How to Backup your Business Data Cost Efficiently on your Mac!

The integrity of your data, especially your business information, is paramount to achieving success. If the information you rely on for your livelihood is compromised in any way, it could threaten your ability to generate revenue in the short term, at best, or cause you to shut down your operations, at worst. Either way, the ramifications could be devastating and negatively impact your overall future earning potential. Therefore, a number of backup solutions should be entertained to ensure your data is safely backed up and quickly accessible when the need arises. I own and operate a small business so the solution has to be effective and cost efficient. Here is how I handle this issue.

I have a Mac Pro that doubles as a work station and server for my practice.

I also have four iMacs and two MacBooks that complete my office network.

The Mac Pro houses the database for my practice management software, MacPractice, and the radiology database, Sidexis, that runs on Windows XP via Parallels.

The data stored on the Mac Pro is invaluable. Solutions for both on-site and off-site backup need to be implemented to ensure my business continues to function with minimal risk of interruption in revenue and liability.

Before we continue, it is important to understand the concepts of on-site and off-site backups if you are unfamiliar with them.

On-site backup is where your backed up data resides at the premises where you work or where you normally input and access your data, usually your place of business.

This form of backup is important in case your primary server ceases to function and the contents cannot be accessed, as in a hard drive failure.

Off-site backup is where your backed up data resides at a remote location. This backup solution is vitally important to guard against fire, theft or other hazards to your office that can rob you of your information, including your on-site backup data.

My Mac Pro houses two internal Serial ATA hard drives. You can purchase the Mac Pro with only one Serial ATA hard drive from Apple and then order another Serial ATA drive on the internet to save money.

For my on-site backup solution, I purchased SoftRAID for $129, a software application that lets you mirror the data on both hard drives (RAID 1) so in case one hard drive fails, your data is not lost or corrupted and your productivity does not suffer because it eliminates down time. SoftRAID will warn you of the failure but you will continue to function without interruption of your work as though nothing happened.

The off-site solution I have chosen to use is CrashPlan. I purchased the CrashPlan+ option.

For a onetime fee of $59.99, I receive continuous backup protection. The neat thing about CrashPlan is that the data gets backed up to a destination of your choice, like your home, so you know where your off-site data is at all times.

The data that is sent from my office is encrypted and compressed through CrashPlan before it leaves my office and, in my case, gets transferred to the external firewire hard drive connected to my Mac at home.

There is even an online back up option from CarshPlan that allows you to back up an unlimited amount of data for a price lower than the competition such as Carbonite, Mozy and Aazon S3,  regardless of how much data you’ll upload.

It is a solution that will work with any platform including Mac OS X, Linux and, yes,  even Windows.

The final part of the backup picture is one that is a hybrid between the on-site and off-site solutions. I use SuperDuper! ($27.95) to clone my Mac Pro to an external firewire hard drive every other day.

I bring this hard drive with me to work every morning, perform my back up at the end of the day and take the hard drive home with me when I leave. The backups that area performed utilize the “Smart Update” feature of the application, changing only the data that was altered from the time the previous backup was performed.

This method gives you a number of advantages. You have a true off-site back up solution and, if you bring it to work daily and if your server with the RAID 1 backup solution fails for any other reason that prevents you from running your office, simply boot up one of your other machines from the cloned hard drive and voila! You’re up and running again with another computer functioning as your server until you can troubleshoot or repair your original main server.

These are the solutions I utilize to protect the information that is vital to my practice. If you haven’t yet implemented a back up strategy, do so.

The options listed in this article may or may not work for you. You should investigate the solutions that will be effective for your business and do not hesitate in applying them.

The loss of critical information without adequate or reliable backup is not worth the adverse consequences that can result.

What backup solutions do you use? Would anyone like to share there experiences of data loss and recovery with the readers of AppleHits?

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