Small Business Data Protection: AT&T On Onsite vs. Offsite Backup

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Data Musts for Your Small Business

Posted: 08/26/2013

Are you doing everything you can to help safeguard your valuable data? In this four-minute podcast, we talk to information security expert Phil Alexander about what small businesses should be doing.

This informative podcast addresses:

  • How to save critical data so you’re better prepared in the event of unexpected disaster.
  • The differences between onsite and offsite backup services, and the pros and cons of each.

AT&T Tech Support 360SM Backup and Go service provides the tools you need to help safeguard your valuable business data.


Tad Clarke: Hello, I’m Tad Clarke for AT&T Small Business Insights. We’re here with information security expert Phil Alexander, speaker and author of several books, including "Home and Small Business Guide to Protecting Your Computer Network, Electronic Assets and Privacy." He’s going to talk about data musts for your small business. Phil, thank you for being with us today.


Phil Alexander: My pleasure. Thank you.


TC: Now, before we get started, let me say that AT&T offers online backup and tech support to help protect your company’s data.


Okay Phil, let’s talk about data backup first. Businesses know it’s important to back up their data, but many don't. Do you have any thoughts why?


PA: Well, I think a lot of reasons they don't, is if they’ve never had an issue or have a computer fail, they don’t recognize the immediate need. It’s only sometimes after the fact, and they’ve lost critical data that they realize—oh, I should have been backing up the whole time.


TC: And by that point, it’s too late?


PA: Absolutely.


TC: Are there any tips on how businesses can prioritize what data they need to back up? Do they need to back up everything?


PA: I would say overall, No. There are certain things you can back up on a CD it came with (for example, the operating system), but certainly data that’s required for retention for legal reasons or regulatory reasons, you need to make sure that’s available and backed up. If you're inventing the new greatest craze that’s coming out in six months, you might make sure that’s protected and backed up. So it’s really the data that’s important to the health of your company—certainly financial transactions.


TC: Why would a business want to back up data onsite and offsite as well?


PA: Onsite has a convenience factor. There are many devices out there, like Storage Area Networks, that are getting relatively inexpensive, that can back up data locally, and it’s very quick and easy to restore if need be. The potential downfall of backing up locally is if something happens not only to the server the data is backed up on, but to the room or the data center itself—loss of power, flood, tornado, something where it's not available—that’s when an offsite backup becomes very important.


TC: So then they would be just looking at some of the online backup services out there?


PA: Actually, there are a number of major suppliers in that business space that provide online backup.


TC: What should a business look for when evaluating an online backup service?


PA: Well, a few things. One, you want to make sure the company itself is stable and is going to be there. I mean, it certainly doesn’t do you any good to use a backup provider online and that provider goes out of business in six months. Also, depending on the nature of your data and the sensitivity, you want to look at the protection of the data, mainly encryption. 


TC: What about non-digital data? What do businesses need to consider with paper documents?


PA: Paper documents, certainly less in volume than electronic data, but can be just as sensitive. So, like electronic data, when you’re storing it, lock it under lock and key, that simple, and when you're disposing of it, dispose of it securely.


TC: Now virus threats are a continual threat as well. What are ways to avoid those?


PA: Well, the obvious one is to have current antivirus software. There are a number of major players in the antivirus field, and all of them recommend that you gotta have the antivirus definition files current. As new viruses are identified, they update their antivirus software, and you need to keep those updates current. Another way to realize better protection is to utilize more than one antivirus provider. For example, you have  one provider on your servers, another one on your workstation or laptops. Since each antivirus software provider is a little different, if a virus may get by one provider, the odds are it will get caught by the second provider. So it kind of gives you double protection there.


TC: OK, Phil, thank you for being with us today.


PA: My pleasure.


TC: Turn to AT&T for the tech support and online data backup you need. Come back to for more Small Business Insights soon. Thank you.