How Much Does Data Backup Cost for 501c3 Nonprofits?


When it comes to industries that require extensive data backup solutions, the 501c3 nonprofit sector probably isn’t the first to come to mind.
If you think about it though, proper data backup is no less critical to nonprofits than it is to, say, law firms; in order for your organization to serve its mission, you must be able to access and maintain your data (even in the event of a disaster).
After serving the DC nonprofit community for over 20 years, however, we are quite familiar with the limitations that budgets can put on your organization. This makes the question of cost all the more sensitive: when it all comes down to it, what should your nonprofit expect to invest in data backup?
Below we’ll walk through the factors that most closely influence costs, along with the average price range for data backup solutions within the context of your industry.

What main factors influence the cost of your data backup?

We discussed these two factors in another article, but they are precisely the factors that dictate what kind of backup solution your organization would need:

  • RPO (Recovery Point Objective). What, in quantifiable terms, is your tolerance for lost data? Would you be okay if you lost a week’s worth of work? Or would losing much more than 30 minutes’ worth be serious cause for concern?

  • RTO (Recovery Time Objective). What, in equally as quantifiable terms, is your tolerance for downtime? Are you comfortable being unable to access your network for a few days? Or do you want a solution that will get you back up and running in less than an hour?

Your answers to these questions will help indicate the type of backup solution that is the best fit for your organization. As you can probably guess, the lower your tolerance, the higher the price tag.
The unfortunate reality is that the most robust solutions may simply not be feasible for your organization. At that point, you must determine what is more important to you: mitigating risk, or saving money in the short term.

What is the average price range for nonprofit data backup?

After all is said and done, your organization can expect to pay the equivalent of $1 to $3 per GB per month on average to back up your mission-critical data.
We, for example, provide a comprehensive backup and disaster recovery solution to a 60-person nonprofit in DC. This solution takes full images of each server at customizable increments, and has both on- and off-site virtualization capabilities within roughly ten to thirty minutes of the disaster. They are protected at all levels of disaster (from file loss to complete office destruction), and they invest about $1,500 per month to get there.
On the other end of the spectrum, we provide file-level cloud backup to several 501c3 organizations, and they invest just a touch over $1/GB all-inclusive. File retrieval is a breeze, but in the event that one of their servers actually goes down, we will need to rebuild the device, get their data shipped to us from our datacenter, and then put their data back onto the server. This is a wait they’re comfortable with given the cost-savings, and we’ve found that to be quite common across nonprofits.
In the end, the most important question to ask yourself is what level of protection you’re looking to achieve with your data backup, and doing the best you can to fit the appropriate solution into your budget.
Know too that there are plenty of resources out there that can you match your backup needs with the technology that make the most sense for you—all you need to do is ask.

Is your nonprofit looking into data backup options? Having trouble vetting the  solutions and providers out there? Let us know--we can help.