More often than not, we bump into business owners that have some idea about who’s backing up their data, but very rarely do we meet team leaders with a clear picture of their backup schema. Offsite backups are generally a ‘set it and forget it’ appliance. They should be – especially managed backups. That is, after all, what you’re paying for.

In the height of a crisis, we’re the people responsible for restoring data and translating the technical problems to the people who own the data. In a well-kept business, the backups follow the industry standard ‘3-2-1 Rule’. In those circumstances, the conversation is usually pretty easy to have – yes, you’re in a pickle, but we’ve got the data.

What exactly is the wizardry behind the ‘3-2-1 Rule’ you ask?

Your business should have 3 copies of your mission critical data in 2 physical locations with 1 of those locations being off-site.

And no, that doesn’t mean the old blue Passport plugged into the back of your server is good enough.

We’ve had the conversations that don’t feel as fuzzy, too. Those normally get reiterated a few times before the people in charge really understand what we’re talking about. If the backups aren’t good, weren’t tested, don’t have up-to-date data or are inaccessible, the consequences can span from extended downtime to a full-on ‘start over’ scenario. Lots of backup services are marketed as single-invoice solutions to keep your data safe. Unfortunately, a solid protection plan relies on redundancy to really keep your business safe. Luckily, this problem has been solved before.

Using the ‘3-2-1 Rule’ and our understanding that no single backup service is a catch-all solution for perfect protection, we can plan for disaster with a little box that sits on your network to serve as that second physical location for your backups. A NAS (or, Network Attached Storage) device is a small computer with a bunch of hard drives configured as a RAID that normally sits in your network closet without a screen or a keyboard. It lives on the network, keeping your data available without the overhead of all the extra peripherals of a normal server. It’s the very foundation of a network built with redundancy in mind. Multiple copies. Multiple locations.

NAS boxes come in a variety of sizes. Generally, for the small to medium sized organization, a NAS will be small enough to even slide onto the back of an empty desk. In almost all cases, they’re about as expensive as a workstation.

Here’s the kicker: for the low cost of entry, you’re actively protecting your business against loss.

If using your company’s money to better stage yourself against the most common forms of loss is among your principle concerns, a NAS is a worthy investment. Pushing your data to an off-site data facility is a great start – keeping a copy in the server room is the next best step.

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