Not all backups are created equal, what questions to ask

Backup & Disaster Recovery Checklist

The ONLY way to completely protect your data and guarantee that you could restore it all after a major disaster is by maintaining an up-to-date copy of your data offsite in a high-security facility. 

Remote backups, also called offsite backups, online backups, or managed backups, is a service that allows you to maintain a secure copy of your data in a different location than your office.

Usually this type of backup is done automatically via the Internet after hours to a high-security facility. There is no question that every business owner should have an offsite copy of their data; however, there ARE big differences among remote backup services and it’s critical that you choose a good provider or you could end up paying a lot of money only to discover that recovering your data – the very reason why you set up remote backups in the first place – is not an easy, fast, or simple job.

The biggest danger businesses have with remote backup services is lack of knowledge in what to look for. 

There are literally hundreds of companies offering this service because they see it as an easy way to make a quick buck. But not all service providers are created equal and you absolutely want to make sure you choose a good, reliable vendor or you’ll get burned with hidden fees, unexpected “gotchas,” or with the horrible discovery that your data wasn’t actually backed up properly, leaving you high and dry when you need it most.

Here are eight questions to get you started.

  • Do you provide a hybrid cloud solution? A hybrid cloud backup solution is optimal to achieve intelligent business continuity, as it encapsulates the best of the private and public models to form a feature rich, highly  efficient, and affordable system
  • Can you provide my client instant local virtualization? Downtime costs you and your client money. Being down for hours is simply unacceptable.  Current BDR solutions should allow you to have servers booting instantly locally so that client services can be restored and back in the right place in a matter of minutes.
  • Can you provide proof of backup? What proof do you have of successful data backup? Your BDR vendor should be able to provide screenshot verification.
  • Do you virtualize off-site? It’s imperative to offer your clients the peace of mind that their critical business infrastructure can be brought online quickly in the cloud. This allows continuous uptime.
  • Do you deliver an off-site sync method that manages bandwidth? It’s critical that a BDR solution be able to prioritize if data is local or off-site, thus managing bandwidth to provide greater flexibility, increased reliability. and higher transfer speeds of your off-site backups.
  • Do you have multiple data centers, in geographically diverse locations? This is important for three reasons. First, it ensures that even if data is removed locally, there is a secure copy off-site that can be restored. Second, it saves money because your local device capacity does not have to cover your entire backup repository. And third, in case of a regionalized disaster, at least one data center location must not be affected.
  • Do you offer flexible contracts and upgrade policies? Constant change is a fact of life in IT. It’s critical to select a vendor whose goal is to help its Partners succeed, by offering flexible contracts and upgrade policies. Also, in the unfortunate event that a client is lost, it’s important you are not on the hook for their BDR contract.
  • Do you provide US based technical support? If you’re in the middle of a backup or disaster crisis, you need the best technical and customer support available, at the time it’s required.

The Single Most Important Thing To Look For When Choosing a Remote Backup Service Provider

While the above checks are important, one of the most critical characteristics – and one that is often overlooked -- is finding a company that will do regular test restores to check your backup and make sure the data is able to be recovered.

You do not want to wait until your data has been wiped out to test your backup; yet that is exactly what most people do – and they pay for it dearly.

If your data is very sensitive and you cannot afford to lose it, then test restores should be done monthly. If your situation is a little less critical, then quarterly test restores are sufficient.

Any number of things can cause your backup to become corrupt. By testing it monthly, you’ll sleep a lot easier at night knowing you have a good, solid copy of your data available in the event of an unforeseen disaster or emergency.

Scary But True Facts About Data Loss

  • The average failure rate of disk and tape drives is 100% - ALL DRIVES WILL EVENTUALLY FAIL.

 

  • Only 34% of companies test their tape backups and, of those who do, 77% have found failures.
  • 60% of companies that lose their data will go out of business within 6 months of the disaster.
  • Over ½ of critical corporate data resides on unprotected PC desktops and laptops.
  • Key causes for data loss are:
    • 78% Hardware or system malfunction
    • 11% Human error
    • 7% Software corruption or program malfunction
    • 2% Computer viruses
    • 1% Natural disasters
    • 1% Other
  • Only 25% of users frequently back up their files, yet 85% of those same users say they are very concerned about losing important digital data.
  • More than 22% said backing up their PCs was on their to-do list, but they seldom do it.
  • 30% of companies report that they still do not have a disaster recovery program in place, and 2 out of 3 feel their data backup and disaster recovery plans have significant vulnerabilities.
  • 1 in 25 notebooks are stolen, broken or destroyed each year.
  • Today’s hard drives store 500 times the data stored on the drives of a decade ago. This increased capacity amplifies the impact of data loss, making mechanical precision more critical.
  • You have a 30% chance of having a corrupted file within a one-year time frame.

Source: VaultLogix