Automation is the Key to Reliable Backups

I have personally used many different backup methods and procedures. For many years I was a consultant for a large systems management software and services company. I worked with IT professionals to implement reliable backup systems for critical business data. All of those engagements involved professional IT people, procedures, hardware and software working together to ensure that backup copies of all critical data were made daily. Backing up data and moving it offsite was the highest priority task, after the actual data processing that was required by the business. Most medium size and larger business still treat backing up data with very high priority. Lost data is simply unacceptable and in most cases has the potential to cause severe consequences for the business.

Smaller businesses and home office computer owners can't afford the dedicated staff and resources required to implement rigid procedures and reporting to ensure that critical data is backed up and moved offsite reliably and consistently. Many of these computer owners and users realize that their data is vital so they pursue hardware and software solutions to help them backup the data. However, it is not typical to find that small businesses and home office computer owners keep current backup copies of their data offsite.

The biggest impediment to reliable backups and offsite data storage for small business and home office computer owners is the reliance on manual procedures. Good hardware and software solutions are available, although costly to own and maintain. All of them require some level of human intervention to achieve good reliable backups and offsite storage. This is where the problems begin; human intervention and manual procedures are almost always unreliable for backing up data and moving it offsite, particularly in small and medium businesses and home office environments.

Most backup software includes a scheduling mechanism. This is helpful, but it almost never eliminates the manual intervention. There is usually a tape or other media that must be changed. I will also mention that there are some good hardware solutions that will automatically change tapes for you. These solutions are expensive and require a certain amount of maintenance and monitoring. Even when working smoothly, manual procedures are required to get backup copies moved offsite.

Online backup solutions solve the automation problem nicely. Online backup requires less manual intervention than any other backup solution. It may not be the ideal solution for every situation, but for most critical business data, it is far more reliable than any solution that requires people, procedures, hardware, software and media. Online backup is also much less expensive when compared to the total cost of ownership (TCO) of the people, processes and technology required to get reliable backups and offsite protection using conventional methods.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Jazar,

Good posting.

I have been reading about the online backup industry for a while now.

Online backup is maturing and slowly getting the attention of the general consumer.

One website worth mentioning is the backup review site:

This very informative site, not only posts up to date news and articles from the industry, but also lists about 400 online backup companies and ranks the top 25 on a monthly basis.

The site now covers storage in general, not just online backup.

Could you please feature this site and post a review so that your readers will be aware of its services.

I enjoy reading your posts. Keep it up!