What you should know about data backup tools and solutions

Even though we all pretend to know and understand that data backup is one of the most important things that you should do on your computer and systems, many users still don’t have a good solution in place. Although computing today has much more advanced measures to protect your information, both in the cloud and on-premises, using reliable data backup tools is still something that should be non-negotiable.

What you should know when looking at data backup tools

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When you are first looking for a backup solution, it’s important to recognize how you’d like your information stored. If you need to rebuild your entire computer in the case of an outage, including the operating system and applications, you’ll need imaging-based backup software.

If, on the other hand, you simply need to store data, there are file-based backup software options that have facilities that protect your data in the case that you lose it on your primary servers. If you only need a backup for certain files, only a small amount of additional storage is required, and you can often simply secure these with popular cloud computing options, including OneDrive or Google Drive.

Imaging tools, though, typically require an additional hard drive. Otherwise, you’ll need plenty of space somewhere else on your network that is able to hold the entire hard drive of your system and any future changes.

Some people or businesses choose to utilize both of these options by backing up their hard drive through imagining and securing your most important file backups in an additional location. In fact, certain applications offer both of these backups so you don’t need to search for two different solutions.

Another important consideration is not just what type of backup tools you want, but also how intrusive it is. Some large backup solutions could make your system unusable during the backup; if you need regular, daily backups, but still need access around the clock, this will not be the best system.

Your data backup should take place in a way that is convenient for you and your business while still providing effective storage. Additionally, it’s important that you recognize how you can access your data in the event of a disaster. Will it take minutes to get back up and running? Hours? Even days?

Last, but certainly not least, you need to understand how your data is encrypted. If you are uploading your data to the cloud, it is important to know not only how your data is encrypted while at rest but also in transit.

These are important factors when looking for your next data backup solution. Taking these into consideration, let’s take a look at what people truly want from their data.

What people are really looking for

data backup tools

Although not many people enjoy this aspect of computing, data backup solutions are undoubtedly important. TechTarget Research conducted a survey showing that “a significant majority of businesses back up databases and virtualized servers,” while less than half backup datasets that users share, and only about one-fifth back up endpoint or desktop data and virtualized desktops.”

Most respondents don’t need huge amounts of data backups, with 38 percent backing up less than 10TB of data. Only 11 percent require one or more petabytes. Eliminating this top 11 percent, the average amount of data that organizations use is 102TB. If we include all respondents, it jumps up to 770TB.

Looking at why users make new backup software purchases, we see that it was predominantly to address growing data volume. This isn’t surprising if we look at the extremely large increase in data created by the average user over the recent years.

The next most important reason that companies decided to buy a new backup software was “gaining confidence in data recovery and restoration (45 percent)…followed by compliance (35 percent), backup operations consolidation (25 percent), inability to meet backup windows (23 percent), re-evaluating data management plan (18 percent), support for new enterprise applications (16 percent), a desire for newer versions of technologies already in hand (15 percent), and seeking to reduce reliance on tape (14 percent).”

After understanding why users and companies buy new data backup tools, this survey looked into what they considered the most important features and functions. Unsurprisingly, the No. 1 choice for this was the ease of implementation and management. Scalability and capacity were almost equally important.

Many respondents were also very interested in virtual machine backup, and recovery time objective demands. The top 10 list of features included these as well as backup reports and modules for specific applications.

Backup hardware purchases had a similar list of important features at the top, leading with capacity and scalability and followed by ease of implementation and management. Below these, users reported the importance of VM backup, physical server backup, and ability to reduce or deduplicate data.

However, the similarities end here between hardware and software data backup tools. The remainder of the backup hardware purchase features included backup and recovery for remote offices or remote workforce, archive functionality, ability to stage local backups for cloud targets, and virtual desktop infrastructure support.

Vendor or reseller?

Interestingly, the majority of businesses did not make their most recent backup software purchase directly from the vendor. Instead, 58 percent made it through a data backup tools reseller (the top percentage going to Veritas or Symantec). About 62 percent of these respondents were buying add-ons to existing backup technologies, while the others made new purchases.

When buying your data backup tools, it’s important to recognize that the price isn’t set in stone. Instead, vendors are willing to offer discounts, even large ones, in order to make a sale. According to TechTarget, “Of those who recently bought backup software, 11 percent acknowledged getting a 10 percent to 24 percent discount, 9 percent got 9 percent off, 7 percent benefited from a 25 percent to 49 percent price reduction, and 4 percent got 50 percent or more chopped off the sticker price.”

In addition to this, 11 percent got an extra discount beyond the initial offer, 7 percent were able to get an extra year of maintenance, 6 percent took an additional product and professional services, and 5 percent received an enhanced service level, without any added expenses.

When you are shopping for a new data backup tool, it’s important to be educated both about the general community and what you, personally, need for yourself or your business. This way you can effectively buy the solution that’s best for you.

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