Cloud computing promises great potential. Backup as a Service (including online backup, Storage
as a Service and Managed Backup Services) is recommended to get started in the Software-as-a-
Service (SaaS) business. Rapid growth in data, huge demand, rising bandwidths and available
technologies are prompting more and more companies to take a closer look at outsourcing their
Most companies view backup as an essential IT operation. To successfully restore data, frequent
and reliable backups are necessary. Protecting business-critical data is a very time consuming and
capital intensive process and never error-free.
Completing backup within your allotted time (your end user’s “backup window”), making sure the
management of your offsite tape storage is kept up to date and trying to keep your remote locations
protected creates countless headaches for the IT operations of your end users. Online backup
removes this burden and delivers data-protection at an affordable price. It is not only the cost of
storage that the end user needs to consider if they elect to remain with legacy methods of data
protection. They need to consider staff to manage the storage, the energy and costs associated
with running their own storage facility, cost of media and media management, backup verification
processes, remote employee support and the extra time associated with recovering from individual
and complete system failures.
BaaS is based on a mix of software and service elements that can deliver the
required service levels, defined in the Service Catalogue.
• Tape Drives
• Backup Management Server
• Data De-duplication
• Backup Software
BaaS selection criteria
- Physical reach of the online backup provider
The geographic presence of the online backup provider and the location where the data is stored
are very important. To make certain that there will be no legal violations, European data should be
stored in a data center in Europe and data from the US in the US.
It should be clear, that YOUR data is not stored or synchronized with any third party or foreign
country – your service provider should make this transparent to you.
Also, in case of an emergency where timing is critical, it is important that the online backup
provider is within physical reach to help restore the data if necessary. When it comes to product
support, being local decreases the risk of cultural or language misunderstandings. You should aim
to have your online backup provider operating in the same geographic area and time zone.
- Support and availability of additional services
Does your service provider offer live support? Or is it only via email? Some service providers offer
additional services like onsite installation of the software or training to the end-users. Especially in
corporate environments, it can be helpful if the service provider also checks your local backup and
recovery infrastructure to improve your ability to recover data quickly.
Sometimes it may also be necessary, for you or your service provider to have direct live support
from the online backup software vendor. You need an online backup software vendor that will stand behind their product and be available for your immediate needs. In the case of a data loss
emergency this can be a very important and critical to your recovery time.
Ask your service provider where his online backup software vendor is located and if he can get live
support in case of an emergency!
- Balanced Service Level Agreements (SLAs)
Does your service provider offer a fair and balanced Service Level Agreement? Typical “must
haves” are redundant storage to multiple locations, uptime guarantees, backups of your backup
(archiving), guaranteed support response times, the ability to represent your product requests or
deal with “bugs” in the software, support the latest operating systems and mainstream applications.
The SLA should include where the data is stored and that this is a “state-of the art” data center,
which is under continued maintenance.
State of the art online backup solution
Things to look for in a “state of the art” online backup solution:
• Easy to use application
• Offers both workstation and server backup.
• Supports applications like Microsoft Exchange, SQL and open file support.
• Easy scheduling.
• Incremental backups at a block or binary level.
• Constant monitoring of the system.
For security reasons, that service provider and the online backup software vendor should be two
different companies. Otherwise, there is always a risk that the service provider can read you data –
this is not the case if these are two separate companies.