Bitback Blog

Bitback rant #1: I Hate Insurance

(Edit) – I do not condone cancelling your insurance!

Hate is a strong word. But I (really dislike) insurance. I do not enjoy paying for something completely intangible, like insurance. Just paying and paying…until I need it. And therein lies the rub.

I was thinking about this the other day looking at my homeowner’s insurance bill (and it’s rather large balance) and I realized with a shock; that I myself am in the insurance business. Isn’t data backup like insurance? Or a seat belt (that costs money every month)?

Cloud backup is a storage area for the companies’ records; that provides no business value. It costs energy for the machine. It takes time to verify that everything did indeed back up. But it just sits there…until you need it…just like insurance.

Case in point: I went to see a potential client last year and we went through the set up that was currently in place. He had a 1 TB hard drive plugged into a PC that all the other PC’s sent data to via some command line scripts. We discussed what I had to offer and after a bit of back and forth, the meeting ended. He eventually decided to keep what he had (really bad insurance). As you may have predicted, he called me several months later with a horror story about his back up not restoring and he lost 60% of his files. We agreed to set up another meeting; where I will tell him to please choose a better strategy. It doesn’t have to be mine, but he needs something better.

I thought to myself: I can buy cheaper insurance, but if it only pays me 40% of what it promised, is it worth it?

I’m paying my insurance bill as soon as I post this.

Thanks for reading, and let me know what you think!! Please post a comment below.

 

Dave

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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OMG I lost My Wedding Photos!

I peruse the internet for backup stories. New technology, better ways to leverage what we have. Sometimes you run across very sad stories. Like yesterday when I saw a post in a forum about a PC crashing, and the loss of memories that you can NEVER get back.

Did you know that 140,000 hard drives are going to fail this week alone? Good news for hard drive manufacturers, bad news for the rest of us. But like many tragedies this one is also avoidable.

Some statistics I found:

  • 50 percent would rather lose all of their vacation time for an entire year than lose all of the files on their computer.
  • 38 percent of married Americans feel that it would be worse to lose everything on their computer than to lose their wedding ring.
  • 62 percent said they would pay to get back their lost data if their computer crashed, 21 percent said they would pay500, and 27 percent said they would pay as much as they needed to.
  • 34% would give up beer and wine for a year.

 

And yet these people that were polled more than likely don’t have a solid backup plan. So as much as they are willing to ‘trade’ (see above) they still will not be able to get their baby photos back. So…back up your stuff!

 

Thanks for reading,

 

Dave

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What Is Your DLM? (Data Loss Metric)

Disaster Plan

How much downtime can you have before you lose customers, revenue or your entire business?

Think of it this way – if your power went out at your business site, how long before it became really painful to operate your business? Some businesses have customers calling every 15 minutes, and if they can’t pull up their accounts quickly the customer may go somewhere else. For others it’s no big deal, they use mostly paper records. But when is that invoice due? If you can’t check your accounting software how would you find out?

I like to recommend users power down their systems completely and see what happens. You’d be surprised what you haven’t thought of. This is a really good exercise if you are able to do it. It shows us how much we rely on our computer systems for everyday tasks like finding a restaurant, or checking your bank balance.

So – what’s your DLM? I’m guessing you can’t go very long without your laptop or business PC.

 

Thanks for reading!

 

Dave

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Is Your Business Disaster Proof?

Think about this: With real problems such as: financial catastrophes, natural disasters and computer problems, can your business survive and remain disaster proof?

I believe in the Boy Scout motto, “be prepared.” All businesses should follow this simple rule although it is very time consuming (I try to but it isn’t easy). Sometimes we just want to relax when we have some down time, not worry about ‘what if’ scenarios. What follows below are some tips and advice on how to get back up after being knocked down.

1.       Perform multiple backups, regularly.

Since this site is a backup site, it stands to reason I would mention this first. But it (should) go without saying that you can’t restore data that wasn’t backed up. So please do the following (or have it done for you):

Set Automatic Backups – schedule them so you don’t have to manually do them.

Automatic backups are performed at various times during the day, and require no user intervention. Be sure to schedule your backups as often as possible, the more the better. It is extremely important to verify that your backups actually worked, so, please do test restores to a test location, as this is the only way to check this.

You can also invest in backup software that can provide an offsite/cloud based backup of data in case of theft or building damage. These backups are stored at another geographic location, and are really only used in cases of emergency, or to restore few files. A major restore can take a while depending on the amount of data.

2.       Plan to replace or rent equipment.

Look for various vendors in your area that allow you to rent PC’s and laptops. While you are waiting for the insurance to arrive, you can access your cloud stored data and keep on rolling. Create ‘hard’ copies of your most important legal documents and store in a safe deposit box, or fireproof facility.  Scan them into digital format and keep them in your offsite storage as well.

3.       Formulate business continuity plans.

Work to create a Business Continuity plan for your company or business. It should include vendors to contact, a ‘calling tree’ so the all employees can be notified, insurance and legal contacts, your back up vendor (they do provide on-site support don’t they?), local news agencies so that you let the world know you are still up and running – same goes for your website; post that you are are still going strong. Also include your phone company, so that you may forward calls if needed. All of this should be in your plan, which is kept in an offsite location.

Thanks for reading!

Dave

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Introducing Bitback ServerSave (Shameless Plug)

Bitback is very proud to offer a new line of products to help Businesses keep their precious data safe. Bitback ServerSave.

Bitback ServerSave brings our clients a complete server backup solution. Bitback ServerSave is a complete solution for IT managers – including cloud backup for servers and complete end-point protection for workstations and laptop fleets. In other words, we do an image based backup of your servers: Exchange, SQL, Sharepoint and Small Business Server.  It’s a bare metal backup and restore. It’s also email backup and restore at the granular level: restore a single message, or 100 mailboxes via a drag and drop interface.

Our goal here is to eliminate pain for IT admins and business owners.  Never worry about getting your systems back, stop wondering how to restore a message via Exchange. Migrate an entire server to new hardware. Migrate your Exchange to better hardware via drag and drop.  Get all of this for around $4 a day; the price of a latte.

In today’s world, we all need to more with less. So in that vein of thought Bitback gives you the ability to upload your images to the cloud using a free tool called Image Upstream.  It’s an end to end solution, workstations, backups and servers.

Thanks for reading.

Dave

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Don’t Use a Backup Solution That Uses the Word Cheap

Do I really need to explain this? (Guess so, because I’m about too.)

So let’s say you need to back up your PC, laptop, server or whatever. And you’re using “the Google” and the first page of your search lists the following:

“Cheapest Online Backup”

“Lowest cost back up guarantee”

“Free cloud based storage”

On the surface they sound great. I mean who doesn’t like cheap or free? For example: “Cheapest Heart Transplant” or “Lowest cost Airbags: We get them cheap and pass the savings on to you!” Seriously though, some things you don’t want to be cheap. Is your onsite backup or your cloud backup something you really want to farm out to the lowest bidder? Especially when you need support – have they also farmed that out based on cost?

And if they offer it low cost, how much research and development do they put into the product? Sounds to me like they just want to sign up millions of people, and if they lose 20% based on a bad product or bad service; so be it. My advice would be to go with a company that invests in its product and its support. As always its buyer beware.

Thanks for reading

Dave

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Why I Became a Backup Junkie: Part 2

Part 1 is here

So I’m relaxing in my kitchen with a cup of coffee when my doorbell rings. I open the door, and on my doorstep is my neighbor holding a laptop. “Can you fix it?” She asks. “Sure, let me take a look”. I take it into my kitchen and boot it up, and no drive is found. My neighbor is looking over my shoulder and is visibly upset, sort of hopping from one foot to another. “Why don’t you head home and I’ll run some diagnostics”, she leaves and I get to work.

After two hours, it becomes apparent that this thing is a dead paperweight. The hard drive is toast, and without sending it out for forensic recovery the data is gone. So I bring it over to her and tell her the bad news. She starts to cry, she’s holding it back but the tears are coming. I naturally ask about restoring from the backup –which sets her off even more, because of course there is no backup. Not knowing what else to do and feeling really bad, I offer to replace the drive and reinstall everything (including a backup solution).

In actuality she has lost her photos, her tax information, her email etc…there really is no fixing this.

So this is the second reason I push backups so often. I don’t want anyone else to go through this issue when it is easily avoidable.  Back up your stuff, don’t put it off and don’t think you have no data of value. There are too many companies offering low cost cloud backups for anyone to not keep their stuff protected.

Thanks for reading.

Dave

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It’s World BackUp Day!!

Well…almost. About 17 hours as of the writing of this post.  I’m celebrating with a beer.

Visit http://www.worldbackupday.com/ for more details.

 

The thing to remember is:

Backup your files.

Check to make sure you can restore those files.

 

Dave

 

 

 

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What is Bitback?

  

I get asked this question a lot – so I thought I’d explain it a little better.

In the simplest terms: Bitback is a seatbelt for your business. You hardly think about it, but in an accident it’s a vital piece of equipment. Actually, the Bitback Box is the seatbelt and Bitback Cloud is the Airbag, or something like that.

The Bitback system is comprised of two parts. Part 1 is the Bitback box; an on-site piece of hardware that clones your entire network every night. So you can easily and quickly restore a file or a whole PC/Server. Which comes in handy if you have customers, and they need some information while your PC is down.

Part 2 is the Bitback Cloud. This is an off-site option that can really come in handy in the event of a fire, tornado, flood or other natural disaster. You data is backed up to as many as 11 redundant data centers. So in the case of the unthinkable – you can get access to your data. From a new office, the golf course or wherever there is internet access.

Nobody like to think about backups. They are a necessary part of keeping our businesses safe. Sort of like a seatbelt (or an airbag).

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Bitback Is SSAE16 Certified

Well, Bitback cloud is anyway; but we’re still very excited about it. SSAE16 replaces SAS 70 and is an auditing standard set forth by CPA’s and accounting organizations. If you have no idea what SSAE16 is, you probably don’t need to know. However, if you need your data audits to be certified, contact your data backup provider to make sure they can handle an audit.

SSAE16 went into effect on August 15, 2011.

From SSAE16.com:
“Service organizations can receive significant value from having a SSAE 16 examination performed. A Service Auditor’s Report with an unqualified opinion that is issued by an Independent Auditing Firm differentiates the service organization from its peers by demonstrating the establishment of control objectives and effectively designed control activities. A Service Auditor’s Report can also help a service organization build trust with its user organizations (i.e., customers).”

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    We monitor the health of the Bitback Box 24/7, so itʼs highly unlikely that it will have an unexpected issue. …{ Read the Rest }

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    Bitback restored my PC in under 40 minutes, I didn’t even get to finish lunch!

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