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How to Choose the Right Online Server Backup Service

Posted by Ribi Khaimov

Jan 25, 2013 6:00:00 AM

Choosing a backup service can be both a great joy and a terrible pain depending on how you see it. When you have data on a server, it needs to be backed up. This is almost as obvious as saying that when you exhale air, you need to inhale more air in order to keep on living. But the methods that different companies will use for their backups will vary considerably. One of the easiest ways to go about backing up your servers is to use an online server backup service. The following are a few tips you would be wise to keep in mind while you check out the different companies that will offer you this service.


First off, you can't depend on any other company to build you a plan in case of something serious happening to your servers. In a disaster, by default you are on your own. And by the same token you are also on your own as it regards the construction of your backup plan. In any kind of bad situation you need to know that there are at least two lines of defense for your data, and your IT disaster recovery plan needs to include these lines of defense. If it does not, even outsourcing may not be enough to properly protect your data from loss in the event of a catastrophic event's occurrence. A data backup company that helps you to construct a detailed plan is the kind you want to work with under most conditions.

Also Read: How to Compare Online Backup Services

Your backups need to happen in a controlled manner, and a good company is going to have most everything automated. There should not be a process that involves a person having to remember to manually do something when it comes to your business data backup operation. If such a thing were necessary it would generally mean that the system had broken down at some point and needed to be fixed. When the backup process is automated and it does not require attention on either your part or that of your employees, it is a far more effective system than it would be if it required the faulty memory of fallible human beings in order for it to function effectively.

Any kind of server online backup program is not entirely independent of the human element, however. There is always going to be a need for there to be people at some level, if only so that the customer service aspect of the business keeps up continuity and serves that need. Human beings prefer to talk to other human beings when something has gone wrong and needs to be fixed, and this happens often enough when there is high technology involved that having a human component on the customer service end is both crucial and welcome to everyone involved.

Once you know that there is both the automation element and the human element involved in the server backup company that you are considering, your next step is to figure out if they are currently serving customers well. If they are not, you can dodge a proverbial bullet by simply not working with the company in the first place. If they are serving other companies well, you can rest reasonably assured that they are also going to serve your company well.

You need to be dogged when you check out references that any server backup company gives you. If their references check out well and there are enough references (keeping in mind that the basic number is 3 and the gold standard is 10), you can generally trust that your data is in safe keeping when it is with the backup company in question. If the references are mediocre or there are not very many references to begin with, you may be getting yourself into a "pig in a poke" situation. Do you want to be a guinea pig?

Ultimately, there are a lot of variables that you need to consider before you even think about signing up with any given server backup organization. When you back up your servers, you need to be able to trust that the company you are trusting to perform this operation is on par from both a technical perspective and from the perspective of being trustworthy. If they fail in either of these, you have a serious problem.

Also Read: Choose the Best Online Backup Service, Or You'll Hate Yourself Later

Topics: Data Backup, Backup & Disaster Recovery, Server Online Backup