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Off site data back ups

Off site data back ups

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We are an 11 user property company. we presently do daily backups to a batch of tapes which we rotate regularly which are then held off site (usually at one of the employees homes)

In recent IT Q & A's Ive seen references to automated off site back ups. Can anybody recommend reliable suppliers in this field? (We do have Broadband installed which we help with the data transfer) Can anyone give an indication as to the monthly cost of this service? and how secure/confidential these services are?

Many thanks
tony taylor

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By dclark
08th Nov 2004 12:01

What to back up
Alastair\Stewart

That was the whole point about making it one of my 'key points'.

Every customer is different and requires a solution tailored to them. There is a vast difference between a multi server site with an IT department and a 10 workstation office with no IT bod in place. However, I think broad principles still apply. Namely, what you back up and why you back it up.

Knowing how applications work will tell you if you merely need to save a CD and have a folder in your normal data that has the most recent patches or if you need something else. This is totally different from server operating systems that can require a different approach.

I'm not avocating one thing or another, merely that you think about what you back-up. In doing this you must do an assessment of some sort (call it a risk assessment if you wish), but businesses need to think about it. I agree, one way to do this is to roll it into a risk assessment or a disaster recovery process or...

Kind Regards

Daniel Clark
Ryba Macaulay Ltd
[email protected]

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By dclark
07th Nov 2004 14:13

Depositit
Tony,

The key points in ANY backup solution are

1 - can you re-store
2 - can you choose what to back-up
3 - can you automate it

1 - can you re-store
so many users, whether they online backup or produce tapes have never tried a restore. It is like having an anti virus solution and not keeping up-to-date. Almost there, but not quite. It matters not how you backup. The first thing is to do it. The second is to try restoring

2 - can you choose what to back-up
I've said before that for loads of reasons it is better to backup many smaller definitions than one large one. For a start it forces you to understand what you are backing up, but it also reduces the risk of backup failure. Imagine a poer failure during a tape backup, etc

3 - can you automate it
the more you can exclude "Did John put the tape in" the better

The previous correspondent is right, the market is a bit like Broadband. Regardless of the provider, (cable excepted), for Broadband you are using BT. Online backups in general work in the same way. They key is to find a service that matches your need, as they all offer slightly different things

At the end of he day, I'm sold on any business with broadband doing online backups where the DATA is 4-10GB. I'd not backup programmes (part of your receovery procedures to make sure you have all the discs and passwords), but some do. I'd look at where your data is (pst files on client machines). If you have a server, I'd backup the server profile periodically

We are generally the IT department for our customers. As most now have broadband, an offsite solution allows them to know it is backed up, we get emails if here is a failure, a restore can be done easily, definitions can be kept very specific, the cost is in the hundreds (compare that to the cost of time, tapes and tape streamers, etc), and the worst taks in It is done

Depositit link
http://www.depositit.com/index.shtml?kbid=1252

Previous AccountingWeb link
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Kind Regards

Daniel Clark
Ryba Macaulay Ltd
[email protected]

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By listerramjet
08th Nov 2004 09:44

a can of worms?
Not backing up the programs is a common practice, but if you are to cost the risk assessment take into account the time it takes to install the various applications, and also to apply all of the interim patches etc. Also consider whether you can get hold of all of the install disks, not to mention the install keys etc.

You may identify that a back up of the applciations as part of the regular back up process is not justified, but it could well be worth backing up the system after system updates.

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By Stewart Twynham
08th Nov 2004 08:30

re: What to back up
Daniel,

It's a valid point you raise about "what to back up", and one that's probably best answered by some form of risk assessment. The idea is to balance the cost of backing up (time / costs / etc) with the cost of any downtime.

Taking our client base as an example: at one extreme we have a sole trader who is very computer literate, has simple computing needs, is happy restoring software from a CD and would have the time to do this. Risk there is fairly small, so a simple "back up the relevant directories" type strategy is more than adequate.

Alternatively, at the other end of the spectrum we have several clients which run very demanding applications that have taken several years to "tune", and who would incur costs in excess of £50,000 for each day they are "down". Clearly, in these cases a "belt and braces" solution is a no-brainer.

The difficulty comes somewhere in the middle, especially where the client has never actually experienced a major failure / fire / theft / flood before and sees backup as yet another "IT expense"... In this case a risk assessment can be used to good effect to prioritise any investment on the components that matter most for the survival of that business - after all, 85% of businesses that suffer a major disaster cease trading within 18 months (source: IoD).

Stewart Twynham
[email protected]

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By AnonymousUser
04th Nov 2004 20:29

Try BT netback-up
I've just come across BT Net Back-up which seems to do the trick for me . Anout £6/month for a 600mb backup.

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By listerramjet
05th Nov 2004 10:33

automated?
I think that people sign up to the concept of automated and off site, and then relax.

BUT there are additional risks to this, simply because you are dependent on a third party.

The point about backups is simply that you are able to get your computer system back if it fails, for whatever reason. So this means that you are able to locate the data from the back up medium, and that you have the means to restore it - and something to restore it to - and that you are also able to get the required applications restored. And all within an appropriate timescale.

There are lots of mechanisms available to achieve this, but you need to understand the procedures you choose to adopt, and test them regularly; and an automated off site solution is only part of the answer.

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By Stewart Twynham
05th Nov 2004 13:24

re: Automated
Here here!

Automated backup does not absolve you of all responsibility for ensuring that you can recover your system, and indeed that all your files have been backed up!

With that caveat in mind, what few in the IT industry will admit to is that almost *every* on-line backup solution you can buy today is *exactly the same product from the same supplier* being re-sold under a different brand.

For example, Star Internet's Star Restore is essentially a Netstore product as is BT's Datasure. Netstore itself is powered by Connected Corporation, which also powers products such as Clunk Click and a host of other brands.

In short - the ONLY real difference between 99% of these products is the PRICE you pay and hence the quality of SUPPORT.

Technically the solution is excellent, so support needs are generally small, but if you do need support - it will be down to the quality of the reseller, which may come down to price. The higher priced offerings tend to include better levels of customer care, and don't require you to call a premium rate support number!

Monthly cost - as a rough guide £15 a month for 4GB for a desktop PC. Note that this is desktop / laptop software and is NOT DESIGNED for server use.

Servers are very different as they require "agents" to ensure open files are backed up correctly, tackle things such as Active Directory (where all critical user information is kept) plus need to cope with larger files. Expect to start at around £150 per month for a server solution.

Many seem to be tempted to use the low-cost solutions designed for laptops / desktops on their servers - mainly due to price being under a tenth of the cost. I guess they'll only learn the true cost of that mistake the day they come to test their backup out in anger... and find most of their data is missing or unusable. Better start ordering those P45s just in case!!

You have been warned!!

Stewart Twynham
[email protected]

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