Top Tips for Selecting a Data Backup Service

All businesses need data backup. With data volumes spiralling out of control and legal requirements continuing to tighten, traditional tape backup is not a cost-effective or reliable way to meet compliance levels any longer.

1. Reliability

Backup data lives on disk drives with disk-to-disk technology. Compared to tapes, it is much more reliable. Once your backup is finished, you know that your data is accessible and secure on the disk drive. You don't ever really know whether data is usable or not with tapes until you attempt to restore it, and it is too late at that point. Up to 71% of all tape restores contain failures in them.

2. Wide Range of Offerings

Offerings from service providers vary widely. There are some that are primarily designed for enterprise data centres, with UPS systems from UPS Battery Shop, while others are for consumers. Opt for a solution that scales, and provides you with the necessary features to give you the level of service that you need. Delta-block and de-duplication technologies work to save you money, lower your data footprint, and improve performance. Find out if the de-duplication offering is at the block level or file level. Be sure that the solution can not only back up your applications but your laptops, PCs and servers as well.

3. Security

Sixty percent of organisations that use tape do not encrypt the backups. When encryption is used with tape it causes the backup to run slowly and frequently takes too long to be completed within the backup window. This results in many people turning off the encryption, which creates a security risk. Encryption is essential, even with the physical safety provided by disk-to-disk backup. Search for 256-bit AES. Look for a solution where your data is encrypted during storage and transmission.

4. Accessibility

Thousands of hours are wasted by companies waiting on tape. You need to have direct access to backups, without any time being spend on physically transporting them. It should only take minutes for your restores, not days or hours. Get yourself up for working your data, instead of waiting for it. Be sure that your Recovery Point Objectives (RPO) and Recovery Time Objectives (RTO) can be met by your solution providers, which determine how fast you are able to maintain business continuity and recover your data.

5. Cost Effectiveness

An average of £64,000 is lost by companies for each hour of lost activity. The pounds definitely make sense after doing the math: choose disk-to-disk. There are practically no zero handling costs, unlike tape: no repeated steps, locating, accessing, loading, or rush deliveries. There is one factor that cannot directly be factored in: reputation. Security and reliability can make a significant difference with only one avoided failure or breach.

6. Compliance

A majority of companies have difficulties satisfying data retention, security, and privacy regulations. How can a strong compliance partner be recognised? They will happily show you a regulatory requirements table, and list that shows how their technology, services, and products can help you with satisfying them. What's even better: make sure to hire a service provider that is accredited for storing NHS or government data and that has been accredited to assist you with complying with all regulatory requirements that you must meet.

7. Disaster Recovery

A majority of companies lack having a tested and comprehensive disaster plan. Your data protection is definitely not complete until you have a comprehensive and tested disaster recovery plan in place. The backup service provider you hire should have the professional services team and product mix that you need to help you get prepare for the worst-case scenario. Be sure they can assist you with configuring your backups properly so that you will be able to rebound quickly following a disaster. Your best bet is to find a service provider that can train you on how to deal confidently with disasters, based on the actual configuration of your company.

8. Ease of Use

There are some companies that cannot - or don't - manage their backups from a single location. You should have a simple way of managing your backup environment, and you should use software that eliminates any guesswork that may lead to you losing data. At all times you should know that your data is being protected across your whole network - which includes your remote offices - just by looking at your dashboard.

9. Customer Support

Product support that is offered by Data Backup service providers varies widely. One of the main selling points of a service provider should be customer support. You don't want to have to wonder whether they are going to be able to assist you just when you need them the most.