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There are more than 31 different flavors of backup solutions, and probably every service provider will tell you that theirs is the best. So, how do you identify the perfect backup system for your organization?
What would you do if your organization lost all its data? If you wake up one day and find all your databases, websites, and essential apps are inaccessible or wholly wiped out—it happens to the best of us.
You’re probably thinking, “I’ll rely on the backup.” However, backup is an extensive and generic term. It can mean duplicating a few critical files and storing them in an offsite location, making carbon copies of entire servers, copying files, and pasting them in separate onsite databases, among many others. That’s why we insist that as a business owner or manager, you should deeply interrogate the features of a backup solution before trusting it. What are its rewards, pros, and cons?
We came up with the following eight questions to guide you on what you should look for in a backup solution:
Imagine suffering a data loss and turning to your backup only to discover that its server was offline and your critical data is missing. Or finding out that the backup system has been regularly offline, and your scheduled backups haven’t been taking place.
Your backup provider should guarantee a high availability solution that stays online most of the time. We recommend a minimum availability of 99.95%.
You list the services of a backup provider in case anything happens to your onsite database. But what if it’s the provider’s servers that are compromised? Worse still, what if both your local servers and the backup system’s servers go down at the same time?
Before you enter into a contract with a backup provider, you should ensure that they have a reliable disaster recovery plan. For instance, a good provider will have multi-location data centers that run simultaneously. So, if one of the centers goes down, say due to a fire accident, they will immediately bring copies from one of the alternative locations online.
If you’re operating a busy e-commerce venture, for instance, you may need more frequent backups than the average business. The backup frequency usually depends on the amount of data you process.
Some providers allow their clients to control the frequency and even timing of their backups. However, if the vendor regulates these factors, you should ensure that the backups are frequent enough not to lose any recent data in case of an incident. We recommend at least two backups a day if your organization is not that busy.
Most backup service providers charge clients based on the amount of storage space they’ve used. However, if the provider bills per user, they may limit the amount of data backed up from every workstation. Find out if there are storage limits, and if any, is it enough for your backup needs?
While renting storage spaces is pretty inexpensive compared to buying personal servers, you may still want to look at individual providers’ rates. Take the size of one backup and multiply it by the number of backups you need.
As your organization grows, your backup storage requirements equally increase. Sometimes, the increase may be temporary due to occasional large-scale projects or peak seasons.
You need a backup solution that allows you to scale your storage space up or down on a need basis. This way, you avoid cases where you’ve paid for excess or too little space.
As much as you put the necessary cybersecurity measures in place to safeguard your local databases, you must also ensure that the third-party backup provider you trust with your data does the same. Otherwise, bad cyber actors can use them as backdoors to access your sensitive information.
Ideally, they should have every security measure that you have and more. These include robust intrusion detection and prevention systems, proper data encryption (during storage and transfer), SSL, and several data centers, among many others. Also, they should have on-site security personnel and CCTV cameras monitoring their physical data centers 24/7.
Every organization that stores, processes, or transmits personal information must comply with GDPR and the Data Protection Act. If you are working with a third-party backup vendor, it’s still your responsibility to ensure that they stay compliant. Therefore, you must confirm that the provider you choose to work with understands your industry standards and fully complies with them.
Having secure backups is one thing; knowing how to navigate the technicalities of retrieving them and promptly getting back online is another. That’s why you need a backup provider that goes beyond renting out backup storage spaces. An ideal provider should extend 24/7 support via phone, email, or online chat to help with technical issues.
Above all, carefully go through the terms and conditions before listing the services of any backup provider. We recommend that you have a checklist of your ideal provider and cross-check with the prospect’s SLAs. You may also want to get views of one or two current and past clients.
LeadingIT offers 24/7, all-inclusive, fast, and friendly technology and cybersecurity support for nonprofits, manufacturers, schools, accounting firms, religious organizations, government, and law offices with 10-200 employees across the Chicagoland area.
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