5 Questions to Ask Your Backup Provider

There are a plethora of storage devices: hard drives, solid state hard drives, memory cards, USB drives, etc. SanDisk sells a 512 gigabyte1 memory card and Samsung announced the largest solid state hard drive with 16 terabytes2. Storage capacity is great, but what about backing it all up? There are several backup providers like Carbonite and Symantec, but it is difficult to restore data because they limit the bandwidth for restores. Backups are a vital component of business continuity and disaster recovery (BC/DR) planning.

Here are five questions you should consider asking your backup provider.

  1. How does your company charge for backups? By space, server or units? This is important for budgeting your on-site and offsite backups.
  2. Does the backup provider backup different operating systems? Do they support LINUX, can they back up UNIX?
  3. Does the backup provider archive or write over data and append it?  Versioning can protect you from expensive rewrites. Having a backup vendor that supports archiving can limit exposure and insure best practice standards.
  4. Does the backup provider use snapshot technology to get a point in time back up?  Snapshots can save your organizations tons of expensive restores and allow for business continuity to flourish as it will allow you back up provider to spin up that server in an emergency.
  5. What type of support do I get from my backup provider? Most services only offer email contact for support. What happens when it is your email server that dies? You need a provider that has a full service helpdesk that provides 24/7 support.

Online data backups are the preferred method for backups because of the scalability and accessibility. The ability to add storage on-demand and built-in BC/DR is huge since the data is stored externally to your business’ location. The advancement of technology has greatly reduced the cost of data storage. It is important to consider value over price. Unless you have an expert on staff it is important to ensure you purchase a support plan to assist you if you need to restore data.