What Is Data Retention? Why Do I Need It?

If you are in the medical or legal industry, regulations require you to retain data and records for a certain period of time. The data retention process was a little more clear-cut back when it was only files and sheets of papers in brown boxes that you stored in the attic or the basement.

However, in today’s time, almost everything is in digital form, whether it’s stored locally on a file server, external hard drives, or in the cloud.

This data needs to be secure and easily accessible in the event you need to retrieve any of it. Depending on how much data you have, there are many options.

The one thing you do not want to do is buy a cheap hard drive, move your data over to it, and think you’re safe.

If you only have one copy of that data and you move it to a new location, that is your only copy. You want to have your data saved in more than one location or a mirror copy of it saved.

A business might want to consider a local or cloud server with a RAID setup so that there is a copy of your copy. It creates a copy of your data so that, in the event of a hardware failure or data corruption, the data can be restored from the second copy.

The first copy would be returned to the last version, like nothing happened to it.

If you are a larger business and/or deal with medical or financial information, it would be very wise to utilize data encryption for the stored data.

However, every business should create a data retention policy and follow it. Categorize documents and images, then specify how long the data is to be retained.

Make sure all employees and IT professionals with access to company and client data know and adhere to this policy.

The main thing to keep in mind is the type and quality of hardware that is used. It’s great to have a data retention policy in place and follow it exactly, but if your data gets corrupted, stolen, or a hard drive fails, the policy does you no good.

The key to a rock-solid data retention policy starts with having a robust backup solution in place as well.

The backup solution can either be a cloud-based system or an on-site enterprise storage device or server with a proper RAID setup.

Here at Tech Experts, we can assist you with establishing a file server with the correct RAID configuration to ensure that the retained data is safe and secure, with encryption and redundancy built in. Cloud based image backups are also a great way to ensure the safety of your data.

We can also start you on a managed service plan for monitoring and maintenance of that server and your other workstations, laptops, printer, and VoIP phone systems.

Wherever you decide to store your data, make sure that enterprise hardware and security measures are used to ensure that your data will remain intact.

Data Redundancy And Why You Should Have It

Ron Cochran is a senior help desk technician for Tech Experts.

Data redundancy is the making of an exact copy of the data that you are currently working with, in the event of a hardware failure, theft, or those pesky mistakes where you delete something that you really wanted.

What happens is you will have 1 or more hard-drives used for backups, housing those files that are kept nearly current. You will go through the steps to rebuild or restore the files or programs that were removed, then you will be back at the point you were at before the files were lost.

The above is extremely important when you are working with money or medical records. Let’s say you were working with a customer on their tax returns and your office experienced a power outage, which turns your computer off in the middle of saving data. A short while later, the power is restored and you turn your computer on and open the data to resume where you left off — and you find out that there is no record on your computer of your client and you start to panic.

If you had a redundant data solution, then you could restore the data, but if you didn’t, then you will need to call that customer and explain that they will need to bring all of that data back in so you can enter it into your system again. Now, consider how this customer could begin to think of you and your business.

If you have a safety net, you would follow the steps from your program and, in a short while, all of that data that you lost will be restored and you’ll be back at the point when the power went out, with all of your data intact. There are several different ways you can set up a system backup. One of the ways is to have more than one storage solutions to send data to.

With this solution, you will have more than one drive that is saving that information, which will do a couple of things. It will speed up the read/write times and you take less of a chance of losing more data. It’s always wise to have more than one solution for data recovery. You don’t want to wait until it’s too late and find out that in order to recover the data on your drive it’s going to be thousands of dollars.

You can have an image copy of your hard-drive made one time a day (or once a week or maybe twice a month) with a scheduled back up. You could have an application running in the background of your computer that would take up very few resources as it copies your data to a drive or an offsite storage facility.

We offer quite a few different data redundancy solutions to our clients. Those options range from on-site RAID drives to a cloud-based solution that is off-site. With either option, you can have a data backup or an image of your operating system — or even a direct mirror copy of your hard-drive in real time.

If you are worried that you might lose valuable information, then some sort of data redundancy is probably something you should be actively seeking. If you’re overwhelmed by the options and aren’t exactly sure which method would suit your business best, contact us and we can help you narrow it down, as well as provide a solution.