So your company has finally decided to take the leap and eschew traditional backups in favour of an off-site data backup strategy. Due to its increasing popularity, a number of vendors have sprung up to meet the demand for off-site data backups.
Paul Mah was interested in finding out more about what businesses should expect from their off-site data backup vendor, so he quizzed Jennifer Walzer, chief executive officer and founder of Backup My Info!, for a better understanding of this relatively nascent industry. Walzer gave a number of pointers on what businesses should expect from their off-site data backup vendor, to which Paul added his own notes.
Click through for eight features that you should expect from your off-site data backup vendor.
The need for the encryption of backed up data cannot be overemphasized. The issue here has nothing to do with trust for your service provider, but is about basic common sense and not running afoul of compliance regulations. With the rapidly evolving security landscape, it would be outright irresponsible not to deploy strong encryption as an additional layer of defense against the plausibility of network breaches.
If anything, the scale of natural disasters and terrorist attacks in the last decade has taught us the importance of backing up data not only at different venues, but at geographically dispersed locations. While it can be argued that the copy of data at your backup vendor already gives you the needed geographical dispersion, it seems counterintuitive to pay for a vendor that doesn’t even have a network presence at two geographical locations.
For all the touted capabilities offered by various data backup vendors, be sure to check out the vendor’s ability to meet your recovery point objective. After all, the amount of time it takes to retrieve your backed-up data in the event of disaster could mean the difference between business continuity and a severe interruption in the operations of your business.
Any experienced system administrators will know that having systems run without a hitch in the past is no guarantee that they will continue working perfectly in the future. There is a need for constant monitoring of backups to ensure that errors are swiftly detected and rectified.
Are you backing up more than is necessary? Or is your backup scheme inadequate to restore the system back to its pre-disaster state? While the basic housekeeping must be done internally, it makes sense to have a second opinion to avert genuine mistakes based on oversight or inexperience.
The increased emphasis on compliance in recent years makes it a perfectly legitimate concern whether your vendor has experience with regulations pertaining to remote data archival, especially in the context of your industry.
Rather than forcing your business to adopt the vendor’s preferred method of backing up your data, the provided software should be flexible and able to scale with the needs of your company. This includes the ability to be deployed on desktop clients, or as a system service on servers.
Does your off-site data backup vendor provide active support and guidance for your company, or does it behave like a utility company: you’re left completely on your own as long as data appears on their server and you pay the bills?