enough (sic) to have a copy stored somewhere (insecurely, no doubt) and presumably updated whenever someone remembers to do another backup.

Far from ‘backup is dead’, I’d go as far as stating that ‘backup does not exist’ in many organizations. Businesses admit that data is important, they know that it’s the lifeblood of their organization but few get round to actually doing anything about it – products are too expensive, they have licensing issues, freeware versions have limitations, network-wide backups are complex… the list goes on.

A survey by Rubicon Consulting found that while small and mid-size businesses are grappling with explosive data growth, the backup processes they have in place often put that data at risk. The survey, also found that 92% of companies have deployed some form of data backup technology, yet 50% of them have lost data. Of the companies that lost data, approximately one-third lost sales, 20% lost customers, and one-quarter claimed the data loss caused severe disruptions to the company.

The survey also found that concerns about potential data loss run high among SMBs. Respondents rated backup as their second-highest computing priority, after defense against viruses and other malware, and ahead of issues like reducing costs and deploying new computers. Yet nearly one-third of SMBs surveyed do nothing to back up their data.

Those companies that do backup their data often focus on server-level backups but pay little attention to data stored on workstations… and there is a lot of corporate data lying around on employees’ machines.

Instead of haggling over which backup strategy is the right one, many businesses still need to get down to backing up their data. SMBs need to give data backup a priority listing and reduce the risk that something will go wrong (and it will!)

A few years ago, faxing was given up for dead too. Today, fax servers are still going strong. Now, backup is dead. Or so we’re being told.

You can be the judge of that!

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