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Neil Barrett

Do You Have A Back Up?

Or are you using storage?

Posted on: 18/03/2013   By: Neil Barrett

These days, most of us work on the move. Now I don't mean the office is in a motorhome or caravan and we are working on our way down the motorway, though that might be true for some of you. What I mean is that what used to be a business owner logging in whilst on vacation, has now become normal working practice ...

remember that a backup and shared storage are two separate concepts

remember that a backup and shared storage are two separate concepts

These days most of us work from multiple sites, on mobile devices and need to access our information from anywhere at any given time. The thing about working on multiple sites, on multiple devices is that data can get easily lost and mobile devices such as phones and laptops can corrupt data but are also more easily dropped and broken than your desktop pc. Only the other day I was with a potential new client carrying out one of our no obligation systems reviews and I came across a scenario which gave me the idea for this blog.

This potential new client was paying his existing provider a monthly fee for what was described on the invoice as "off-site backup". On further inspection what he was actually paying for was some cloud storage space where he had a mapped drive connected to an off-site server where he could store his shared data so that other members of his team could access this data as well, which of course was also backed up. Or at least it would have been if he was using it at all, the shared drive was completely empty. He was under the impression that it automatically backed up his and his colleagues computers every night and he was continuing to save his documents to his desktop the way he always had been.

There are two aspects about this scenario which alarmed me, firstly that the provider was charging the customer every month for a service he wasn't using properly. It would not have been difficult for the provider to notice that the storage space was not being used and make a quick phone call to make sure the customer fully understood service they were paying for. But secondly that the provider themselves clearly didn't understand the difference between backup and storage.

So here are my definitions:

  1. Backup is the activity of copying files so they will be preserved (ideally with encryption) in case of equipment failure or other catastrophe. It is a snapshot of a point in time that is only accessed in the event of a disaster where those files need to be restored.

  2. Storage is a data area that stores files that are designed to be accessed by one or more people on a day-to-day basis. Those files are "live" data i.e. always the latest version.

In today's style of mobile working there is a place for both.

You need to be accessing files, changing them and saving them from multiple locations and you can do this through cloud storage. However you should also be copying those files to an area that you are never accessing (apart from test restores from time to time) so that you have a backup just in case your mobile devices corrupt a file should they get dropped or damaged.

I'm glad to say that this potential customer is now a customer and now does have an "off-site backup" solution which does automatically copy the data from his laptop every night. If you feel you would like to talk about either storage or back up, or mobile working then please call me on + 44 (0) 1327 300 311 and I would be happy to talk you through the options.

Until next time ...


More about Neil Barrett ...


I have always worked in the IT industry both for in-house IT departments and outsourcing companies. My first position was for a large managed services provider in Coventry, based full-time on a customer site in Northamptonshire. It was during this assignment I was exposed for the first time to the UNIX & Linux operating systems which I still enjoy looking after today. By the time I left there I was running the Department and went on to head up the IT department of the distribution arm of a manufacturing company on the Warwickshire / Northamptonshire border.

Although the position was well paid and had great benefits, it wasnt particularly challenging and that's when I set up my own business. Keba was born. It was about nine months later in the summer of 2002 that that I decided to do it full-time and never looked back.


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