We live in a world with what sometimes feels like too many choices. Anyone who has used a streaming service to watch a movie has had the experience of scrolling through thumbnails of films for what seems like hours, only to go to bed without ever deciding on what to watch.
Searching for the right backup solutions can feel similarly overwhelming. It’s a world with countless vendors, hardware and software packages, an encyclopedia’s worth of buzzwords and a slew of products that purport to do all sorts of things a customer might not even understand.
The good news: There are a few features that backup and recovery solutions absolutely must have. By taking note of these items, a solution provider can guide a customer through the noise. If a backup solution isn’t checking all three boxes, it’s a solution that is liable to give you grief in the long run—the opposite of the peace of mind that backups are made for.
1. A Backup MUST Be Reliable
Backup solutions need to work reliably both when backing up data and recovering it. There are plenty of backup horror stories out there about enterprises finding out too late that their data was only being backed up intermittently, or not at all.
Part of the problem with poorly constructed or poorly deployed backup solutions is that they are too complex for their own good. They are assembled piecemeal over time in order to meet different needs on different systems, or are implemented haphazardly without a real understanding of the business needs of an organization. That leads to a backup that causes more problems than it fixes—and that’s the opposite of what you want.
So how do you know if a backup is reliable? First, make sure that your backup architecture follows these steps. Then, test it. Then when you’ve tested it, test it again. In every potential scenario you can think of. Make sure that the solution always yields the results you want, no matter the stress on the system.
2. A Backup MUST Be Capable of Meeting Requirements
Versatility is a must for a good backup and recovery solution. If you have a backup that will only install on and back up data from PCs, and a directive comes through to switch the entire office over to Macs, then there’s a problem. Likewise, a backup solution needs to be able to function on different versions of different operating systems and needs to be able to interact with and back up different applications and servers/virtual machines. Basically, it needs to be able to tackle any of the backup needs that the office environment requires of it.
And just as important, a backup should be able to scale in order to meet an organization’s future business needs. Companies change. They grow, evolve their online presence and upgrade their operations. That’s how good businesses stay afloat. A good backup solution needs to be able to back all of that critical data up, no matter how significantly a business’s data needs change over time.
3. A Backup MUST Be User-Friendly
The concept of an intuitive interface is about more than just having a product that looks fancy. A dashboard of easy-to-understand commands with clear information architecture makes life easier for the administrator and the business. When a person administering a backup solution has to consult documentation the size of a phone book in order to try to figure out how to make the thing work properly, or is left sitting at a screen filled with impenetrable jargon, it defeats the purpose of the solution. When a backup is impossible to actually use, nothing is backed up, and nothing is recovered.
A user-friendly backup solution, on the other hand, will allow an administrator to focus on the important things, like business continuity, data recovery and happiness—specifically the kind of happiness one feels when one does not have to tell the CEO that all the critical user data has been irreparably destroyed
These three characteristics are essential to a good backup solution. But there’s still work to do. Use these criteria as a jumping-off point in order to discuss your client’s unique business data needs and the best ways to fulfill them.