Failing to protect your company data’s confidentiality, integrity and availability could result in heavy business losses, legal liability and loss of goodwill. To avoid such a disaster, your company needs an up-to-date secure backup service but that’s not always easy. Choosing the right provider for your organisation’s needs can be extremely challenging.

That’s why we’ve written this guide. It reveals the key factors you should use to determine which one of the many available backup service providers you use to protect your company’s infrastructure.

1. Look for a provider who offers a managed backup service

Why a managed service and not one that your IT team can handle in-house?

Well, it’s likely that your IT team is already battling to keep abreast of the many demands it faces every day. Do you really want to burden your team with even more responsibilities? Plus, if your team is made responsible for monitoring and managing your backup on a daily basis, you’ll need to find the additional resources to make that happen. That might include employing more IT staff just to fulfill your backup services. Even then, there’s no guarantee that your IT team will remember to do it every single evening.

That’s why it makes more sense to outsource your backup services to a professional provider.

2. Choose a provider who won’t penalise you for being successful

Successful companies grow and as they do, the number of people they employ increases. With more employees on board, it’s likely you’ll generate more data. As your company grows, you’ll also need more servers or virtual machines. And that’s when you’re likely to see a sharp rise in costs because some backup providers will charge you for every additional gigabyte of data you need to have saved and for every additional server or virtual machine.

As a growing company, you could soon find yourself in a position in which your service provider is ‘punishing’ you for your success.

Unless you want your company’s growth to be curbed, look for a provider that will charge you a flat annual fee for managing your services, no matter how many gigabytes or terabytes of data are involved nor how many servers or virtual machines you have. Make sure too that the provider will not charge you extra for the support it provides during the 12-month managed service period.

3. Pick a provider who wrote the system, not one who’s reselling someone else’s

Most providers are just reselling or using a backup system that another company has written. That means they will also be adding a mark-up to the price of that product and passing that to you.

Also they can’t easily change any part of the systems to suit the individual needs of their clients. They’re stuck with their ‘one size fits all’ systems and therefore so are their clients.

Even if they are able to customise someone else’s system, they’re likely to charge clients a substantial premium for doing so.

A company that’s developed its own system, by comparison, can reconfigure and adapt it very easily to suit each client’s needs. That’s what we do here at Backup Systems.

Since we developed our own system, we can rewrite our code to suit each client we have. And we do it for free…It’s all part of the service.

Importantly, we’re not resellers so we’re not passing on anyone else’s costs to you, which is why you will find us a lot cheaper than the competition.

4. Select a provider who can get virtual machines operational in minutes rather than hours or days after a system failure

Opt for a backup service provider who can ensure that in the case of a system outage, it will be able to get your virtual machines running on the backup server within a few minutes. That allows your employees to access things like accounts, documents, and emails like normal, while the rest of the data is restored from the backup.

5. Don’t be swayed by big brand names

Don’t use big brand name recognition as the sole basis for choosing your backup service provider. Although a big name brand provider might have a great reputation, it won’t necessarily offer a service that’s ideally suited to your organisation’s backup needs. Usually, its services are by necessity ‘one size fits all’.

Moreover, a big name brand is likely to charge you a premium to cover its overheads (after all, the marketing involved in creating brand name recognition comes with a hefty price tag—and it’s one that will be passed on to its customers.)

A smaller backup service provider won’t have the same overheads as its giant rivals so its price is likely to be far cheaper and at the same time it should be able to offer you a more personalised and flexible service than its better-known competitors.

6. Look for a provider who offers personalised responses not ‘support tickets’

You’ve undoubtedly been in a situation where something’s gone wrong and you’ve emailed a Help Desk but instead of being able to get immediate help, you’re given a ‘support ticket’.

You know how frustrating that can be. You sit and wait then check your Inbox then your Junk folder for that elusive follow-up email. Sometimes, it arrives. Sometimes it doesn’t. Meanwhile, you’re stuck, unable to carry on with your work.

Getting a ‘support ticket’ is bad enough when you’re experiencing a problem with a software application. But with something serious like a system outage, it would be truly terrible. Every minute of downtime will cost your company many thousands of pounds in lost revenue.
It doesn’t even have to be as drastic as a system outage. You might be waiting for help to retrieve something simple like the file you were working on last week or to reverse the changes made to an important document.

That’s why you should look for a service provider that guarantees you will always be put in contact with a real person who will respond to your support request immediately, either by email or phone.

7. Opt for a provider who offers fast, user-friendly restoration of data

Look for a provider that will not only backup your data but also restore your data. After all, while backup is important, restoring data is critical to your company’s operations. You and your employees should be able to get back any version of any file, database, email or even a complete system image in seconds.

Restoring data must be so straightforward that people can do it without first having to learn any special software, just their regular file explorer. This way, if the person normally in charge of restoring data is absent or on annual leave, others within your organisation (if you want them to!) can easily carry out the task. This in turn will alleviate the pressure from employees that typically bears down on IT teams.

8. Look for one provider who offers a comprehensive backup and restore service

Instead of choosing one service provider to take care of your backup services and another to handle your disaster recovery, choose a provider who can take care of everything for you. Such a provider should offer a comprehensive backup, recovery and restore service that includes:

And your provider should allow you to have unlimited users, amounts of data, and servers so that you know the costs are predictable and won’t change over time. That means no hidden charges and no nasty surprises. It also means you’ll have just one rather than many providers to deal with.

9. Choose a provider with glowing client testimonials and case studies

Will the company you’re considering really provide the ‘outstanding customer service’ it’s promising? The only way you can be sure is to assess the feedback it’s received from its customers—past and present.

A marked absence of client testimonials and case studies is an obvious red flag in this case. It means buyer beware!

If the company doesn’t have any positive feedback from clients, it might be due to the fact it’s a startup in which case, you could be its first ‘guinea pig’ client on who it will beta test its backup service.

Equally importantly, given that over half of all new startups don’t survive more than five years, that company might not survive the long-haul. That would spell disaster for your data.

If a company has been in business more than five years but doesn’t have any client testimonials, that is just as worrying. It could mean it hasn’t impressed any of its clients with its service enough to motivate them to leave a recommendation.

That’s why you should look for client testimonials and case studies on the websites of the providers you’re considering. You need to see proof from third parties that the company really can deliver on its promises.

Conclusion

Follow these recommendations to find a backup service provider who will deliver an affordable, flexible and responsive service that best suits your company’s needs.

If you already have a backup provider who’s not meeting your needs and delivering a patchy, even inadequate service, don’t stick with the status quo. Choose a better provider. Remember what’s at stake when it comes to protecting your company’s data. If your backup service is inadequate you’re placing your company’s future at great risk of failure.

After all, your data includes your historical records and documents, product information (which could include source codes, designs, drawings, applications for patents, etc.), financial information and your organisation’s financial records, along with your customers’ information (including bank account numbers, addresses, and password details).

That information is too precious to put at risk. Don’t settle for an inadequate backup and restore service—take action today.