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A critical example of why off-site storage for data backups is key

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A devastating blaze last month in Christie Hospital, Manchester, put into perspective the essential need for backup and disaster recovery.

As an institute for Cancer Research UK, the feared loss or damage to the millions of pounds’ worth of life saving equipment seems to pale in comparison to the potential loss of years of research and data.

Prof Richard Marais, the head of the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute, said that while 25 years’ worth of clinical samples had been saved it was almost certain that data had been lost in the damage sustained.

Disasters, both man-made or natural, are almost inevitable and impossible to predict, which is why ensuring the continued protection of organisational data must be an ongoing consideration for all enterprise organisations.

An effective backup and disaster recovery plan is essential in maintaining business continuity in the face of disaster no matter what form it takes: fire, flood, ransomware virus or even human error.

As part of your strategy planning, determine how much the loss or corruption of your data would cost your business, financially and otherwise. In terms of the overwhelming effects of the fire at the Christie Hospital, it is easy to assign a monetary value to the loss of equipment and material items, but the impact of lost data has the potential to go much further.

Such a substantial loss of critical business data does not only have a financial value, but also a reputational one. Historical information into experiments and lifesaving research could have been lost, along with the work of PhD Students, post doctorate fellows and group leaders. The knock-on consequences of the fire move out beyond the hospital, effecting the lives and education of a much wider group. 

In order to recover from a data related disaster, organisations must be able to demonstrate that additional measures have been put in place which will protect against a future loss.

When creating an effective backup and disaster recovery strategy which will deliver business continuity, guidelines requires putting in place a process for replicating and backing up organisational data externally to the core business unit in a very different physical location.

For many enterprise organisations, off-site data backup processes are well defined in business continuity planning, but even for those there are several challenges which must first be addressed.


Sending company data to an externally located store, or even cross-siting it with another business unit can require high performing networks which are often inhibited by bandwidth restrictions. For organisations wishing to overcome this challenge of off-site or cross-site data backups, a number of options can be considered. Firstly, and most obviously, more bandwidth can be secured. The limitation to this option is of course the price. Alternatively, backups could be given greater priority across the network, sacrificing the business productivity as the performance of current applications are affected.

The most common option chosen for an enterprise backup strategy is the evaluation and selection of a backup application capable of replicating and transferring data across lower bandwidths. In situations where difficulties persist, the option for bandwidth optimisation solutions are also widely considered.

Data Security

The maintenance of data security standards is one the largest concerns of any organisation, especially when considering the prospect incorporating off-site backups into the backup and disaster recovery strategy. Strict standards for data security are dictated from within organisation protocol as well as industry and governmental regulation, and often require high standards of data encryption.

Some things to consider when creating off-site backups is your requirements for data encryption once in transit and once it has reached its final location; as well as the security of the off-site location.

For organisations with multiple locations, a cross-site backup strategy is often a highly-considered approach. By replicating and backing up data to be stored in an alternative sister or branch office, enterprise organisations can ensure the continued ability to recover any lost or corrupted data in the wake of a disaster. The added benefits of a cross-site backup strategy means organisational data is never required to leave the network.


Backing up data to a secure location out with the core business can at times be an expensive or difficult process for businesses to achieve. But in order for enterprise organisations to meet their recovery point, objectives, and business continuity guidelines, they must seek out backup and disaster recovery vendors capable of working in partnership to create an effective backup and disaster recovery strategy which enables cross-site or off-site processes.


Backup Systems

Specialists in onsite and cross site business backups, Backup Systems are one of the UK’s leading backup companies. We specialise in cost effective, secure backups for medium to large businesses with 200+ employees.

As a UK based organisation we have over 10 years’ experience and a diverse portfolio of multi-national clients from a variety of industries; including the finance, manufacturing and legal sectors. 

Our bespoke backup and disaster recovery solution is designed, and created by us, giving us complete control.

Backup Systems are not a reseller and as such we are able to provide a cost effective managed backup service without the price tag of many of the big name suppliers. 

With our solution you can backup unlimited data and servers for a singular annual fee of £5,000.


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Topics: Backup Strategy