The holiday season is here and what a busy time of year it is. For some companies, business speeds up, fueled by online sales for holiday gifts. For others, business slows down as employees take vacations and spend time celebrating with family and friends. Either way, we all know how hectic things can get. One thing you don’t want to have to worry about this time of year is your client database, financial records or work files. Remote backups can give you the peace of mind you need to spend more time enjoying the holidays and less time worrying about your data.
Remote Backups: What They Are And Why EVERY Business Should Have Them In Place
Have you ever lost an hour of work on your computer?
Now, imagine if you lost days or weeks of work. Imagine what would happen if your network went down for days. Or you couldn’t access e-mail or the information on your PC. How devastating would that be?
Or, what if a major storm, flood, or fire destroyed your office and all of your files? Or if a virus wiped out your server? Do you have an emergency recovery plan in place that you feel confident in? How quickly do you think you could recover, if at all?
If you do not have good answers to the above questions or a rock-solid disaster recovery plan in place, you are quite literally playing Russian roulette with your business. With the number of threats constantly growing, it’s not a matter of if you will have a problem, but rather a matter of when.
The ONLY way to completely protect your data and guarantee that you could restore it all after a major disaster is by maintaining an up-to-date copy of your data offsite in a high-security facility. Remote backups are know as offsite backups, online backups, or managed backups. This is a service that allows you to maintain a secure copy of your data in a different location than your office.
Usually this type of backup is done automatically via the Internet after hours to a high-security facility. There is no question that every business owner should have an offsite copy of their data; however, there ARE big differences among remote backup services. It’s critical that you choose a good provider or you could end up paying a lot of money only to discover that recovering your data – the very reason why you set up remote backups in the first place – is not an easy, fast, or simple job.
But That Could Never Happen To Me!
6 out of 10 businesses will experience some type of major network or technology disaster. Often, this can end up costing them between $9,000 and $60,000 in repairs and restoration costs. That total doesn’t even include intangibles such as lost productivity, sales, and client goodwill. It may be difficult to determine the actual financial impact data loss would have on your business. But, you can’t deny the fact that it would have a major negative effect.
“But I Already Back Up My Data,” You Say…
If you are like most business owners, you’ve been smart enough to set up a tape backup. But know this:
ALL tape backups fail at some point in time.
And what’s really dangerous is that most companies don’t realize it happened until it’s too late. History is riddled with stories of companies losing millions of dollars worth of data. In almost every case, these businesses had some type of backup system in place. Unfortunately, they found out their system wasn’t working when they needed it most.
While you should maintain a local backup of your data, a tape backup will NOT offer you protection if…
- Your tape drive malfunctions rendering it useless and making it impossible to restore your data. IMPORTANT: It is very common for a tape drive to malfunction without giving any warning signs.
- A fire, flood, hurricane, tornado, or other natural disaster destroys your office (and everything in it).
- The physical tapes you are backing your data up to become corrupted due to heat or mishandling.
- A virus spoils the data stored on the tape drive. Some of the more aggressive viruses not only corrupt the data, but they don’t allow anyone to access the data on the drive.
- Someone in your office accidentally formats the tape, erasing everything on it.
- Theft – a disgruntled employee intentionally erases everything, or a thief breaks in and steals ALL of your equipment.
- A faulty sprinkler system “waters” all of your electronic equipment.
The bottom line is – You do NOT want to find out your backup was not working when you need it most.
7 Critical Characteristics to Demand from Your Remote Backup Service
The biggest danger businesses have with remote backup services is lack of knowledge in what to look for.
There are literally hundreds of companies offering this service because they see it as an easy way to make a quick buck. But, not all service providers are created equal. You absolutely want to make sure you choose a good, reliable vendor. Otherwise, hidden fees or unexpected “gotchas will burn you. Or even worse, you may discover your data wasn’t actually backed up properly. This could leave you high and dry when you need it most.
If your remote backup provider doesn’t meet all 7 of these points, then you’d shouldn’t trust them to store your data:
- Military-level security, data transfer, and data storage. This is fairly obvious. You want to make sure the company housing your data is actually secure. After all, we are talking about your financial information, client data, and other sensitive information about your company. Never trust your data to anyone that doesn’t have the following security measures in place:
- Ask your service provider if they are HIPAA, Sarbanes-Oxley, Gram-Leach-Bliley, and SEC NASD compliant. These are government regulations that dictate how organizations with highly sensitive data (like banks and doctor’s offices) handle, store, and transfer their data. If you are a medical or financial institution, the law requires you work only with vendors who meet these stringent requirements. But even if you are NOT an organization that falls under one of these regulations, you still want to choose a provider who is because it’s a good sign that they have high-level security measures in place.
- Make sure your data is in a secure physical location. Ask your service provider if they have an ID system to allow only authorized personnel to enter the site.
- Make sure the data transfer is encrypted with SSL protocols. This will prevent a hacker from accessing the data during transfer.
- Multiple data centers that are geographically dispersed. The best way to avoid loss is to build redundancy into your operations. That means your remote backup service should store multiple copies of your data in more than one location. That way, if a terrorist attack or natural disaster destroys one of their locations, they have backups of your backup in a different city where the disaster did not strike.
- The ability to receive overnight copies of your data on DVD or some other data storage device. If your entire network gets wiped out, you do NOT want your only option for data recovery to be Internet download. That could take days or weeks. You should only work with a remote backup provider that will provide overnight copies of your data via some physical storage device.
- The option of a hard copy for your initial data backup. Again, trying to transfer that amount of data online could take days or weeks. If you have a large amount of data to backup, it would be faster and more convenient to send it to them on DVD.
- A way to restore data to a different computer. Amazingly, some backups can only be restored to the same computer they came from. If a fire or flood destroys your original computer, then your data is gone forever.
- Daily status reports of your backup. All backup services should send you a daily e-mail to verify if your backup actually ran AND to report failures or problems. Some may also allow you to notify more than one person in addition to yourself.
- Help from a qualified technician. Many online backup services are “self-serve.” This allows them to provide a cheaper service to you. BUT if you don’t set your system to back up correctly, the money you will save will be insignificant compared to the losses you’ll suffer. At the very least, ask your service provider to walk you through the steps on the phone. Or have them check your settings to make sure you did the setup properly.
The Single Most Important Thing to Look for When Choosing a Remote Backup Service Provider
While the above checks are important, one of the most critical characteristics – and one that is often overlooked — is finding a company that will do regular test restores to check your backup and make sure the data is able to be recovered.
Don’t wait to test your backup until AFTER your data has been wiped out. Unfortunately, that is exactly what most people do – and they pay for it dearly.
If your data is very sensitive and you cannot afford to lose it, then test restores should be done monthly. If your situation is a little less critical, then quarterly test restores are sufficient. Any number of things can cause your backup to become corrupt. By testing it monthly, you’ll sleep a lot easier at night knowing you have a good, solid copy of your data available in the event of an unforeseen disaster or emergency.
Want to learn more about BDR (Backup and Disaster Recovery) for your business?
At no cost or obligation, we’ll send one of our security consultants and a senior, certified technician to your office to conduct a free Security and Backup Audit of your company’s overall network health to review and validate multiple different data-loss and security loopholes, including small-print weasel clauses used by all 3rd-party cloud vendors, giving them zero responsibility or liability for backing up and securing your data. We’ll also look for common places where security and backup get overlooked, such as mobile devices, laptops, tablets and home PCs. At the end of this free audit, you’ll know:
- Is your network really and truly secured against the most devious cybercriminals? And if not, what do you need to do (at a minimum) to protect yourself now?
- Is your data backup TRULY backing up ALL the important files and data you would never want to lose? We’ll also reveal exactly how long file restoration would take. Most people are shocked to learn it takes much longer than they anticipated.
- Are your employees freely using the Internet to access gambling sites and porn, to look for other jobs and waste time shopping, or to check personal e-mail and social media sites? You know some of this is going on right now, but do you know to what extent?
- Are you accidentally violating any PCI, HIPAA or other data-privacy laws? Law makers create new laws frequently. It’s easy to violate one without even being aware; however, you’d still have to suffer the bad PR and fines.
- Is your firewall and antivirus properly configured and up-to-date?
- Are your employees storing confidential and important information on unprotected cloud apps like Dropbox that are OUTSIDE of your backup?
Even if you have a trusted IT person or company who put your current network in place, it never hurts to get a 3rd party to validate that nothing was overlooked. I have no one to protect and no reason to conceal or gloss over anything we find. If you want the straight truth, I’ll report it to you.
You Are Under No Obligation to Do or Buy Anything
I also want to be very clear that there are no expectations on our part for you to do or buy anything when you take us up on our Free Security and Backup Audit. As a matter of fact, I will give you my personal guarantee that you won’t have to deal with a pushy, arrogant salesperson because I don’t appreciate heavy sales pressure any more than you do.
We may or may not be the right fit for your company. If we are, we’ll welcome the opportunity. But if not, we’re still more than happy to give this free service to you.
You’ve spent a lifetime working hard to get where you are. You earned every penny and every client. Why risk losing it all? Get the facts and be certain your business, your reputation and your data are protected. Call us at 512-900-9478 or you can e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.