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Remote backups explained

8 July 2010

remote backups explained

Taking data off-site has always been a pain for business. It’s actually often ignored for days, weeks, months, even years.

I don’t envy the person who should have taken the company data off-site when they haven’t, and a disaster strike, i.e. fire, flood, theft. The pain of taking action is certainly less than the pain of regret. The complete reliance on data within a company is real, and there are few, if any, companies now that could operate at all or at least effectively without their company data.

Online backup, also known as remote backup or off-site backup systems do take the pain out of backups. The rise of broadband has made life easier in so many ways, the core reason is that bandwidth is now cheap. You can send your company data off-site and securely, ensuring that a disaster will not mean you have lost your core business asset, your data.

You can backup your entire enterprise these days effectively over the internet with an online backup and off-site backup solution. It was difficult a couple of years ago, although the bandwidth was there the technology for transmitting that data effectively was expensive. Technology moves on and now online backup systems are cost-effective and work more efficiently over broadband connections.

In the past, if you changed a file within your network then that whole file would have to be backed up that day. That may not seem to be too much of a problem, but it was if that file was a 5GB database and you only had a 256K upload on a 2mbps ADSL connection with contention.

With many systems now, if you change a large file then only the change you made to that file will be backed up, not the file as a whole. If you make a change to a file on your systems then just the change is backed up, using a technology called an in-file delta backup. You can look at as if you had a 1000 page word document which you just add one word to. In the past, the whole file would have to be backed up again after you added that word. This is not the case now and only the one word would be sent over the internet. This obviously saves valuable bandwidth, i.e. does not congest your network connection. It also decreases your backup window (the time spent backing up your data)

If you backup your whole system over the internet using a remote backup system then you have peace of mind. If your budget is limited and you can’t backup your whole system then do still use a remote backup system, but just back up your critical data files, i.e. customer database, important email databases, customer files, etc. This will ensure that your critical data is safe. It may take longer to get your systems running again, but at least your most valuable assets will be safe.

Many people are concerned about the security of their data, as it’s hosted outside of their company and transmitted over the internet. This is not a concern with many online backup solutions. As an example, the QSB (QuoStar Secure Backup) remote backup solution is encrypted at every level, not even QuoStar can gain access to your data. You have a key which only you know. There is no way we can gain access to it, no way we can access your data, even when it is on our systems.

Online backup systems with a 3rd party may not suit your environment if you are a large organisation with large volumes of data. There are many solutions and ways to protect your systems, but I’ll save that for another day. If you would like to discuss a strategy for remote backups/online backups in the meantime then just call for a no-obligation chat.

Robert Rutherford, CEO of QuoStar

NEXT>> Business continuity isn’t just about backups

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