If malware deletes your company's data or locks you out of your files, costly downtime and unfulfilled transactions ensue, hurting your bottom line. Backing up your data is therefore crucial for the continued operations of your business.
The more pressing issue is whether these backups should be kept in house or not. To make this choice, you must first understand what local backups are, your backup requirements, and your financial capabilities. You should also learn about the advantages and disadvantages of this backup type.
What are local or on-premises backups? Backups that are kept on site are referred to as local or on-premises (on-prem) backups. These are stored in hard drives, flash drives, and servers kept within company premises rather than in an off-site data center or by a cloud provider.
What are the benefits of having local backups?
Below are some of the reasons why you'd want to use a local backup system for your business:
1. Local backup systems grant tighter control Since your backup storage devices are utilized and kept in your office building, it's easy for you to keep an eye on them and keep them secure. This proximity makes it convenient for your IT team to perform regular backups and use these backups quickly should an IT disaster occur. Last but not least, all your in-house monitoring makes auditing your backup strategies a fast and simple process.
2. Local backups are easier to keep away from threats Unless you're in the process of backing up or restoring data, your backup devices are disconnected from your company network and kept in storage. This minimizes their exposure to data thieves.
However, if your backup devices are connected to your network and hackers are accessing your IT systems, you'll need to shut down your data center and physically disconnect your storage devices from your servers. Being able to do this at the drop of a hat gives many business owners and managers peace of mind. Cloud service providers (CSPs) might not be able to secure your data as quickly as your internal IT team can because CSPs handle many other clients' data.
What are the drawbacks of relying on local backups?
Before implementing a local backup system, you must consider its downsides.
1. A local backup system can become costly As with any on-prem system, a local backup system requires hardware, software, and in-house personnel to monitor, manage, and utilize it. Before you purchase any of that, you'll need to hire an IT specialist to architect this system for you and optimize it for your existing IT infrastructure. Then, once you've gotten your system up and running, you'll incur recurring costs like repairs and maintenance. All in all, you need a sizable budget to implement your on-prem system.
2. Local backup infrastructure takes up more space and requires upgrades over time As your organization accumulates data, you'll need more backup servers and supplemental hardware over time. This is because you'll likely need to hold on to data for as long as five years, especially if you're required to do so by data regulations, such as HIPAA. Not only will you have to spend on more hardware and software, but you may also need more physical space to store your machines — which may eventually mean increasing your rent.
Furthermore, given how rapidly IT innovations are made nowadays, today's IT solutions become obsolete more quickly than past ones. You can expect to replace your hardware every five years or so and apply software updates and security patches often.
3. On-prem infrastructure is vulnerable to natural disasters When your backups are located in your office building, you are essentially putting all of your data "eggs" in one basket. If a natural disaster like an earthquake or flash flood occurs, you could lose both your primary data copy and your backups. This is why IT experts recommend that you also have off-site backups to hedge against this risk.
4. Handling a local backup system will take up a lot of your IT team’s time If you opt to use local backups, your internal IT staff will have a lot more work on their plates. Your system administrator will be in charge of determining where the hardware will be housed and keeping every app and system software up to date. They'll also need to validate, test, recover, and restore data as needed using the backup solution.
Next, you’ll need a backup administrator who’ll be responsible for maintaining and managing backup files and storage systems according to a set schedule. They'll also handle full data set verification, file restorations, event alerts, fulfillment of retention and scheduling requirements, data audit trail maintenance, and backup reports.
Are local backups worth having?
Most companies today choose a fully cloud-based backup system because they are an affordable and reliable option. The cloud allows firms to forego investing in local backup system components, which can be prohibitive for small- and medium-sized businesses.
Nevertheless, even if you prioritize cloud backups, there is still a significant benefit to maintaining local backups: having a redundant copy of your data to fall back on. On the off chance that the data centers of your cloud service provider are hit by a disaster and go offline, you'll pat yourself on the back for having the foresight to have backups close at hand.