This is the final in a four part series covering storage considerations for a new business computer. For an introduction to the series, please see this post.

The considerations in selecting the in-built storage for a personal computer is not complete without covering storage protection options.

The type of data you are storing will define if you need to consider options to guard against theft, loss or damage. Indeed, there may even be regulatory requirements on how you store certain information, for example health or financial records.

Thus, depending on your storage protection requirements, here are some items to consider:

  • Backup and recovery – Backup provides a copy of stored data at an instant in time, and then keeps that data for a given period in the event that it needs to be recovered. There is a full science covering backup and recovery, here are some key points:
    • Location – Storing backup data in the same location as the original data creates a risk of losing both the backup and the original to theft of fire. Ideally, the backup location will be physically separate to the original data.
    • Retention period – The longer you keep backup data, the more storage you will use. There may actually be types of data that is best purged after a given period. Either way, understanding how long to keep types of data is an important input to backup and recovery strategies.
    • Duration between backups – The duration between backup, and the period you are willing to risk new data not having a backup, will define your backup schedule. For example if data is backed up weekly on a Sunday, then data added to storage on a Monday will be without a backup for the remainder of the week.
    • Restore requirement – Depending on the backup solution and the volume of data, it can take minutes, days, or even weeks to complete a restoration from backup. Thus, understanding how fast you need data recovered from a backup is important.
  • Redundancy – Redundancy, through replication, provides an identical copy of data from one storage medium onto another storage medium. Replication can be useful in accessing the same information from different devices, e.g. your laptop and your desktop computer, and it also provides a level of storage protection if you lose one storage medium. That said replication is not backup, as for example, a file deleted from your laptop, will then be replicated, and thus deleted from your smartphone. Thus recovery of that document, assuming not available in local deleted files, will rely on your backup solution. Redundancy can be applied to both the original data, and also to backup data.
  • Encryption – Data that is not encrypted is trivial for a malicious person to retrieve if they have access to the storage medium. For this reason, encryption of data is mandatory for certain types of information depending on the jurisdiction, for example medical records. Thankfully, data encryption options are widely available, for example through the BitLocker function on the latest version of Microsoft Windows. There are various ways to implemented encryption which will be the topic for another day.

This completes the series of posts for selecting the storage in a business computer. Please see the introductory post for a summary of the key points across the series.