You may want to back up and take another look….

Russ Levanway, CEO, Tektegrity

Backup Choices

The online and remote data backup market has really exploded with solutions and options lately. With so many choices, it can be overwhelming to evaluate them all. Questions abound… Will this company be around later when I need my data?” or “Will my data be safe?” “When I really need it, how long will it take to get up and running?”

Another popular backup option that has been around much longer: use a local, on-site solution. Switching out backup tapes anyone? (You know who you are.) Backup software running on your PC or server makes an image of the data on your drives, or copies files once (making a full backup) then later only copies changed files (or, “incremental” changes in data made daily).

What’s the best choice? What are the pros and cons of each?

Local Backup

Local, or on-site backup, has several strengths. Usually, locally-connected backup solutions can run far faster than Internet or wireless network bandwidth allows. This is likely both the greatest strength for local backup and the greatest weakness for online backup.

With local backup, even if a PC or server is a total loss, your data can be recovered in full usually in a matter of hours, including all of your software, preferences and any customizations you may have made. This is not always the case with online backup. Most online backup companies only back up the files you tell them to, not the programs used to access them. For example, if only the emails in your Outlook are backed up, then all the software, preferences and settings will need to be recreated and reloaded and then the data loaded from the online backup company. Depending on how much data there is and the speed of your internet connection, that could take days. Most companies cannot afford to be down for this long.

Another benefit of local backup is that is that you only pay once for the device. On the other hand, if you add and create many files, you may be compelled to purchase a backup device with more storage space sooner than planned.

Online Backup

Backing up remotely using the Internet has a few notable strengths, especially for home users, students and roaming laptop users. One is the ability to back up wherever you are, whenever you are connected to the Internet. There is no need to haul a backup device around with you, have it connected, and run a backup session every day. A related strength? The ability to restore from anywhere that you have Internet access, anytime.

Lastly, and best… Redundancy. Here’s a scenario: your office where you keep your computer and backup device is flooded completely. With everything destroyed, those files saved online are still safe, and recoverable. The hardware is lost, but those irreplaceable files are still safe. Storing data in multiple locations lends that extra bit of security that many businesses find essential.

Stronger Together than Apart?

It is always best practice to have data backups that are duplicated offsite in case of a disaster or hardware failure. There are some companies that offer the best of both worlds. TekTegrity offers TSM BlackBox, which is both an on and off-site system backup solution. With either the local backup or offsite, specific files or the whole system – each and every program – is recoverable.. All data stored on the local device is replicated to two off-site data centers. This combination merges the convenience of on-site backup with the added protection of off-site backup, providing complete data integrity regardless of any failure or catastrophe that may occur. If needed, critical data can be restored to a brand new device and sent to the end-user’s location. Technicians continuously monitor the status and security of every device, ensuring data is safe and secure at all times.

Conclusion

Wondering if all this caution is worth it? Just ask, “What would I do if all my files disappeared?” And if you are currently using a backup solution, ask yourself, “When was the last time I verified my backups were successful and how many days could I live with your systems down?”

Ensuring that critical data is recoverable is a critical step in protecting your business. Hardware failures, malware attacks, natural disasters, fires and many other unforeseen events happen all the time, more often than any of us would like to think.

If you have an IT provider, ask them these questions along with whether or not they verify your backups and can provide reporting. An ounce of caution is worth a ton of lost sleep… and lost data.

Russ Levanway is the CEO of TekTegrity, Inc. TekTegrity is an IT Strategies and Management firm that provides premium IT services to businesses, government, education and non-profit organization in San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Monterey and Kern counties. TekTegrity’s goal is to become your organizations long-term strategic partner by supporting your IT infrastructure with your bottom line in mind. Some of TekTegrity’s services include System and Workstation Installation, Virtual Hosted Servers, Priority Backup, Off-Site Data Replication, and Total Systems Management™ (TSM). TSM is an industry-leading managed services model that emphasizes proactive and preventative IT support at a predictable fixed monthly fee. For more information about TekTegrity, email info@tektegrity.com,visit www.tektegrity.com, or call 805-596-0135.