Your data is your world – or more specifically your business. Entrusting it to someone else can be an overwhelming prospect. Knowing that outsourcing backup and disaster recovery can be a much more convenient and reliable method of handling your requirements, is only a relief when you feel confident that you have the right vendor partner in place. In order to make sure your data is in the right hands, there are five questions you should ask any potential vendor before signing on the dotted line.
Question 1 - What services do you provide exactly?
Outsourced back up services vary from simply providing raw storage space to fully managed back up providers that offer a full variety of additional services. Depending on the nature of your organisation and your backup requirements the services you will need from a vendor can vary greatly, and can include:
- Live server imaging
- Exchange backup and individual email archiving
- Storage de-duplication
- Database backups
- Laptop backups
- Data encryption
To name just a few. It is perhaps stating the obvious to say that there will be a correlation between the comprehensiveness of the package and the cost. So it is always important to understand your essential requirements of a backup solution and budget accordingly.
Question 2 – How well can your solution and/or service meet my needs? And how can you be sure?
The success of a particular backup solution and how it deploys for you can quite often rely on a unique set of circumstances. Thinking about your own circumstances and the consequential needs are one way to make sure the solutions you are considering meet your needs.
Things to consider:
- Where is your data located – a central site or across remote sites?
- How many sites and servers will require backing up?
- How will the potential solutions work with your network bandwidth sites?
- How much data is required to be backed up?
- How long are you required to keep archives?
- What security measures do you require?
Making note of all of these things and asking targeted questions are really beneficial in understanding if a specific solution can integrate with you needs. However, it is far too easy to overlook something or to underestimate the significance it may have on the successful implementation of your backup solution. Asking a vendor if they can provide a trial or bespoke demonstration of their solution is one of the only ways to ensure that their solution will fully integrate with your unique set of circumstances and backup requirements. Backup Systems provide a one month free trial, to ensure our solution meets your needs.
Question 3 – What happens when there is a disaster?
Enterprise backup solutions and disaster recovery are often things that are spared little though after implementation. And when they are its quite usually only because something has gone wrong.
No one ever likes to think of the times when things could go wrong – sometimes it seems like tempting fate. But when your Backup solutions is the only thing standing between you and a total wipe out it deserves a little attention every now and then. Your vendor should be able to give you insights into some essential information:
How can I be sure it’s working?
The time to realise that your backup solution has failed is not when you need it most. Regular testing and reporting should be a common place feature in a backup solution understanding how these can be incorporated in to your backup solution should be an important consideration.
How long should it take to recover my data?
Restoration takes longer than a backup and can be magnified if you deploy data deduplication or incremental backups to reduce the size of your uploads. Not only this but it can also be affected by the bandwidth of your connection. Getting back up and running is essential to business success – if your potential vendor can’t provide satisfactory insights a trial or demo of their solution might provide a more valued insight.
Question 4 - What happens in the long term? Will you be able to meet my future needs?
It is the basic desire of any organisation to undergo growth and continually drive for further successes. As a by-product of this growth; there is also an increase in the volume of data output. Your backup solution should be able to grow and scale with you and your vendors should have the capacity to fulfil any of your future needs. Growth is a prominent feature in the future considerations in many organisations but by taking a moment to consider what might lie in the future of your organisation you will be better able to approach your potential vendors with these specific scenarios. Bespoke functionality can be built into the Backup Systems platform to provide you with the range of capabilities tailored to your business. Our system is more cost effective than an ‘off the shelf’ product from a popular vendor or reseller, as Backup Systems do not add a mark-up and any new functionality that is required is completely free of charge.
Question 5 – How much will this cost me?
Securing appropriate budget for your backup solutions can often be the principal challenge. When trying to understand if a vendor can work with your particular budget there are a few things to consider:
Cost Transparency – understand your total cost commitments in advance and make sure there are no hidden costs for additional services or support. It is also important to take into consideration that some vendors will design payment plans around the volume of data to be backed up or other fluctuating factors. Consider the cost implications for your organisation should these factors change.
Hardware/software requirements – in some cases it may be required to purchase new hardware or licence and install new software. Make sure these costs are factored in as well as any problems that may arise in integrating them into your existing IT infrastructure.
Got some questions of your own?
Choosing the right backup and disaster recovery solution is often a complex process that will leave you full of questions.
With our free eBook, you can address 5 of the most common challenges faced in Backup Strategy development.