Backup Systems for Mining Organisations
Are you backing up your data as frequently as you should? And do you have enough backups in case of data loss? These solutions can help.
If you are familiar with good mining IT protocols, then you know that backing up your data is a must. Data loss can happen at any time to any device you own for multiple reasons. And it’s likely that your data loss will occur at the worst possible moment. Additionally, if you store your data in only one place, and you experience a natural disaster or a device failure, you may have lost your precious data forever. The question crops up then, “what should I use for backing up my data?” Here is what we suggest you consider for your backup device.
What is the 3-2-1 Rule?
It doesn’t matter how well you secure your data or buy the best device to store it on, data loss is bound to occur eventually. That’s why you should have several copies of your data. This is where the 3-2-1 rule comes in:
- Have 3 copies of your data at all times—one working copy and two backups
- Keep 2 copies on local devices
- Store 1 copy kept off-site or in the cloud
Common Backup Problems
People run into trouble often with inadequate backups which leads to problems when data is lost. Some reasons for these issues are:
- Backup software wasn’t operating correctly
- Files on the backup device were corrupt
- Backup device had failed long ago without the customer’s knowledge
- The original device and backup device were in the same building, and that building experienced a fire, flood or another disaster
What to Consider When Choosing a Backup Device
What is the best device to use for storing your backup data? That depends on the answer to the following questions:
- How much data are you storing?
- How portable do you need your backup device to be?
- How often are you backing up to your device or otherwise accessing your device?
- How long do you intend to store your data?
- How easily do you need to access your data?
- How many devices are you backing up?
How much data are you storing?
To start, determine how much data you are storing. Then you will know what capacity backup drive to buy. A good rule of thumb is to back up your data to a device with 2 to 4 times the amount of data stored. It’s common to underestimate storage need, and rate of growth.
Performance should be considered as well. As your data set grows, faster performance is necessary for optimal efficiency.
How often are you backing up to your device or otherwise accessing your device?
Does your job require frequent travel? Is the type of file you’re saving have a large amount of data? Or is your backup drive sitting in your desk drawer?
For those who have a backup drive in their desk drawer, an HDD may be the perfect fit. However, if you backup a lot while travelling, the size of your files should be considered. Maybe a cloud backup is best.
For those backing up large files frequently, an SSD is potentially a better choice. An SSD has no moving parts to break while travelling.
How long do you intend to store your data?
Just like the devices we use every day, storage devices can go bad or break down. They can also become lost due to reasons you don’t even know right now. Environment, usage, age, and other factors can all affect the lifespan of a device and the data on it.
- Hard Disk Drive (HDD): When storing on an HDD for archival reasons and infrequent use, it’s rare for them to fail. However, an HDD can lose its magnetic strength over time. Check the drive every 2 to 3 years.
- Solid State Drive (SSD): SSDs are physically more durable than HDDs but also don’t hold data forever. Cells in the NAND flash can leak over time. Therefore, check the drive every 2 to 3 years.
- Tape: Not an ideal choice for daily backups, because tape can be fragile. It is a good choice for long-term storage if stored in a low-humidity climate. Check every eight to ten years.
- Optical: New options for optical storage with very long lifespans are available. Write-once BD-R-HTL can last for 100 to 150 years in an optimal environment.
How easily do you need to access your data?
If you back up your computer but rarely touch the backups, you can check the backups periodically to look for corrupt or lost files. If you need to access them frequently from multiple devices, a cloud service may be your best bet, but research cloud providers carefully before making your choice.
How many devices are you backing up?
If you need to back up several devices to a single location, you may prefer a network-attached storage device (NAS). This type of storage can consist of one or a group of devices working together. Another option is using the cloud to back up multiple devices.
Best Data Backup Option
For someone who is using a computer or network at home, or a professional with a small data set, using an SSD and cloud backup allows you to copy data and store it easily. When the SSD is at 50-percent capacity, you can transfer all the data to an HDD and an archival DVD to have two copies for long-term storage. Once these copies have been verified, you can erase the SSD and begin again.
For a small business or professional with a large data set, you may want to consider using a combination of storage devices including a tape backup, business-class cloud services, and HDD or SSD for multiple copies that can be accessed more often. The key to storing data on tape is maintaining the right environment.
A third option is discussing your needs with a managed IT service provider to determine the best storage devices for your mining company.