Have you ever suffered a major data crash? You know, those instances where your computer or device just goes down and takes your data along for the ride? This can be one of the most frustrating occurrences of modern life, especially when so many people make their living by working on a computer. Thankfully, it isn’t that hard to deal with these issues.
We mean no offense by this statement, but your previous data losses have probably been your own fault. If you had taken the time to back that data up, it would never have been lost. Because a lot of people don’t have time to do regular manual backups, they will often employ a business data backup service. This basically allows you to get all your backups done and maintained for a flat monthly fee. Here are the essential features that you should seek when looking for data backup services.
Complete System Backup
If you are paying for a backup service, there is no reason to stop at the halfway mark. Make sure that the backups will include all the data on your system. That way, any of it can be replaced in the event of data loss. Some services will only back up those files that are deemed most important, but this is a waste of your time and money. Backups need to be complete so that the whole system can be restored (when necessary) in a timely fashion.
Visibility And Testing
After a while, you are going to have a lot of backup files. When the time comes and you need these files, you don’t want to waste a lot of time sifting through that list. Thus, it needs to be relatively easy to keep track of your files and test their integrity. For instance, your provider might have a website where you can log in and view all your backups. Integrity testing can be done by checking the signatures of the files and by making sure the file sizes have not changed.
Your provider should also give you a virtual environment in which you can test your backups. This way, you can verify that they will work when needed. Not only that, but it will give your IT people good practice so that they can restore the system more quickly and efficiently.
When you are making backups, you have to consider where they will be stored. Needless to say, they can be a security risk if the wrong person finds them. Storing those backups on the user’s machine is a very low-IQ option for several reasons. First, in the event of a serious crash, that backup probably won’t be accessible. Second, anyone who can gain control of that device can potentially gain control of your backups. This is why most providers will use the cloud for off-site backup storage.
Backups are on the same level as brushing your teeth or doing the laundry. They are so routine that we sometimes forget about them. In some cases, though, forgetting about a data backup could have disastrous consequences. If an attack just happens to occur at that time, you are out of luck. For this reason, automated data backup is preferred. This feature removes at least some of the possibility for human error.
This is a term that you will hear, and it just signifies a triple backup system. Instead of simply saving a disk image file to the cloud, a 3-2-1 system saves three of them. Each of those numbers represents a particular rule. It works like this:
- 3- Always make three copies of each backup
- 2- Store those backups on at least two types of media
- 1- At least one of those three copies should be stored off-site
In the end, your backups can only be as secure as your provider. Since they will be working with these files, at least some employees will have access to your backups. This is not a problem if employees are trained and vetted, but not all service providers are quite so diligent.
You need to ask about where and how your data backups will be stored. If there isn’t some strong encryption involved, that should be a hard pass. If they don’t send the data over an encrypted connection (HTTPS), that is also a hard pass. If you really want to be sure, look for companies that have passed penetration tests by respected cybersecurity companies. That is a good way to filter out the amateurs and the shady types.
Quick Recovery Tools
Until you suffer a crash or malware attack, you won’t need these backups. However, if that kind of situation arises, it is essential to get back in business quickly. Every minute of downtime represents lost money and lost opportunities. Thus, you should choose a backup provider that makes it easy to restore your system from backups. Unfortunately, it is hard to evaluate this factor until you have already paid for services. However, you can do a few practice restorations to determine whether or not you will continue with that provider.
As your business grows and your backups become more numerous, you may need more space than you originally thought. When that happens, it is important to have the ability to re-scale your plan. A good service provider should know that everyone requires a scale-up at some point (unless their business fails, of course). Thus, it shouldn’t be very difficult or expensive.
These are somewhat specialized services, although they are sometimes bundled with other online services. As such, you need to get the most for your money. A provider that doesn’t meet your expectations probably doesn’t deserve your business. Besides, you can always call a more competent provider of computer IT services like PCH Technologies. We can be reached at (856) 754-7500.