Caution: Online Backup Startups

I am a big fan of online backup. I have used it for few years now and I recommend it to small and medium businesses (SMB) and home computer users alike. The advantages are numerous and there are few disadvantages to online backup. One important point is that all online backup services are not equal. When you look at the plethora of service offerings, you will find a wide variation in capabilities, capacities, price, and security. The task of selecting the service that best fits your needs and budget can be daunting. Furthermore, there are new services appearing every month. Selecting the optimal service for your situation is beyond the scope of this article, but some services should not be considered by anyone.

One of the reasons why online backup has become so popular is the availability of cheap bandwidth to the home and small office. Almost every small business and home office worker has enough available bandwidth to use online backup. This abundance of cheap bandwidth to the home and small office has had another effect. A relatively novice computer owner with a cable modem and fixed IP address can buy a terabyte disk drive and some software and call himself an online backup service. Imagine your backup data that you thought was safe and secure at an online vault is actually stored on someone's Dell home computer in the bonus room above their garage. Another common startup mode, is for a small IT services or consulting business to add a server and some storage in the server room in their office suite. In additon to the obvious issues of data security and availability, cable modems and DSL Internet connections often provide good bandwidth for data inbound to the server, but a fraction of the bandwidth for data travelling outbound from the server. This means that the backup service using a cable modem or DSL connection will be able to handle the backing up of data much better that the restoring of data to clients.

When selecting an online backup service for your SMB or home office, don't just look at the price and capabilities. It is essential to make sure that your data is being stored in a professionally managed data center with security, redundancy, environmental controls, and fire protection. The office server room with battery backup is not good enough.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've been using Remote Backup Systems (RBS) for online backup.All the other online storage companies seem to have too many bugs in the system, customer service can lag a bit as well, so I went with RBS, which was clearly the better choice. I think working with an established player in the market like RBS will work better in the long-run, then a start-up.