Let’s talk backups.
There’s nothing sexy about data backups – in fact, I hate redundancy in general – but we all know we need a reliable backup system because: George Ellis.
He famously said, “It's better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.”
Surely, the one time you think, “Hey, I’ll just wing it. My systems never crash. I’ve never been hacked. I can skip the contingency plan just this once,” that’s the one time the universe will jump at the chance for a laugh at your expense.
Rather than waiting for the day when a power surge wipes half of your in-house servers, let’s all just accept the fact that everyone needs a data backup system.
With that said, let’s get real about which one is the best.
I know how your brain works. You’re the one who mentally searches for the CTRL + F function when you’re looking for something in a paperback book. So, naturally, you likely enjoy using filters to find what you need as often as possible, too.
When deciding on a data backup system, we use the following decision filters to narrow it down:
Let’s dig in.
The first thing to consider when searching for your ideal backup system is the price point, especially if you have a CFO to appease and budgets to get approved.
With so many data backup solutions available on the market today, there’s no reason to pay for something that’s out of the realm of possibility. There are more cost-effective options out there, guaranteed.
Start by giving yourself a range to consider. That will immediately rule out options that are too robust or too scrawny for your needs.
Next, consider where you would like your data backup stored. Will you need your own server space? Or will your backup be stored in the cloud?
Trick question. Of course it’s in the cloud. Unless you’re running some sort of paranoia-prone, spy-tangent operation, go with the cloud.
When you’re shopping around for data backup solutions, however, you’ll be able to rule out many of the available options that don’t provide cloud storage and access.
You also need to consider how often you will need your data backed up. If you have an entire IT hero squadron operating at fully-caffeinated speeds seven days per week, you likely need more frequent backups.
On the other hand, if you only have a handful of computers to support or if your users aren’t making around-the-clock edits to your data, then you can probably get away with a data backup solution that doesn’t make copies like newlywed bunnies on a holiday.
To better understand your own needs, consider the following:
How often do your users access their data?
How much work is completed every week? Every day? Every hour? Could you afford to lose that?
Do different users within your organization have different backup needs? Could you save money by applying a less aggressive backup option for a segment of your users?
Have a chit chat with your team to get input from some of your key stakeholders to get a strong sense of what could be lost and what sort of cataclysmic event you could survive – or not.
Now don’t go hiding under the covers. This is a safe space. But we do have to talk about the IT boogeyman.
Don’t make the mistake of writing off ransomware as an issue only the NSA and FedEx have to worry about. Your data is valuable tool and there are villains out there who could hit you with one of these bugs.
And if that day does come – take it from a man with first-hand experience and who truly did wanna cry – you’ll want to be sure your data backup solution can bail you out of that nasty pinch.
Despite working with a team of some of the most talented IT heroes I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing, when my company got hit our data backup system was affected as well. Although we caught the ransomware breach within 10 minutes, the files the virus did manage to encrypt were backed up in the cloud and over-wrote the original files.
Consider how your team would handle a ransomware attack and what contingencies you need to have in place to get out of a jam.
Cloud Services Backups
You guessed it: we have a thing for the cloud – and rightfully so!
With the cloud, you don’t need to factor in the extra expense of added equipment, you get the benefit of anywhere-backups for those on your team living that laptop life, and they’re typically just as secure – if not more so – than on-premises backups.
Here are our favorites.
For those of you using Google Drive, Office 365, or Salesforce, this should be your first candidate up for consideration. While your favorite SaaS tools may seem like they come with built-in backup security, don’t be fooled. Just because your SaaS data is stored in the cloud, doesn’t mean it’s secure.
Spanning has a cure for that poison pill. For an average of $50 per desk per year – you read that right – Spanning protects all of the docs, spreadsheets, inboxes, calendars, and Chatter messages that keep your operation running every day.
This is a great option for smaller deployments that use SaaS tools to keep the cost down and need some added security to keep all the busy bees flying in the same direction.
Of course, if your company isn’t using Google Drive, Office 365, or Salesforce, you can go right ahead and cross this option off your list.
Self-proclaimed as the “best unlimited online backup and cloud storage” service (hey, we like the confidence), Backblaze offers scalable, low-cost data backup solutions.
In fact, Backblaze has mastered the art of scalability. They serve clients as small as single individuals all the way up to the big ‘uns on the enterprise level.
With Backblaze, you’ll get unlimited data backup starting at $3.96 per month. It’s ridiculously easy to use and allows you to tweak your backups by file type, as needed.
On the downside, there’s no mobile backup option currently and your versioning is limited to 30 days. Oh... and you’re limited to one computer per account.
But hey, if you’re a solopreneur with a cushy office set-up, this may be just the option for you.
Next up is Carbonite, Backblaze’s biggest rival. Aptly named after the substance Darth Vader trapped Han Solo in, Carbonite offers impenetrable protection for your documents, music, photos, emails, and more.
While slightly more expensive than its rival at $6 per month (billed annually), Carbonite offers unlimited data backup through an easy to use system. You’ll also get perks like external hard drive backup, encryption, and FERPA, GLBA & HIPAA support, if you work in one of those privacy-sensitive industries.
Bummer warning: Carbonite has notoriously slow backup speeds. Also, while it does offer mobile backup, the capabilities are limited.
Server & Larger Deployment Backups
Of course, we can appreciate that some of our IT heroes may be playing with the big dogs. If that’s the case for you (kudos, by the way), there’s only one data backup solution we recommend.
AppAssure, aka Quest Rapid Recovery, is a data backup application with some surprisingly powerful tricks up its sleeve.
With AppAssure, you’ll get a complete backup, replication, and disaster recovery solution. It comes decked out with auto deploy and multiple backup destinations. It can backup endpoints and servers, and also gives you the option to backup locally or to Amazon Web Services.
The continuous backup with deduplication and compression is ideal for large-scale operations with several cogs working on the same machine at once.
In all fairness, there are a few downsides to AppAssure. Duplicate base images can take up too much repository space at times. Plus, there’s debate over whether using repositories at all is really the best technique.
Finding a data backup solution can be an absolute nightmare. Here at tabGeeks, we consider it our responsibility to mitigate that IT headache for you as much as possible. If you have some specific parameters you’re working with and want help figuring out the best backup solution for your operation, join us and other fellow IT Heroes at the tabGeeks 2019 Conference in Southern California – and be prepared to level up! We look forward to meeting you.