Technology

Offsite Data Backup Systems Provide Economical Insurance

Jim Luff
Posted on November 9, 2011

Are you ready for a disaster?
In a world where data constantly changes and you depend on it for income, what would you do if it was all gone? A lightning strike to a nearby transformer, a flooded building, or a catastrophic fire could easily destroy your data in an instant. If your server was stolen in a break-in, your company could be crippled. Your payroll data, reservations data and accounts receivable records would be gone. Because of the nature of the business, data must be backed up throughout the day as reservations are added and changed. Most people believe they are covered with regular backups, but the backup is no good if you can’t access it. Offsite data backups can provide insurance against data loss if your building is destroyed or your computers stolen.

How it works
Data backup companies maintain servers and allow you to use space on their hard drives. The data is accessed through the Internet with an ID and password. Most offer automated backups, so you don’t need to think about it. You can set up the routines to back up your server or computer as often as you specify and designate the files to be backed up. Reservation data files can be backed up every hour. You can set up routines to back up all changed files overnight so you don’t experience computer slowdowns during the day.  

How safe is it?
Data backup sites use 128-bit SSL encryption, the same technology you use to process credit cards for your clients as required by law. Make sure the site also offers 256-bit AES encryption. This technology is the same as what military and financial institutions use to protect data. Your data is usually stored on multiple computers in different places, so if the backup site has a crash, your data is still protected. You will be asked to set up a profile much like financial institutions and creditors use to verify your identity. If you attempt to access your data from another computer other than the one you have set up, you will need to complete the identification process to continue.

Data storage space and cost

Digital Lifeboat is a free service offering unlimited data storage for as many computers as you want. As with anything you buy, free is not always best and has limitations over paid service. Paid service includes more bells and whistles such as multi-platform mixtures of Macs and Windows based computers. Norton Online Backup 25G costs $25 for the initial first year but offers more options. For about $2 per month, you can save each backup for later recall. You can perform a remotely controlled backup and you can search for documents by keywords or phrases. If you have a large network of computers, Mozy is considered the industry leader of network backups. You can manage every computer in your network from one location for $7 a month.

How to get it
Data backup sites offer online sign-ups. All you need is about five minutes of set-up time to provide identification information to protect data from unauthorized access. The software needed to control your computer is downloaded. You will then walk through an initial process of deciding what data you would like backed up, how often, and what time of the day. Many systems, such as Norton and Mozy, also offer data applications for smartphones such as the iPhone. You should download the app just in case you need to access your data remotely in the future.

Related Topics: data backup, New Operator, office equipment

Jim Luff Contributing Editor
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