Backup Solutions

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We are consistently having discussions about cloud and virtualization strategies with clients and prospects, and sooner or later (usually sooner), the conversation always gets around to cloud backup.  The concept seems like low-hanging fruit….it is redundant, off-site, cost-effective (isn’t it?), and allows you toscale quickly.  What’s not to like?

Because of this perception, it is often one of the early areas of focus when businesses develop a cloud strategy.  But it is not as easy as throwing your data onto a remote server and forgetting about it.

1. How does the Cloud Backup provider address security?

Security is obviously top of mind but it’s also fairly easy to address. Simply ask what compliance and security standards the vendor conforms to.  If the answer is SAS 70 or ISO 27001, your data will be in good hands – perhaps even more so than if it were in your own data center. Other attributes to look for include 256-bit SSL connections, to keep the data secure in transit.

2. What kind of tech support is provided?

If you run into a problem, is tech support available around the clock?  You may have to pay more for such an option, but it’s good to know it’s there.  Also find out what form(s) support takes. Will you be sending a blind email from a web form or can you call up and talk to real person? You won’t have to fill out a form – give us a call and you will speak with a live human being.

3. To what extent is my data backed up?

While some cloud backup providers routinely make a copy of your data in a backup data center of their own, that’s not universal. You’ll have to conduct some risk analysis to determine how important that is with the data you have in mind. Depending on whether you’ll be keeping a copy of the original at your own site, that could amount to three copies of your data: the original, the backup and then another backup. In many instances, that’s overkill from a risk analysis perspective. But if you don’t plan to keep the original – and many companies don’t, to keep storage requirements under control – it’s an important question to ask.

4. How fast can I get my data if I need it?

Typically you’d use a cloud storage provider for data that you don’t expect you’ll need to access. But you never know. If you get hit with a lawsuit and need to perform e-discovery, you may need to dig into a slew of old documents. Find out how long you can expect recovery time to be. Whether the answer is acceptable will depend on what kind of data you’re backing up.

5. Can I conduct a test restore?

While you’d like to think that all your data is being backed up safe and sound, the only way to know for sure is to conduct an occasional test restore. Make sure your provider has a means to allow you to do so – at the time of your choosing.

If you’ve got some questions of your own that you would ask in this situation, we’d love to hear them – just use the comments section below.