The small to medium enterprise falls in the cracks between incredibly powerful–and expensive!–solutions needed by huge corporations and effective but limited applications designed to allow consumers to preserve pictures of their grandchildren. Look for these key features when shopping for business backup products.
Network Backup – A micro business might be able to give each employee an individual backup account, but SME companies can’t. You need a network-ready solution that ties each computer and external storage device into one centralized application all run through a single account.
User Monitoring – Your business is lost in a fire. You rebuild the company with the insurance money and can get back to work as soon as you restore your data. Unfortunately George hasn’t run the backup in six months and Dave never did at all. Sally used 80% of the total backup space allotted to the whole company to back up her huge lolcat library. An SME backup solution should offer a centralized administration panel to allow managers to ensure employees are using the service, and to allot an appropriate amount of backup space to each device.
Automatic Backups – The worst kind of backup system is one you have to remember to use. No matter how careful you are Murphy’s Law dictates the one time you forget is the one time the system will crash and take vital files with it. Automated, continuous backups ensure files are copied to offsite storage practically the instant they are changed on the host system.
Versioning – Backing up frequently has an unintended side effect: losing old versions of files. Your engineering team spends a month making changes and then the client decides to revert to the old design, but nobody kept a copy of the original files. Start from scratch! To avoid this, find SME backups that automatically keep old versions of files for a period of time.
Access Levels – Restoring files is just as important as backing them up. However that doesn’t mean you want employees to have access to every file on the backup any more than they should have access to every file on the internal network. Look for SME backup applications that offer user permissions. Most users will be able to restore only their own files. Managers or IT personnel might have broader permissions, but even they won’t necessarily have carte blanche.
Private Key Encryption – You need to protect your data from prying eyes. Encryption generally blocks third parties from stealing information but doesn’t block the backup company itself. A rogue employee at the backup provider could steal your data unless you are using a private encryption key. A private key is like a very long, complicated password. Without that key, nobody including the backup company’s technical support staff or even government investigators can see your files.
Don’t trust your vital data to consumer-oriented online backups. Find a reliable and robust business solution and keep your information safe.