Offsite backups have been touted in the past few years as the answer to everyone’s bad habit of not doing backups. Once signed up for an online service it’s easy to ‘set it and forget it;’ but too many business owners don’t know what they are buying and end up paying a lot more than they should. They also end up shocked when they discover they weren’t backing up the right files or that they can’t restore the files as quickly as they had hoped.
If you want to make sure you don’t get burned by your online backup, avoid these 3 common mistakes:
Mistake #1: Not choosing an online backup service that offers a file versioning feature. In the old days of tape backups when a proper tape rotation was used, it would be possible to go back to a specific version of a file from different time periods. In other words it was possible to restore a spreadsheet you worked on last night and three weeks ago.
Most online backup services only back up the last version of a file; so make sure you choose one that features file versioning and configure it for 60-90 days of versioning on files that are frequently used.
Mistake #2: Backing up everything. In most cases, only data files need to be backed up. Some business owners accidently select their whole server and/or computer when beginning the process and end up paying to back up files and programs that do not need to be copied. This can lead to exponentially higher monthly charges with no added benefit. It’s often best to have a professional help you set up your backup criteria the first time to make sure you’re not missing files or data that might be buried a few levels deep—or backing up unnecessary files.
Mistake #3: Not having a local backup. Online backup services are great as a daily backup and eliminate the headache of changing tapes, disks, etc. However, if you only have an online backup, it can take a few hours to a few days to fully download your data back onto your server. That’s why it’s always a good idea to have a current local backup using inexpensive hard disks or other mediums. Aside from being able to retrieve data a lot more quickly from your local backup, it can make the process of rebuilding an entire system a lot faster and less painful.