Top 10 Questions for Selecting the Best Online Backup & Storage Service
We have all heard horror stories resulting from online backup failure. It can get messy. You most likely know someone who has woken up to a laptop that won’t turn on…only to find out that they have lost their precious family photos, which cannot be re-created; or their thesis is gone and cannot be retrieved. People like you and me have disappointingly lost not just hours, but weeks, even months of hard work. We must ensure we properly back up our information, both personally and professionally. It is absolutely imperative for any business to have a proper, automated system in place using experts you can feel safe trusting.
We have recently seen poor monitoring of backups cause two whole weeks’ worth of data to be lost, as the backups AND error messages failed at the same time. This is why you need daily notifications of backups set up, so staff notice if there is a problem with reporting immediately.
On the flip side, we have seen several incidences of employees opening suspicious emails, containing malware that renders all corporate files useless. But, thanks to rock solid, frequent backups, it had little to no impact on the business.
We also spoke with an IT Manager who once deleted 7GB worth of Photoshop and Illustrator files when cleaning up a server. The design team was not impressed. Fortunately, the backups were good and they had the backup files when they returned from lunch.
We should all know by now that establishing and maintaining backup is key. Selecting the best backup provider for your business is just as important as it was when you conducted research and decided on a bank, a phone and internet provider, which software you would use, etc. Don’t underrate this decision. It is likely that your business’s most valuable asset is data. Can you afford not to have it backed up by experts?
Before you commence research for online backup and storage services, take some time to consider the way your business is currently run. Grab a pen and paper (or your equivalent mobile app), and jot down some thoughts about your needs and wants.
To help you get started, we have compiled a list of some very essential questions. From it, you will better understand your specific backup needs, which hopefully leads you to the most beneficial solutions.
1. Which services & features are available?
First and foremost, understand what each unique service and feature will mean for your business. You should be delighted to find that many service providers offer several types of features and services around online storage backup solutions, some you can even mix and match, tailored to your needs:
- Remote access
- Sharing privileges
- File searching
- Easy file uploading
- File syncing
- Scheduled backup
- Physical & virtual backup
- Data & program backup
Look into which of these solutions could enhance your business workflow. Click here to see a comprehensive chart comparing solution features.
2. Are high levels of security provided?
Security remains the number one concern among businesses. Whatever type of backup solution you opt for, the provider should explain their security protocols to a degree that makes you feel safe to entrust your most confidential documents with them. Ask about encryption, firewalls, authentication, background clearances and physical security protocols.
3. What storage volumes can be handled? Are scalable technologies offered?
Find out the storage capacity to make sure your required amount is available. Keep in mind that files and data can grow at quite an incredible rate. Check that the providers use a scalable technology, so they will be able to respond to the demands of increasing data.
4. Are file versions diversified?
Some backup services only keep a single copy of files to keep costs low. It may seem fine, but sometimes important files get instantly corrupted by a strong virus or even accidentally deleted and a person might not notice until after the next backup. After recovering a virus crash, make sure all of your backups go back smoothly far enough to before the system was infected. Providers who archive multifarious file versions can prove invaluable in case of any mishap.
5. Do they have a positive reputation?
Seek longevity, stability and positive reputation in a backup provider. Check the ratings and reviews of past and present clients for recommendations and mentions of friendly customer service, trustworthiness, timeliness and accuracy.
6. What about a free trial period?
Walking through the free trial period can help you determine what actually works for your needs. The trial time should establish whether the backup service is user-friendly for your office, whether they provide unproblematic access, efficient support plus quality recovery processes. Many online backup providers offer a 15- to 30-day trial period.
7. What are the disaster recovery plans?
Let’s face it, catastrophes happen. Ensure that your service provider has a comprehensive plan implemented. They must maintain an organised recovery strategy that ensures constant communication until both you and they are satisfied that recovery is complete.
8. What degree of technical support should I expect?
Data access may be urgent for you at times, so you should feel confident in your knowledge about how to access your documents quickly. Do they provide a proper user guide, an online tutorial, or even better, a person to come in and demonstrate? Do you have a local, experienced representative to contact when you have questions?
9. What is the final cost?
Find out if the quote provided is comprehensive, including each of your specific requirements. Compare quotes and consider the overall value and quality of service. Are there any sneaky fees that could creep up if say, you exceed capacity, or if your needs change? Ask these questions upfront to avoid entering a contract feeling trapped.
10. What if I need more?
Your main concern is online backup, but perhaps in the back of your mind are issues around information management that might need to be addressed down the line. Does this company offer complementary services for particular aspects of document storage, say, your tape storage, document conversion, or verification of identity?
Understand your needs and be clear about what you want. Have your clever list of questions ready while you research. There is an answer out there for you – one that will best suit your needs and budget. It just takes some patience, research and diligence.
TIMG offers a range of online backup and storage solutions to suit your particular needs. Our entire company works within Australia, so you can trust that your local representative is never far away. Contact us to discuss your options.