SDN Blog

Six questions to ask your data-backup service provider

Posted on Monday, January 13, 2014

Blog written by Super

Computer hard drives fail. That’s a harsh reality of our increasingly paperless society.

The question is not if but when a hard drive will die, according to Daren Anderson, owner of Big D Technology Solutions in Sioux Falls.

“I’ve seen hard drives that never crash. I’ve seen systems a week old that crash,” Anderson said. “It’s just about impossible to say when your drive is going to crash, but chances are
it will.”

Anderson was the featured speaker at a recent Business Sense Workshop sponsored by the Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce.

Anderson’s lunchtime presentation reminded me of my need to buy a portable hard drive to protect important documents and photographs that have accumulated on my two personal computers.

Businesses, organizations and institutions have greater needs and better and safer options for safeguarding data, including Cloud Storage & Backup Service from SDN Communications in Sioux Falls.

Joe Galinanes, vice president of product development at SDN, and Aaron Hansen, product manager, say that protecting data is the most basic phase in a process that also should include data replication.

“Having the data is great, but if you can’t get your system back up and operational, the data isn’t worth much,” Galinanes says.

Six issues to consider

Business options for backing up data include tape drives, external drives and online services. Tape drives and external drives have advantages, such as portability. But Anderson says tape drives, in particular, suffer a high failure rate.

The advantages of online backup, which is dependent on the Internet, include relatively low cost, ease of use and the speed of service. Moreover, the data is store off-site, which
eliminates the risks posed by on-site disasters.

Anderson, who has 30 years of experience in IT industry, suggests that people shopping for online backup help ask service providers six questions:

  • How many systems are covered by a service option?
  • How long are versions of a file kept? Two months? Infinitely?
  • How is the data encrypted? Is it coded well enough to keep the information private?
  • What kind of redundancy protection is built into the system?
  • How can files be accessed?
  • Is the solution compliant with government regulations such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) and federal auditing standards?

Anderson stresses that people and businesses need to regularly test the performance of their backup plans, including data recovery. Have procedures in place and keep them updated, he

Anderson also suggests that electronic clutter be kept to a minimum. Clean and defragment hard drives, he says.

“Systems fail. No machine is perfect,” he said. “You have to get into the mind-set that there could be problems.”

Quick recovery crucial

In addition to basic equipment failures, data is at risk in disasters such as floods and fires. In all such instances, businesses must be able to recover data quickly, Galinanes and Hansen say.

Symantec’s 2013 Internet Security Threat Report indicated that:

  • 87 percent of companies that lose access to corporate data for more than seven days go out of business within a year.
  • 80 percent of companies that suffer a major disaster and haven’t done contingency planning go into liquidation within 18 months.

“Having backup is great. But ultimately that backup is there so that you can use the data,” Hansen says.

Stand-alone backup solutions such as using external drives typically leave management of
solution with the client.

The Chamber is hosting three other Business Sense Workshops as part of its “Tech Tuesday” series in January.

  • January 14: Intellectual Property Self-Audit: Are you protected? 
    We’ll cover the steps you need to take to protect your intellectual property.  Learn what you can legally protect and what is “fair game.” 
    Presenters: Chad Jungman and Troy Leonard, Woods, Fuller, Shultz & Smith PC
  • January 21: Business Blog: please Don’t dO This
    This workshop will give you the fundamentals for writing a good blog as well as show you what nOT To dO. 
    Presenter: Tara Mueller, Vision Video, Inc.
  • January 28: BYOD: The Benefits and Pitfalls
    Many companies and employees alike realize the advantages of adopting a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy.  This workshop discusses the pros and cons of BYOD policies. 
    Presenter: Jered Schock, Cisco Systems, Inc.

The brown bag workshops, which cost $10 each to attend, begin at 12:00 p.m. and last an hour.  You can register online or contact Kate Foley at The Chamber of Commerce at 605.373.2002.

Visit the Big D Technology Solutions website to learn more about Daren Anderson.

For more information about SDN Communications and services, call 800-247-1442 or visit the SDN Communications website.