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The inconvenient truth about data backups

Backups are not a glamorous, high-profile task in any business. In a small or mid-sized business, where money and staff time are at a premium, there is always something more pressing to do than to work on backups. Hence, many businesses operate with backup processes that that are incomplete or inadequate: • Critical data is not backed up or is backed up infrequently, putting recovery at risk • Backup processes rely on one individual with the right expertise, who may not be immediately available if a recovery is needed • Backups are stored only locally, near the primary servers, putting the business at serious risk if the local site is compromised • Backups do not meet regulatory requirements or industry standards for data protection and retention

More than 50 percent of small and mid-sized businesses have experienced data loss, according to a 2008 study by Rubicon Consulting1. Many different factors can result in lost data. Some of the most common causes are hardware failure, human error, software failure, and viruses. No business is immune to these problems—and that makes backup an essential requirement for today’s organizations.

Although the majority of small or mid-sized businesses have some form of backup solution in place, these solutions are often time-consuming to operate, are inconsistently used, or offer insufficient protection from disasters such as fires and floods. Many businesses lack the staff time and expertise to commit to managing a comprehensive backup strategy. Still others have had a solution in place for years, but that solution is costly, out of date, or both.

If you are not completely confident in your current approach—if you are not sure that it provides the right combination of protection, cost, and efficiency to meet the needs of your business—it is time to consider your alternatives.

Backup as an online service

Happily, there is a new way of doing backup—a state-of-the-art solution that helps you get started quickly and easily. Online backup (also sometimes called “remote backup”) presents a new opportunity for small and mid-sized businesses by offering all the benefits of enterprise-class data protection without the associated management complexity and cost.

An online backup service sends data securely over the Internet to a highly available data center managed by data protection experts. The administration console is typically accessed on-demand through a Web browser, eliminating the need to purchase hardware, manage a complicated installation process, or manage software upgrades. New features are added seamlessly over time and delivered automatically to all customers at once. Perhaps most importantly, online backup services constitute a simple, reliable strategy for maintaining a copy of current backups off-site in case disaster strikes.

Online backup services offer automated, “always-on” protection. Backups are triggered by file changes or run according to a set schedule, eliminating the need for staff to spend time performing manual backups or managing storage media, such as tapes or DVDs. Once the initial backup is performed, only block-level changes are sent over the Internet, ensuring bandwidth is used efficiently. Online backup services use a pay-as-you-go model based on storage usage. Typically, 24x7 support is also included in a monthly or annual subscription fee. Costs are predictable, and most providers enable customers to adjust usage up or down without penalty.

Is online backup right for your business? This paper outlines 10 advantages of online backup services to help you decide.

To read the complete article, download the PDF.