What to look for when choosing an online backup provider

20 Oct 2010

Whilst the benefits of online backups are obvious, the issue many businesses have is who to choose to provide their online backup.

With so many backup providers out there it may seem difficult to know where to turn. Fortunately there are a few key questions to ask to ensure you make the correct decision.

Backup Selection

Will the backup software allow me to backup everything I need to? Some backup systems enable you to backup only basic files and folders, whilst others will backup complex databases such as SQL and Exchange. Ask the backup provider if they can backup exactly what you need.

Security

Security is high on most peoples list. Does the online backup software encrypt your files when being sent over the Internet? Do the files remain encrypted on their storage servers - and who knows the encryption key? The key should be known only to you. The other security consideration should be physical security. Ask questions about exactly where your files are physically stored and the location of the datacenter. Some backup providers have their servers in a completely different country to the UK.

Another consideration is their backups. You need to ask whether their own servers are backed up. And if they did go down, how long would it take for the service to be restored.

Backup Speed

Ask how fast the backups will be. This will depend largely on the speed of your own Internet connection, but some providers throttle the speed at peak times. Just as important to the backup is the restoring of files. How fast is that if you need to restore a file?

Software Performance

The efficiency of backup software can vary. If you make frequent changes to files each day - will the software be able to handle this correctly? A good online backup system will only send the changed parts of files and not the entire file. This will reduce the backup time considerably.

Scale

If your company and data requirements grow - how will the backup software cope? Some backup software is very good at backing up a small number of files that take up little space. But what happens if this increases? This is closely linked in with the performance of the software as you need to be sure the backup will continue to be reliable.

Support

If you need support - can you be sure you will get it? Some providers have only email support, whilst others will have telephone support in a different country. BackupVault however has full 24 hour telephone and email support as standard.

Ease of use

Is the software easy to use and can you easily change settings and file selections if you need to? Ask if you can have a free trial to evaluate the online backup service.

Cost

Cost will always be an important factor - but ensure that you have taken into account all costs involved. Check what is included in the price and whether multiple restores and support is part of the monthly package.

Hopefully, by asking these important questions you will be able to select an online backup provider that will suit your needs.