In business computing context, redundancy is simply a method that allows you to duplicate critical data or components of a system, with the goal being to increase the reliability of that system.
In simpler terms, it just means that you’ve got several backups of your important data.
For most small (or large) businesses, this data is usually coming off of a computer or a server and being stored or “duplicated” in another location.
Regardless of what kind of business you run, if you’ve got sensitive data on your computers, it’s important to realize that one contingency plan, or a loan backup of that data, would not be considered redundant.
To achieve redundancy, you need to have two or more backups of your data at all times.Depending on the size of your business and the amount of data you’re dealing with, several layers of redundancy or “extra backups” might be prudent or necessary.
But what exactly does that look like?
In the context of business computing and digital data, here’s what you need to implement a redundant backup system.
- Multiple Backups — We’ve already established that redundancy, in a business computing context, simply means multiple backups.
The more backups you have, the higher your redundancy will be. As redundancy increases, the reliability of your data and your system increases, thus creating the dilemma of budgeting, and how much a given company might want to pay for reliable data.
Regardless of budget, the rule still holds — you can’t have redundancy, without multiple backups.
- Different Types of Backups (off-site, external hard drive, etc.) — Protecting your data means you’ve got to have more than one type of backup. Your choices are usually the following:
• Tape Drive — • External Hard Drive — • Online or Offsite (cloud) — • Server or Local Hard Drive–
Which ones you choose will be unique to your budget and situation, but the principle is that you don’t want to have “all your eggs in one basket” so to speak.
For example, having three backups on a local hard drive wouldn’t exactly be considered redundant, since were that hard drive to fail, all three of those backups would be lost immediately.
Spread it out between those four options as much as possible. Ideally, you’d have one of each.
Now on to data retention.
- Data Retention — First of all, let’s make sure we understand the concept of data retention. In simple terms, it refers to the amount of time that a given backup is available for data recovery.
So for example, if you have a data retention policy of two weeks, you’ll be able to retrieve backed up data up to two weeks prior of any given date.
This is something that should be implemented when you’re dealing with data that changes or is modified on a regular basis. Project files, documents that are routinely edited and other dynamic types of data should have a reasonable amount of retention applied to their backup.
The problem is that data retention takes up space as well, which means a more expensive backup. Thus you should make sure to avoid applying retention to documents and files that don’t ever change. In their case, one backup, across several platforms is enough.
The Cost of Reliability There’s risk involved with any kind of information storage, so when you’re dealing with sensitive computing data, it’s definitely worth setting aside a portion of your budget to protect it.
On the other side of the coin, the amount of reliability or “certainty” you could purchase is endless — you could have as many backups as you want. The challenge is to achieve the necessary amount of redundancy for an acceptable price.
Again, what is “necessary” will depend on your business and the unique situation that it may be in. Though whatever the case may be, a redundant backup system is going to be the best way to protect your data.
Idera provides comprehensive application and server management software, including SQL database performance tuning. Jacob Thompson writes independently on the latest software solutions.