Why Online Backup?

By: Dennis Devendorf

I've been taking care of computer networks for small businesses since 1988 and one thing that I've learned is that very few maintain a good, recoverable backup. If you ask a small business owner what would happen if all of their data suddenly disappeared the response will be - a blank stare followed by "what do you mean?" or a look of abject horror followed by "could that really happen?"

When discussing backups with a customer I always explain that computers are made up of parts that WILL eventually wear out; in particular their hard drive which is where all their data is stored. Many users are under the impression that once they purchase and set up a server or desktop - they're done and it should run forever. Unfortunately this is not the case.

Until the advent of broadband internet connections many small businesses used a tape drive to back up their data. The idea was that the backup would be set to run automatically every night, someone would arrive in the morning and remove the tape, inserting a new tape for the next night's backup and taking the current backup home with them. That way a good backup was always offsite and safe should there be a catastrophe.

The problems that I've seen encountered with this procedure were: the employee assigned to the task would forget to change the tapes, the employee assigned to the task (believe it or not) would leave the company and no one remembered to tell the employee that replaced them that it was their job to handle the backup, the employee would forget to take the tape offsite, the backup logs were never checked to insure that there was indeed a good backup and that everything that should be backed up was, in fact, being backed up, the tape drive was never cleaned - sometimes resulting in corrupt backups that were unrecoverable, configuration and scheduling problems with the tape backup program itself, and, tapes were swapped every day but the backup wasn't running. All of these problems were discovered "too late" to help the company.

Then along came broadband connections and remote online backup became feasible. (I had tried it years ago with a dial-up modem connection but it was just too slow.)

Here are the features that a good online backup service should offer: reporting and logging of all backup sessions, good file compression, notification by email if a backup doesn't run, unattended operation, ability to set the number of backups to keep on file, strong encryption, ability to backup mapped drives, top notch live customer support, "remote control" assistance should it be needed and - the backup is "offsite" so should anything happen to your business - it's lifeblood will be safe.

After much research and comparison I found a partner that meets all of the requirements that I know my customers need. Their service is second to none and they always go the "extra mile" for my customers. For more information go to www.safe-online-backup.com.

So, why online backup? Because it's safe, automatic, reliable and you don't have to count on an employee's memory to insure your company's future.

Dennis Devendorf

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