How to Choose the Best Online Backup Service Provider?
Whether it is at home or in the office, personal or professional business data, every passing day we happen to create and save ample quantities of data in different forms, such as documents, contracts, worksheets, files, drawings, pictures, music, video, photos, projects, etc. Some of these data might be of extreme importance to us, as an individual or a business organization, and hence it becomes extremely essential to protect those data. But, in most cases, most of us realize the importance of having to backup such data only after it is too late, like after we happen to lose those data due to an unforeseen circumstance. In recent years, most conventional backup devices, such as DVDs, USB keys, external hard drives, floppy disks, etc., are no longer in use as they are considered to be inconvenient and unreliable. This has given rise to a new service that has completely transformed the way we organize and protect our files: Online Backup.
Online backup, in simple words, is a copy of your data or files that is stored on a system which is geographically distant, with the main aim of protecting those data from getting lost due to hardware failure, accidental erasure, breakdown or theft of computer, or any other natural disaster. However, if you still happen to lose your data, you can easily restore it from the backup copy. If you are planning to move your personal or business data to an online backup service, there would be several features you expect from the service provider. If you are unaware of what services to look for in the provider you choose, then this guide is for you! Following sections of this article describe the features, both personal and business; you should look for from an online backup service provider.
Features to Look For: Personal
If you are thinking about moving your important personal data online, then following are the features you should look for:
- Privacy: The first thing you should expect from a provider is whether it provides the privacy you need, in its services. This is important because, you would not want anybody else to have access to your data, whether you are transferring them over the internet, or when they are simply present on the servers of the backup provider. Hence, this has to be your critical concern when you choose an online backup service provider.
- Encryption: All the data that are to be sent over the internet must be completely encrypted before being transmitted, and the data must also be stored in its state of encryption. The encryption offered by the provider must be a minimum of 256 bits, and make sure that the provider allows you to use an encryption key of your own.
- Easy selection of files: It would be better if the provider you choose does not provide you the option of selecting files to be backed up. This is because, you, as the end user, usually will not be aware of which files of yours require backup. Therefore, the online backup service provider must be able to pre-select some of the most common types of files and locations of those files, determine those files that you use often, and should back them up automatically. It can provide you the option to edit its selection of files.
- Reliability: The services offered by the online backup service provider must be functional 24/7, without any type of failure.
- Automation: Most of you would be expecting a provider that automates the whole backup process, so you can just set it and forget about it. All you need is for the service to work constantly. You would not want to keep pressing a button to initiate a backup or view the progress of the backup on your desktop screen. The service provider you choose should be capable of backing up your files without any queries, and without the need for any form of user intervention.
Features to Look For: Business
If you are a business owner and looking for a provider to store all your valuable business data, then following are the features you should look for:
- Server backup: The online backup service provider you choose must have the ability to back up Windows Servers, and also all the associated databases. These are inclusive of SQL Server, MS Exchange, System State, open files, and Active Directory.
- Multiple versioning: The service provider must be able to store multiple versions of your important business files during different points of development of those files, so that you will find it easy to access a previous version of a particular file whenever you need it.
- Regulatory compliance: Most governments impose certain rules and regulations on business organizations, without regard to the type of industry they operate in. Similarly, as a business owner, you will have to make sure that your company complies with those regulations enforced by your country’s government or the industrial group to which your organization belongs. For instance, if your organization operates in the healthcare industry, then it should comply with the regulation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Therefore, the online backup service provider you choose must make sure that the backup methods you choose and the files you choose to backup comply with the respective regulations.
- Redundancy: In certain cases, you may require multiple copies of your documents or files to be backed up and stored in different geographic locations. To achieve this, the backup provider must contain multiple mirrored data centers.
- High level of security: As the data you choose to backup would mostly be extremely vital for your business, you should look for high level of security in the provider’s data centers. The data centers must contain biometric security, redundant internet connections, backup air conditioning, backup generators, armed security guards, redundant alarm systems, video monitoring, fire suppression features, etc.