What Do I Look For in a Backup Provider?

There are lots of people advertising backup solutions. And since for the inexperienced user it all tends to look the same, the natural tendency is to focus on cost.

However, the old adage that 'you get what you pay for' is as true in the data protection industry as it is anyplace else.  Below are the key characteristics that I'd look for when evaluating any business grade backup provider --

  • Certified data centers: You want to be sure that your data is stored in top quality data centers that have met industry standard qualifications.  Too often cheap backup providers use substandard environments.
  • Regulatory compliance: If you're in a regulated business that requires SOX or HIPPA compliance, be sure that your backup provider also meets these requirements.  And even if you're not in a regulated business, it's still good to know your backup provider meets high levels of compliance.
  • Geographic dispersion: Earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunamis are all part of life on this planet.  Look for a backup provider that stores your data in at least two geographically dispersed locations so there is less chance a natural disaster will destroy your information.
  • Data Encryption KeyEncryption: Look for your backup solution to encrypt data in at least three locations
    • Any temporary files created by the backup software on your computer or device;
    • While in transit over the internet between your computer and the backup location;
    • While stored at the provider's data center.
  • Competitive cost: Comparing apples to apples can be difficult. Yet you don't want to spend an exorbitant amount for backups.
  • Easy to use: Is the backup software easy for your users? Can it run automatically in a 'hands off' configuration?
  • Centralized management: You will likely have information across multiple computers and devices.  Look for a system that allows backup on all these devices to be managed from a central control console.
  • Multiple device types: All backup providers handle windows machines.  Look for a system that also handles the other device types (IOS, Android, MAC, Linux file shares, etc) in your environment.
  • Handles different types of data: You probably have lots of things besides just files - sql databases, exchange mailboxes, photos. Maybe even virtual machines. Will your backup provider handle all these data types?
  • Versioning: Lots of backup providers advertise that they keep versions, but what may be harder to find out is how many versions they keep.  A provider that keeps 30 days of versions for a particular file may not be sufficient if you discover your computer was infected by malware 45 days ago. That means all the versions that are backed up may also be infected.
  • Ease of recovery: If you need to recover, how easily can you do it?

That's a lot to consider. We believe that the LockYourData.com backup system that is offered by Custom Internet Services meets and exceeds all these requirements. Why not look at the next article and see what we mean?