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The Importance of Data in the Information Age.

Ever since the need for preservation of books and historical text, information backups were important. Before the printing press was invented, people used to make hand copies of information to safeguard and spread the written word to other locations. If one manuscript, book, or piece of information was destroyed, lost, burned, or stolen, it wouldn’t be an issue because there were many copies. This began as early as around 300 CE. Back then, people realized that you couldn’t depend on a single original document because too many variables can easily destroy it. Now fast forward past the printing press to the digital era. Data is created and stored on hard-drives, solid-state drives, personal storage devices, and data centers. But even though this is wildly different from manually putting the written word on a piece of paper, the idea of copying to preserve it is precisely the same.

In our digital history, we came from backing up data on tapes, to floppy disks, to compact disks, to simple USB devices, and now on dedicated backup appliances to either local or offsite backup facilities. The variables that affect digital data are very similar to those that also affect written information. Environmental activity like natural disasters, theft, malicious destruction either internally or externally, or simply losing/misplacing the information.

Unlike the past, however, backup technology is a relatively booming industry with explosive growth over the past few years and a stable, linear rise in the future market. It is expected to grow from 7 billion per year (2017) to nearly 12 billion by 2022.

This is a highly sustainable market, because if you think about it, data is always going to be the most important asset to a company. Protecting data will always be a necessity and if businesses continue to develop or new companies created, there will be even more need to backup old and new information.

Let’s clarify what “backing up” actually means. Data backups are different than simply copying it. Copying data is called “data redundancy”, which is just creating replicas of the information in different locations, for instance, making a copy and putting it on a flash drive or external hard drive. Backups, on the other hand, are compressed versions of the data and they are typically created and handled by third party software. This software would be needed to de-compress and restore the data to its original location and status.

Backup solutions can be divided into three categories:

  1. On-premises:Or “On-site” backup solutions include specifically built machines to backup data in the company using the network.These appliances are usually idle and are only used for the intention of backing up a specific set of data localized to the business.Accessing this information when needed is usually quite easy and restoring the data, because it’s local, is relatively fast.However, these devices consume resources, power costs, cooling costs, and it is another point of failure in the system.Because it’s used infrequently, you also have to consider continual testing of the unit and make sure it’s properly functional.

  2. Cloud Backups:Backing up to the “cloud” is quite similar to backing up to on-premises units.The only difference is that you are doing it over an internet connection and sending your data to an offsite datacenter.In doing this, you save on costs of maintenance like power, cooling, and time resources as well as relieving the burden of assured operability.You are also given the ease of scaling options for your company growth.Whereas on-premises backups would be quite complicated to upgrade and scale, cloud backup storage makes it fast and simple to acquire more storage or resource capacity and even to scale down if you need to quickly exit.Typically cloud backups are offered as an affordable monthly payment and these payment models are pay-as-you-go.

  3. Hybrid Backup:Simply put, these solutions combine both on-premises and offsite backups.Although there is involvement of an onsite backup unit, these devices connect to cloud services and extends the backups to the cloud as well.If you require the speed of data recovery in addition to the failsafe protection of an offsite backup, a hybrid solution would be the best fit.

Data loss is the ultimate destructive force to a business because it disrupts its continuity. Employees cannot be as efficient as they would be with normal data access and sometimes they cannot work at all. Future business is halted, customers are angry, reputation is declined due to your unreliability, and companies can easily collapse. If you are financial institution processing thousands of transactions per day, your business would be almost instantaneously destroyed if not properly backed up.

Fear is a major driver for change. The fear of a business failing due to complete loss of data will inspire the investment into backup technologies that prevent it. This is the main reason why the data recovery industry is on the rise and will continue to be on the rise as long as there are companies with information to lose.

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