Data backup – ten things to look for with a backup provider

03 Dec 2018

With legal requirements tightening under GDPR, and data volumes growing year-on-year, you simply can’t justify not having a back-up strategy and service that matches your business and the data it creates and stores.

That’s why choosing the right backup service provider is one of the most important steps your business will take when it comes to minimising exposure to the risks and consequences of losing precious data. The right provider will help you create and maintain the best solution to your data backup needs, but you first need to look at your options, and ensure that provider ticks the right boxes. What kind of cloud backup service do you need, and what data backup and recovery services do they offer? And what else do you need to know before making the informed decisions that protect your data?

Let’s take a look at the ten key things to consider…

Security

Make sure you look into how secure your backup provider’s storage is. Whether it’s on site, off site or in the cloud (or typically a strategic mix of all three) you need to know their data backup security credentials, and ensure they offer the best cloud backup service. Specifically ask the cloud backup provider how they encrypt the data. At a minimum they need to encrypt the data with a 256bit AES key (that only you know) and this data need to remain encrypted whilst at rest on the providers servers.

With the volume of data businesses create, store and take ultimate responsibility for rising all the time, it’s also worth considering cloud backups for large amounts of data. Especially if your day-to-day (or minute-to-minute) business continuity depends on it. It also makes sense in the world of GDPR to insist that the backup provider only uses UK based datacentres.

Scale and future-proofing

Every business aims to grow, and inevitably creates more data in the process. So make sure you ask yourself, and any potential cloud backup provider, if they have the capacity and know-how to support you as your business expands. Will they be attentive to your needs as they change, and proactive in meeting them? The best cloud backup providers will check in with you regularly to ensure you’ve everything you need – and be able to provide an ongoing partnership that can provide cloud backups for large amounts of data.

Disaster recovery services

There are many cloud backup providers in the market, but it makes a lot of sense to go with one that can also support you with disaster recovery services. This will supplement your all-important backups by looking after the IT that supports your most critical business functions and ensure business continuity while getting your systems and/or hardware back online.

Compliance

Make sure that whoever provides the cloud-based backup solutions for your business is up to the minute with the finer details of all data protection legislation. As well as GDPR and the Data Protection Act, they should also be able to advise and support you with any industry-specific requirements relating to how you create, store and use data.

Frequency and automation of data backup

Your data storage provider should help ensure you’re backing up your data at the right intervals with appropriate cloud backup solutions. Ideally, this will be automated, so you can focus on running your business, and you should check they can handle the frequency of backup that matches your needs.

Speed

If the frequency of cloud data backup is high on your list, speed probably is too. If you create a lot of time-critical data, you’ll want to know how long it takes to back up in full – and to restore.

Many of the low cost backup providers deliberately ‘throttle’ the backups/restores to save money. This can have a disastrous effect on customers – especially if it takes 2 weeks to restore a server. In short, can your backup provider help you meet your RTO/RPO objectives?

Software performance

Can your cloud backup provider’s software handle the data you create, and frequent changes to it, without corrupting it? You might need to ask your IT person or people to explain your data types and the software that creates it, so your backup provider can provide the right cloud backup solution.

Ideally, your backup solution will identify and back up only the changes to data, not entire files – which speeds up backups considerably. It is also advisable to try out backup software first. Whilst most should be able to easily backup a simple server, if you have over one million files it will become aparant which software can reliably handle large file counts.

How easy is it to use?

Aim for a simple but effective cloud backup. One that’s easy to configure but powerful enough to meet your specific needs, and makes restoring data a swift and painless process should you ever need to.

Support

Any decent provider of cloud backup services and/or data backup and recovery services should provide 24/7 support by phone as well as email and remote, especially if your business operates across different time zones. At the very least, you’ll need a backup provider in the same country or time zone as your core business.

Last but not least: cost

Transparency is key, so you can budget clearly for the cost of a cloud backup service (and potentially the off-site data backup) your business needs. Make sure there are no hidden costs to the backup service itself, or for disaster recovery services you may need if hardware fails. Ask about extra charges for restoring, USB snapshots as some providers charge for this. Make you understand what your monthly fee covers, and what comes at an extra premium – then choose the provider and package that best suits your needs and available budget. But hey, don’t skimp.

In summary…

It pays to research providers of cloud backup solutions to ensure you get the best for your business. The best cloud backup providers will happily answer even the most detailed questions, and provide impartial advice on the best ways to protect your data. BackupVault will always work towards the solution that matches your needs precisely, make its services easy to understand and budget for, and ensure your data is fully backed up and protected.

About BackupVault

Backup Vault provides fully automated, hassle-free, UK-based backup services to organisations all over the world – from small business to global brands, to public-sector clients and large corporate enterprises.