The Importance of Technical Support When Choosing a Data Backup Vendor

Paul Mah
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A survey that quizzed IT consultants, system integrators and other channel professionals on their perceptions of online data backup and recovery has found the state of backup testing to be inconsistent. Conducted by BUMI (Backup My Info!), a provider of managed online backup and recovery solutions for SMBs, it also concluded technical services and support to be the most important factor when it comes to selecting data backup and recovery vendors.


Below are a couple of highlights from the press release published on BUMI's website.


  • Not all IT consultants test data restore process on consistent basis. Only four percent of respondents tested the restore process of a client's backup operation on a daily basis. The same percentage tested on a weekly basis. The remaining tested monthly (56%), yearly (25%) or never (11%).
  • Importance of monitoring status of backup processes on daily basis. Only 47 percent check the status of clients' backup processes on a daily basis. Other IT consultants check on backup processes on a weekly (20%) and monthly (25%) basis while some do not monitor backup processes at all (7%).


Ultimately, while the survey was geared towards online data backup, I felt that the two lessons gleaned from it are just as pertinent for other types of backup and data recovery.


Testing not optional


One of the biggest possible mistakes would be setting a thorough backup regime in place - and then promptly forgetting about it. Doing so would be a grave mistake, given the propensity for things to go wrong over time. For example, I've personally witnessed at least one scenario in which dwindling storage space led to a nightly backup job for an important database to silently fail due to insufficient hard disk space. Unfortunately, it was only after a hard disk crash that this fact was discovered.


While testing of one's restore process on a daily basis may not be necessary for most SMBs, some form of regular validation of backed up files is necessary. This may take place on a monthly or annual basis. However, the status of the various backup processes should be checked on a daily basis for errors or warning messages. Doing so represents a first line of defense against the possibility of missing backups.


Press 1 for ...


"Data is growing too quickly and technology is changing too fast to automate the backup and recovery process," Jennifer Walzer, CEO of BUMI, noted in a statement. "When you have a data failure, you don't want to be filling out online forms or talking to someone who is reading from a script. You want a senior-level engineer who knows your data environment and business needs to walk you through the process."


I thoroughly agree with Walzer's assertion that the last thing a small or mid-sized business wants is script-toting call center personnel asking a million and one questions to ascertain if your business has indeed suffered a data loss, or having to play passing-the-phone with different administrators unfamiliar with your setup. Indeed, the ease (and speed) with which SMBs can gain access to their backed-up data after a failure is one of the primary concerns for businesses evaluating cloud-based storage.

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