Secure Remote Data Storage
Are we making backups of the wrong data?

Representation of core data (from www.mrbackup.net)  

is based on a 'core data model' which assumes that only mission critical/business critical data requires protection. It is assumed that on any given computer

  • 5% or less data is in fact of mission or business critical importance and worth storing in a secure environment; (non-trivial/critical)
  • 10% or less of additional data may be classified as 'important' and worth retaining; (non-trivial/important)
  • 85% or more data is probably redundant and / or obsolete; (trivial/redundant) — which raises the question, should this data be stored in the first place?
 





 

Backup - (definition) copy of computer information made in case of partial or total data loss or corruption; used in disaster recovery. Backups are used to ensure data which is lost can be recovered.

verb two words, to back up data — Remember to back up with MrBackup regularly.

noun one word, last known good backup — Our backups are stored on a remote data server.

 





Designed for small business! 's off-site data storage solution is designed to provide micro, small and medium size enterprises with peace of mind through affordable, efficient storage of non-trivial data in complete multiple backups.
Enterprise level data storage solutions are often bundled with enterprise application software (EAS) and aimed at large scale implementations over multiple hardware and software platforms. Due to the high cost and very high hardware requirement specifications such enterprise level solutions are typically unsuitable for micro, small and medium size enterprises to implement.
offers an affordable custom solution to deal specifically with the off-site data storage needs of micro, small and medium size enterprises. In terms of the SHARE framework, MrBackup allows for non-automated "Tier 5: Transaction integrity"-level data level security. Application level restoration and bare-metal recovery does not form part of the data storage scheme. Typical data storage and recovery is from and to Microsoft Windows based operating systems.
From the Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_tiers_of_disaster_recovery






Representation of core data (from www.mrbackup.net)  

's 'core data model' is inspired by the 'Master Data Management' concept and uses management requirements as a primary directive.
Core Data is defined in terms of specific software applications in use, operational requirements and business activities. Each client's unique combination of business activities, operational requirements and application software solutions is unique. The retention of 'Core Data', which may include transactional data, suggests rapid return to operational efficiency. In the small business environment, this is often based on a single software application, or a suite of applications, with easily identifiable data items. Master Data Management is about identifying the correct data to manage; core data is about backing up the relevant data.

From the Microsoft Librbary: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb190163.aspx
 



uses an open ended data source approach. This means that any data that exists on a Windows OS based computer can be stored. It does not matter if your data consists of images such as photos of friends and family, important MS Word documents, spreadsheets, email or important accounting records, or sophisticated SQL systems, MrBackup is designed, and capable to store any data. prefers a multiple snapshot approach, which guarantees a 0% risk of fuzzy backup! On bigger data it is advised to make periodic full data images, with snapshots of the changed data to date. This option allows for bigger data sets to be handled efficiently. If its on a computer, MrBackup can store it!



guarantees at least eight (8) complete unique data sets. This means that if the data becomes corrupt due to software failure, user error, real-time data corruption or virus attack, MrBackup will still have several chronological complete unique data sets which may be recovered. This is the main difference between a true backup and a data security system such as RAID.



has a unique version control mechanism to ensure that multiple, complete data sets are backed up uniquely and separately from each other. This means that if any single backup turns out to be damaged, incomplete or unusable, it is still possible to fall back on earlier complete data sets of the same backed up data. The main advantage to this system is that in the event that the most recent backup can not be used, several previous versions still exist.



offers the ideal solution to enterprises requiring fast, reliable, hot, off-site data storage. Our solution requires broadband Internet connectivity for the duration of the backup process, but does not involve any form of mirroring and the backup is only available on demand, so can not be described as being 'on-line.' As such our multiple version data storage model allows for the rapid recovery of any unique version of client data from our electronic vault. Secure remote data storage, electronic vaulting, is a critical aspect of increased disaster recovery potential. In computing, off-site data protection, or vaulting, is the strategy of sending critical data out of the main location (off the main site) as part of a disaster recovery plan.
From the Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/offsite_data_protection

From the Wikipedia: http://onlinestoragefree.org/data-storage-and-backup-knowing-its-real-value-to-company-and-individual-use



Recovery Potential defines the prospects of successful disaster recovery. Recovery Time Objectives indicate who long a system can be down before the disaster leads to business failure, and Recovery Point Objectives indicate how much data can reasonable be lost by a system before such loss leads to business failure.



For an extensive discussion of the importance of computer data back up and the role of such backups in disaster recovery, please visit the Wikipedia entry for 'Backup':
From the Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Backup



Disaster Recovery, is of course a sub-element of Business Continuity. For a discussion of Disaster Recovery, please visit the Wikipedia entry for 'Disaster Recovery.'
From the Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disaster_recovery



Backup or Archive? The literature on electronic data backup and archiving can be confusing. The underlying assumption is that data changes continuously and that current 'live' data will not look the same as older historical data. Backup is used for short-term operational requirements; Archives are used for non-operational long term reasons. Multiple backups are always advised. Our simple definitions are as follows:

backup
noun - a copy of current data, with a short life cycle, primarily for use in the recovery and restoration of the original system in the event of data loss, intended to restore data with the express purpose of recovering a live system from data loss; verb - the act of backing up data
archive
noun - an older copy (backup) of data retained for an extended period of time, primarily used in restoring a system to an historical Point-in-Time for analytical purposes or statutory compliance, not suitable to restore a live system to operational efficiency; verb - the act of archiving data









Cloud Computing appears to be an easy solution to most backup needs. However, Cloud Computing, or putting your data 'in the cloud' such as through remote hosting or Terminal Services products could create a false sense of security. The first problem is that not all computer data exists as 'user accessible files on disk' - applications which use advanced data management systems such as SQL store data in on-disk files which are not designed to be in human readable format. Simply copying a SQL folder to a different location will not guarantee that it works in the event of disaster recovery. In addition the cloud is subject to hacking. The classic example is certainly what recently happened to Sony's PS3. Although Sony was not necessarily 'in the cloud,' its PS3 servers were open Internet servers, similar in use, availability and hack risk to data in the cloud.
What is the Sony PS3 hack? http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/gamesblog/2011/apr/27/playstation-network-hack-sony

Cloud Computing is not a backup system as such, and is subject to denial of service, caused by terrorism and natural disasters.
What happens when the Cloud is offline? http://www.zdnet.com/blog/saas/lightning-strike-zaps-ec2-ireland/1382

Common Complaints regarding Cloud based backup systems include poor security, slow access speeds, bandwidth restrictions and partial or incomplete backups. This means that a Cloud backup upload could time-out before completing the upload, resulting in partial uploads and potentially unusable backups. Further, all other Cloud based backups are subject to threats such as hacking and Denial of Service attacks.
Unlimited Cloud based backup dropped http://www.smallcloudbuilder.com/storage/articles/225-mozy-drops-unlimited-backup

Complaints about Cloud based backup http://www.smallcloudbuilder.com/storage/reviews/277-livedrive-reviewed



The RAID Risk
RAID is not a true data backup system. RAID is a data security technology designed primarily to protect against physical hardware failure or loss of access to data due to hardware or electrical failure. Please see the table below which compares RAID to traditional data backup.



Data Risk Traditional
Backup
RAID Cloud
Catastrophic Data Loss Okay FAIL Okay
Fire, Flood, Theft, Terrorism Okay FAIL Okay
Physical Disk Failure Okay Okay Okay
Denial of Service (DoS) attack
Bandwidth restrictions
Okay Okay FAIL
Intentional malicious data corruption
due to virus or hacker attacks
Okay FAIL FAIL
Non-Intentional data corruption
due to human error or system malfunction
Okay FAIL FAIL


guarantees at least eight (8) complete unique data sets. This means that if the data becomes corrupt due to software failure, user error, real-time data corruption or virus attack, MrBackup will still have several chronological complete unique data sets which may be recovered. This is the main difference between a true backup and a data security system such as RAID.



is designed to provide data security through disk redundancy. As such RAID is aimed at protection against data loss and loss of access to data due to disk drive failure or power failure. The main problem with RAID systems is that undetected data corruption may lead to such damaged data being written to the actual RAID system. Due to the near-live mechanism used by RAID, it is possible to overwrite good data with bad data. The result is that in the event of undetected corrupt data being written to a RAID system, due to the RAID system, the result will be that such bad data will not be suitable to restore the original system. RAID is primarily aimed at maintaining live systems, it is not designed as a backup system. In the event of software failure, user error, real-time data corruption or virus attack, the damaged data will be written to the RAID disk and securely stored: keeping the useless data safe. A RAID system used as a main system disk is not intended as a replacement for backing up data. The solution is obviously to make and keep multiple backups of the same data.
From the Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAID



It is suggested that RAID and traditional data backups are not competing technologies, but supplement each other. Both RAID and traditional data backups form part of a data security strategy. Both are important, but not mutually exclusive. RAID is designed to provide maximum data security against physical failure and minimize system downtime. RAID in itself can however not restore data to a specific Point in Time. Traditional data backups could restore data to a required specific Point in Time. In the event of non-physical failure RAID offers no solution. With limited resources, RAID should take second place to traditional backups.







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