Not All Backups Are Created Equal

By Alex Lachine

Twenty years ago, choosing a data backup was simple. You could copy files to a disc or back up to tape, and that was it. Today, we have a lot more data, and as businesses learn to better analyze and use that data, it becomes a lot more valuable. This increase in data has yielded more ways to back it up. But beware: not all backup solutions are created equal. Here’s a quick look at today’s backup options and how they could affect your business.

With file-based backups, specific files or folders are saved as needed. File-based backups allow you to restore individual files. Full restores are possible, but because restoration software handles only one file at a time, the process is time consuming. Do you have time to wait?

Image-based backups take a picture of entire machines, including applications and operating systems. Using image-based backups, you can restore individual files, do bare metal restores, verify images, boot up virtual machines, and even run remote offices. Because they contain a more complete data picture, full restores using image-based backups are faster and more reliable than those using a file-based solution.

Most traditional backup solutions are tested just once or twice a year. However, on any given day, a few corrupt bytes could make a daily backup, and those subsequent, unrecoverable. Alternatively, if you have an intelligent backup with inverse chain technology, each successive snapshot is independent. A recovery can start from any point. Lost or corrupt data can be recovered without any need for a full restore. Each snapshot is examined automatically to ensure everything checks out. For peace of mind, some solutions even send you screenshots of your backups via email so you can verify at a glance that all is well.

Local backup solutions save data to an onsite device. While a local-only backup can be quick and easy, relying solely on it can be dangerous. For example, if your office is flooded, there goes your only backup. Direct to cloud backup solutions send data to a secure offsite location. Transferring data to and from the cloud is dependent on bandwidth speed, so it can be slower than local data backups. However, having your backup in the cloud can be your salvation in a disaster.

A hybrid cloud solution combines the best of both worlds: local and cloud. It is less dependent on bandwidth speed than a cloud-only solution, and it can schedule transfers without the risk of having no backup data. With a hybrid cloud solution, you can be up and running from a local backup in seconds and you can also count on an offsite backup should the need arise.

Ask your IT services provider if they offer a backup that ticks all of these boxes: image-based, inverse chain technology, screenshot verification, and hybrid cloud. If they don’t, you might want to consider moving on to one that does.