At Correct Solutions, we have for some time been using disk based backups with products like ShadowProtect.  We have ShadowProtect do it’s backups to a fixed onsite drive, and this is then replicated to one of up to 5 offsite drives.  The offsite drive is then taken offsite daily to ensure we have the data offsite in the event of a disaster. Customers often ask us where they should store their backup drives so we decided to write this to better explain things.

Why 5 drives, why not 2 or 3 drives?

We supply 5 drives so that you have one drive for each day of the week.  The concept being that at any point in time you have one drive connected to the server (ie Monday), and another drive that you are about to take offsite (ie Friday).  The other three drives (ie Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday)will already be offsite .  We’ve had situations where clients store all drives onsite next to the server, and then only take one home each night.  The problem with this is that if there was a fire in the middle of the day, say around lunchtime, then at that point in time, ALL backup drives are onsite next to the server.  The fire would then destroy the server room and all the backups.

Can I do the same thing with 3 drives?

Technically you could – yes.  However one of the other reasons we supply 5 drives is that if for some reason the backups on one drive are corrupt, we still have a number of other drives we can attempt to get the data back from.  This provides for better redundancy of your  backups and helps ensure that when the disaster has happened, we can help get things moving again.

Where should I store my backup drives when they are offsite?

This last question is one we get often too.  I once heard of a client that stored their backup tapes in the boot of their car.  This revelation was told to me by the client on a day where it was 40c outside.  I asked the client to go fetch their tapes, and when they brought them inside, we found them literally too hot to handle.  Ouch.

With hard drives it’s a little easier in terms of storage.  We recommend that the clients that store them offsite, use one of two methods for doing so.

Option 1 is to use one of the many offsite data storage companies, where they will come in daily and take todays hard drive offsite and store them at a secure location.  There is a fee for this of course, but you are safe in knowing that your data is well cared for.

Option 2 is to have a trusted employee take the drive offsite daily and store it at home.  If you do this make sure that the employee does not know the encryption password that is used to secure your backups.  That way they can’t access the data at home.  Have them store the drives in a secure location away from children, pets and water.  Have them ensure that the drives can’t accidentally be overwritten by others as well by clearly labelling the drives

Is there an option to having offsite hard drives?

For some clients they want to do away with offsite drives altogether.  Correct Solutions offer an automatic offsite service that will take the incremental backups from your servers to one of our secure data centre locations via your internet connection.  This ensures that your data is not only secure, but also goes offsite over weekends and public holidays without the need to have staff members do a single thing.  If this interests you then please talk to our team about this further.