There are many options and services available when choosing an online, off-site data backup service. If you are not familiar with what to look for or what questions to ask you could make a devastating mistake that can cost you lost time, money and even lost data. This document will briefly go over what options are mandatory, optional and what to look out for. Use it to assist you in making the right decision, but still do research for what is best for you and your specific business needs.

Cheaper is not always the answer

A company offering a backup service has expenses which will affect the price you pay. Yes, some are able to sell in high volume and, as such, give a discount to customers.  But when a price is far cheaper compared to others there is usually a reason. One of the ways a company can cut costs is by not having an adequate network infrastructure in place. This can result in not being able to restore your data. Your “backed up” data may not even be there. That’s right; the data you are paying a company to keep safe for you may not be able to give it back to you when you need it most. We suggest doing restores of your data at least once a month to verify backups are good. Another method to reduce their costs is to have their tech support located in different countries such as India or not having any phone support at all. We all know how well that works from our own experiences. When considering a backup company, call their tech support and see who answers the phone and how well they know their own product. Basically, know the company, how they operate and weigh the options and services they provide.

My data; stop that thief!

Security is an extremely big deal with so much information now passing through the internet and hackers trying to steal and sell everything they can. Make sure before backing up your data through the internet that it remains safe and secure. One way to do this is by verifying that the backup software encrypts your data before it leaves your computer and stays encrypted when stored on the service company’s equipment. Look for at least 128-bit encryption. Also, having the data transferred using SSL (Secured Socket Layer) makes it harder for hackers to intercept, but if they still happen to, the data is still encrypted.

Floods, fires and earthquakes; oh my!

Just because your data has been encrypted and successfully backed up off-site does not mean it is safe. If a natural disaster occurs, how safe is the facility where your data resides? Data facilities are given a 1-4 rating (4 being the highest) to indicate how strong and reliable a facility is. Know this information before you back up your critical business data to Bubba’s shed off the coast of Florida. Another service to consider would be if data backed up to one data facility is mirrored to another data facility in a different region. This way if one site is totally annihilated, or in case of equipment failure, your data is still safe and secure.

The virus ate my backup

An additional critical backup service to be aware of is data versions. This means you actually have a history of backups available to restore from. For example, you make a successful backup of your accounting database. The next day a virus infects your computer and corrupts the database and is backed up again that night. The following day you discover the issue, but when you restore your data you end up only restoring the backed up corrupt file. If you have data versions, then you can simply go back in history to the last day or time you made a successful backup, right before your data went bad. Version history should go back, at a minimum, 7 days or versions. Some versions go back 10, 30, or 90 days and even years!

Going for the gold

So with all these great backup options should you sign up for the biggest, best one? Not necessarily. You really need to sit down with a knowledgeable technician and decide what is best for your specific company needs. Some good questions to ask yourself might be “How many days worth of data can I afford to lose?” or “Will losing my data put my company in jeopardy?”. Having the right backup in place for your company will help give you peace of mind and protect your company’s biggest asset, its data.

Why choose Big Sky Computer Solutions for your backups?

With all the internet backup providers out there it can be hard to shift through all the weeds to find the answers you need. So here it is plain and simply listed. Big Sky Computer Solutions’ online data backup service offers:

  • Automatic and scheduled backups. Set it once and forget it.
  • Notification of failed backups to BSCS and you
  • Data versions from 10 backup versions up to years.
  • Continuous, live backup through the day and night for up to the minute restores.
  • Two backup facilities in different regions.
  • Bank-level 128-bit encryption of data before leaving your system and with SSL.
  • Customer sets their own unique password to their files.
  • Compliances: HIPAA, Sarbanes-Oxley, Gramm-Leach-Bliley, SEC / NASD, SOX, FACTA

Different options and pricing are available for single personal computers, businesses with a few workstations and companies with many workstations and servers. Feel free to contact us at 406-414-0532 to schedule a knowledgeable technician to sit down with you and decide what options are best for your specific needs.