Know your Options for an Offsite Data Backup

By: Roland Jefferson

Offsite data backups include storage, such as compact discs and DVD's, memory cards, and flash memory devices including magnetic tapes, floppy discs, USB drives and zip discs. Consumers and businesses have been using these options as offsite data backup for years because they are proven methods for keeping data safe and recoverable.

Although these storages can provide regular computer users with a sufficient means of storing data, hardcore computer workers and large businesses should consider an offsite data backup solution. An offsite solution can provide your data a higher level of security and a reliable storage for all of your materials in the event that uncontrollable incidents such as fire, theft or hard drive failures occur.

When you choose an offsite data backup solution, a third party that specializes in commercial data protection will manage and store all of the data that you provide. Sending data electronically, or by using your computer, involves a process known as "electronic vaulting" or "e-vaulting".

An offsite data backup provider allows users to back up easily and automatically each day, week or month by connecting to a data center or software. Once connected, you can upload the changed data created during the day, week or entire month (depending on your backup preferences). All of the data you upload will then be encrypted using the industry's standard protocol, and sent over to the provider's physically separate data center.

How to Choose an Offsite Data Backup Provider

Although there are hundreds of companies advertising their offsite data backup services, only a few major companies actually provide these services. The hundreds of other companies are usually service providers or resellers of the major companies.

The main offsite data backup vendors are divided into two categories - the "product-only" companies and the "service provider" companies. If you know how to back up data and simply need a program to do it easily, a product-only offsite company (such as Avamar and Asigra) will provide you with their product and an option to subscribe with a service provider that will back up data for you.

On the other hand, if you want a hassle-free offsite data backup solution, then look for service providers, such as Connected, LiveVault or Evault. These companies provide clients with two options - to subscribe with their services where they will host the vault, or buy their stand-alone product where you will host the vault yourself.

Most experts recommend in starting with a service provider before buying a stand-alone product. However, your choice will depend on largely on how well a specific program or service can meet your personal or business requirements.

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