Once upon a time businesses kept all their records on paper, in folders (actual cardboard folders, not electronic folders).  To make sure that their important business information was safe they would put the folders in a locked cabinet.  Then ensuring only authorised people could read the records, they would only give certain people the key, locking the room and office behind them.  And they’d perhaps not even think about what might happen to all of their records if there was a fire…or a break in…or a burst pipe.

If they needed to keep records for a long time, they would box them all up and store them in a basement.  They might lock the basement door as well.  To find records there would be a filing system in place, and all being well, most people would follow the same convention.  If not – well – they’d have to spend some hours trawling through a load of folders, but that’s what you had to do.

Fast forward…and we have computers.  Yay!  No more paper? (Yeah, right…) Everything can be stored on a tape or a disk and then you make a back-up copy and your receptionist takes it home in her handbag.  However, things have since moved on.

Nowadays we have new challenges.  Businesses not only have to concern themselves with taking care of information important to their business – they have to make sure that they comply with all manner of regulations for storing, processing and transmitting this information.  In fact any organisation with any dealings with information or “data” will have to ensure that they are compliant with the legal obligations associated with the particular type of data and business activity they manage.  Let’s go back to the reference above – let’s say we are talking about a doctor’s receptionist. She’s walking around town with an entire patient data base in her handbag!  Not ideal under any circumstances and also not a particularly wise method for keeping back-ups safe.  (I have a handbag and I know what goes on in there…)

So – the moral of my little tale is that there are numerous things to consider when exploring the options for backing up your data.  How much data is there, what is it, are their legal obligations attached to how it is stored and processed, what is it stored on, how critical is it, how soon would you need it back if you lost it, how far back would you need to restore to…?  The list goes on.

The UK Government have this year released new classifications for data storage.  Official, Secret and Top Secret replace the Impact Level (IL) ratings that mainly public sector bodies will be familiar with.  That is another blog post waiting to happen…