Off site backup suppliers - how do you choose the most suitable for your business?

Off site backup suppliers - how do you choose the most suitable for your business?
There has been much talked about off-site backup and the choice of vendors is many, usually specialist companies. We now see larger players coming into the market offering generic backup services for home users and looking to extend this to small and large businesses. And now the leading backup software vendors are looking to offer their backup software as a service, backing up to remote sites.

Understanding your need is the first point. Why do you want to back up offsite? Is this because you do not have enough disk and tape resources on-site or is it because you wish to use this for disaster recovery purposes? Organisations with many mobile workers may also look for a third party to provide the remote backup services for laptops, PDAs and telephones.

When backing up all your data, the focus is usually on files such as office files, presentations, pictures and videos. This may be more than adequate for most users.

But what about the information in databases? This must be backed up as well. Email is a prime example of information kept in a database. Within a company, there are many applications that use databases. File backups do not always include databases.

So the challenges in selecting an off-site backup service are:

• Understand why you are looking for off-site backup – is it to complement or replace an on-site service?

• What type of recovery service level do you need and can this be delivered as required?

• Are the network connections adequate to meet your requirements?

• Is the charging method something you will be happy with as data volumes increase?

• Do you and your supplier have a clear view of archived data?

• Is your data encrypted or secured from inappropriate use, and how does a supplier guarantee this?

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