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What’s in your data backup plan?

As data becomes more valuable in healthcare and across the economy, experts say data backup is an irreplaceable function today and into the foreseeable future.

Jeff Rowe | Jan 22, 2018 12:00 am

With all the talk about data storage and ready access, it’s perhaps not surprising that the subject of data backup has been set aside.  To be sure, data backup approaches have gone through numerous iterations, in recent decades, and at times it has seemed as if, particularly given the difficulty in recovering certain pieces of data in the case of a disaster, some stakeholders have half-questioned the value of backing up in the first place.

But according to tech writer Drew Robb at the EnterpriseStorageForum, there are a number of reasons why data backup is here to stay.

For one thing, he notes, the issue often isn’t backup per se, but subsequent data recovery.

As Christophe Bertrand, Vice President of Product Marketing at Arcserve, a data backup provider, summed it up, “It’s not about backup, it’s about the ability to recover systems and data in a way that meets IT and business requirements. What is happening now is an acceleration of techniques and solutions that mitigate or eliminate the consequences of data interruptions.” 

On a related note that will ring familiar to healthcare stakeholders, effective backup can be key for purposes of long-term data retention. 

As for how best to approach data backup, Dan O’Farrell, senior director of solutions marketing, Veritas Technologies, advises users to continue to adhere to the time-honored basics of backup. In particular, he emphasized the old 3-2-1 rule that has been around for years. Three copies of data on at least two types of media, one of which should be offsite.

“The basic principle of backup is keeping multiple copies of important data in multiple places to avoid having that data lost or destroyed,” he said. “While this principle will never change, the methods for doing this will continue to evolve and advance, making data backups more efficient and less costly over time.”

When it comes to how to divide data according to need to access, while healthcare has unique considerations Robb says organizational data typically consists of roughly 15-30 percent active data and the rest is cold data. This is where the archive comes in: move the less active data to a lower cost tier and use a variety of backup methods to protect critical data. 

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