Choosing a Data Backup Provider
By Cloud Direct • 16 Apr 2010
When deciding on an online backup solution, there are eight key factors you should consider. These will help you identify a solution that best fits your backup needs and your organisation.
The first consideration is visibility. Will the software that I’m using allow me to backup all areas on my system? Some software is more sophisticated than others and will handle complex databases much better, some are better suited for flat file backup. Make sure your solution recognises the key applications or databases you need to protect.
How much flexibility does the software give you? Can you easily change file selection and retention periods? If the software is quite simple and rigid it may not give you the functionality you need. For some people a simple solution is all that is required – they may just want a backup once a week. Others might need backups more frequent than that – and some solutions can provide a backup as often as every 15 minutes.
What level of data retention do you require? How many backup versions do you think you’ll likely need? More sophisticated solutions will store versions of backed up data for up to seven years. This type of software is ideal for companies that are required by law to store data securely for extended periods of time – especially for auditing purposes. Simpler solutions may not save as many versions, making them unhelpful for long-term retention.
What level of security requirements do you have? If you store data relating to third-parties you’ll want to make sure the data backup solution you choose encrypts the data both back-end and front-end. Also ask questions about where the serviced data centres are – if your industry is regulated by any protection requirements you’ll want to make sure you’re meeting them.
How long will each incremental backup take to execute once the software has been installed? How often is the data that you’re backing up likely to change? Some software will handle the constant changes to files very well and perform backups efficiently. Other software might not be as developed and potentially prove buggy, so make sure your choice is a well programmed, tried and tested one.
If your data is likely to grow over time, you’ll want to make sure the software or service provider you choose will scale alongside the growth. Linked closely to performance features, you need to be sure that incremental backups are not adversely affected by a growth in data. Some software are only designed for a small amount of data and do not cope well with increased data sizes potentially causing system slow-downs or memory crashes.
Ease of Use
Is the software easy to use? Is the help there when you need? Straightforward application interfaces are useful but problems occasionally arise with all software. It could be system conflicts, or amendments you make to your operating system, but whatever it is you need to be sure that there is help available when you need it. An expensive and unhelpful phone call to California once every few months almost removes any benefit of a monthly subscription cost saving.
Will the software cope well with important applications? Will it recover them efficiently when needed? It’s all very well having you data returned to you but if it’s a big dump of important information unsystematically ordered in a recovery folder, how do you start putting it back together again?
Perhaps the most persuasive factor, even with the other important issues mentioned. However, rather than looking at the listed price of a solution, look for value for money. What is included in that listed price? Where is the price justification? It’s more sensible to look at the bigger picture rather than the more visible figures – only then will you be able to make an informed decision.
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