Hard Drive Lifespans & Data Security
Whether you run a small or a medium sized business, having a backup of your data is crucial. The reason is becoming better known, but hard drives are not meant to last forever; in fact they are going to fail eventually. Until recently, the actual known lifespan for drives has been somewhat of a mystery, despite the importance they have played in computing over the last 30 years. A company named BackBlaze, who currently run 75 petabytes of cloud storage, has begun to keep data on how long their drives are lasting.
HDD Average Life Span
According to BackBlaze, consumer Hard Drive lives are split into three phases. In the First year and a half, there is a failure rate of 5.1%. This is usually due to manufacturing defects, and thus why most hard drives have warranties that cover this period. In the second phase which covers the next year and a half, the fatality rate drops to 1.4%. This is usually because if the drive does not have any defects, it should operate in this period just fine. However, the third phase skyrockets to an expected failure rate of 11.8%. As for the next 1.5 year period, BackBlaze is still collecting data to give meaningful numbers surrounding failure rates for drives in this age group.
Could you imagine what it would be like for your organization if you lost all of the data on a server hard drive? When you think about it ahead of time, a backup solution seems obvious.
Secondly, even if you do have a backup solution, is it the best one for your situation? How much money does it cost you to be unable to operate for an hour? It may take many hours to reload all of your data to your server, or to all of your machines. Having multiple backup solutions may help alleviate some of this hassle.
The Two Main Backup Solutions
You may be thinking about your data now and how secure it is, you may even be asking yourself, “What’s the best way to ensure that I have backups readily available in case my drives fail?” Truthfully there are two main solutions:
• Local Backup Solutions
• Remote Backup Solutions
Local Backup Solutions:
This is the process of copying and archiving your data on site. The most popular version of this is utilizing external hard drives. This could be a drive connected to a server, or to a specific computer, but the end goal is to target data that is critical for your day-to-day operations. Another common solution, which is a built in feature for most servers is a RAID solution. RAID is a storage technology that combines multiple components to create data redundancy, built into the hard drive configurations for a server, commonly.
Remote Backup Solutions:
This can be defined as online, or managed backups; sometimes marketed as a “cloud backup”. This is a method that will allow you to have a copy and archive of your data off-site that is readily accessible to the customer in the event that they need to restore their data. Not all of these services are created equal; for example many providers do not monitor your backups, and leave that responsibility to the user. Meaning that you must check to ensure that there were no errors when you attempt to back up to your service provider, usually you would have this set up to automatically send data on a specific schedule. However, some services, such as Fuse Remote Backups, offer a 24/7 monitoring program that is built into your monthly fee. In this circumstance, Fuse would alert you the moment a backup was not completed successfully, and then begin immediately resolving the problem so you have the most current version of your data available.
The Take Away on Data Security
The most important thing to keep in mind is that one day the device that holds your data will fail. Analyze the way you have you system currently set up, what will you do if your hard drive were to fail tomorrow? Certain industries require that you have 3 different backups in 2 different locations (i.e., Healthcare) but every organization that relies on their data should have a safety net established and a plan in the event that you need to restore your data for one reason or another. Don’t wait until you lose all your data to establish a game plan, the cost to set up a data backup solution will be far less than the price to attempt a data recovery.