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Don't cut backup... especially now

The need to cut IT budgets should not lead to a cut in the backup regimen.

Don't cut backup... especially now
Bud Stoddard

This tip's author runs a backup service, so he's got an axe to grind. But his argument makes sense, to wit: Cutting your backup budget is the wrong way to save money.

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To say we've seen a significant downturn in the economy in the past twelve months would be hyperbole at its best. As business owners and executives, it is incumbent on each of us to go through the necessary belt-tightening and reassessment of the budget process whenever the economic conditions and the stock market make a turn in a southerly direction.

There are the obvious areas we turn to first - with scalpel in hand - that include head count, marketing, accounting, human resources, legal, customer support and ultimately information technology (IT). Certainly with IT investments that have risen upwards by 15-20%, this is an area that could stand to go on a fiscal version of the slim fast program, at least until we climb out of this economic malaise. It's standard to cut infrastructure costs, defer the web initiative or stretch out the additional hires for a few months but I beg you, SPARE THE BACKUP AND RECOVERY LINE ITEM. In fact, when things turn down, I would even advocate that you increase the backup and recovery expense. Yes, I know that might sound a little self-serving since my company provides back-up services to companies like yours, but I will explain.

Information and data are some of the most critical assets in your business. Lost data is considered irreplaceable -- period. Here are a few examples to make my point. Would you or anybody on your management team (following a data loss or disaster) be able to give you answers to the following?

  • What are our outstanding accounts receivable, and who owes us what?
  • What are our outstanding accounts payables and to whom do we owe what? (Yeah, you're thinking this is not really a problem.) In fact, does anybody know whom all our customers and suppliers are and can anybody recite the list without a computer printout? Not likely.
  • What do all our employees make and what are their deductions? You outsource payroll, does your payroll company have offsite backup? I know two that don't.
  • And all those customer names, phone numbers, addresses and detailed purchasing details are in your CRM system or at least in Act or Outlook...GONE. Was it backed up?

Enough said on this...I'm sure you get the point. You can replace desks, computers, supplies, and inventory, even people but data is irreplaceable and its loss could put you out of business. Think about it.

Bud Stoddard is president and CEO of amerivault, the market leader in providing online backup services to computer dependent companies. Mr. Stoddard draws from twenty years experience in data backup and recovery services and his companies have helped support hundreds of disaster recovery tests and events during that period. Mr. Stoddard can be reached by email at or by phone at 800-774-0235. Visit

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Related Book

Backup and Restore Practices for Sun Enterprise Servers, 1/e
Author : Stan Stringfellow, Miroslav Klivansky and Michael Barto
Publisher : Prentice Hall
Published : Jul 2000
Backup and Restore Practices for Sun Enterprise Servers is a practical guide for IT organizations that are tasked with implementing or revamping a backup/restore architecture. The book includes case studies, a methodology, and example runbooks. It addresses issues such as scalability and performance of the backup/restore architecture, criteria for selecting tools and technologies, and tradeoffs that must be considered. It provides technical guidelines for planning the architecture to meet service levels, as well as general advice and guidance.

This was last published in August 2001

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