One of the less well known components of Managed Services is Managed Backup. And understandably so. With today’s pervasive availability of products like Mozy, Carbonite and many of the computer manufacturers and security software companies offering their own backup solution, it’s understandably less familiar.
So here’s the real question: Do I need it? For most of the small businesses on the planet, the answer is: No! You don’t. But how do you know you don’t? The answer to that one is actually fairly simple: Are you running a database server of some sort? If you aren’t, then you probably don’t need a more complicated backup system.
Before we get ahead of ourselves, if you’re backing up internally to tape drives or an external hard drive, whether you take those backups off-site or not, you really need to think about doing something different. Tapes are unreliable on a good day and a hard drive containing a Windows Backup is insecure. An external hard drive is much more portable than stealing the server containing all your data and easier to access than trying to hack in from the outside.
This raises a couple of questions. First, how can I backup my data securely? Second, how can a get that off-site so that if I have a major power surge or a fire, I don’t lose everything?
Generally, online backups are the way to go. Depending on your industry, you may have certain requirements for keeping that transferred data encrypted (which is always a good idea, even if you don’t) and you may want to keep a local copy available for fast restore, in the event someone deletes something they shouldn’t have.
Traditionally, I’d recommend using Mozy Pro. They tend to do a very good job of securing your information and transferring that off-site as well as leaving a local copy on an external hard drive (encrypted) for your peace of mind. But that’s not always the way to go. If you have things that require persistent data (think Microsoft SQL), you may need to use something akin to Asigra to achieve the backup. I’ve noticed most solutions (of the Mozy variety) don’t do a very good job of grabbing that database server data unless you jump through some complicated hoops.
Mozy is great if you need to backup simple files. Generally you can rely on that, because you know it’s just backing up your files, not the operating system on your computer (the bare-metal backup). Managed backup, whether it be through Asigra or BackupExec, are much better for companies that have that need. But it doesn’t always make logical sense to do that.
In keeping with the principle that IT is there to serve you, meet your needs and make your life better – not create a giant, costly headache, before you decide anything, let’s make sure you have all the information you need to make the best possible decision.
If you need more information or for a free technology consultation, contact me!