What to Look for in Online Backup

Important factors to consider before deciding to backup critical data online.
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This story appears in the June 2009 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »
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As services become robust enough to support business networks, more businesses are considering online backup for their critical data. Some important factors to consider before making the leap:

Not your mother's hard drive


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Security: Make sure your provider is able to offer detailed information about how data is transferred to and from the backup site, and how security is guaranteed at the backup location. Reputable online backup services will include strong file encryption and access-control standards.

Availability: Find out how long it takes to restore data if it's lost and whether there are different levels of availability for different types of data. You'll want to know exactly how long it will take to get your most critical data back online in the event of a failure.

Service-level agreements: How quickly do different vendors process requests for restoration, and what guarantees are there for response times? Get it in writing.

Financial liability: Know what's at stake. Find out what the financial implications are for loss of data if the backup service doesn't work or if backed-up files become corrupted. The safest bet is to have a backup for your backup, which is more feasible as service prices drop. --J.M.
Edition: July 2017

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