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Softchoice’s Cloud Backup Story: 3 Lessons

Microsoft | Posted on August 15, 2013 by Luke Black

When it comes to business data security in our increasingly nomadic workforce, the benefits of utilizing SaaS technology to secure and backup data are quickly becoming apparent. In fact, we here at Softchoice recently experienced the process of vetting and implementing our own data protection and backup plan.

Three months ago, we undertook a project to update our backup and disaster recovery system. And as more and more of our clients are asking how to protect their data, we wanted to share three things we learned along the way.

Lesson 1: Learn the difference between SaaS storage and SaaS backup
While the two monikers may sound similar, there are key differences in the type of service delivered. Think of SaaS storage as an online external hard drive- basically a rented storage space that makes it simpler to access, share, and sync your files across multiple devices. SaaS backup on the other hand, is a more comprehensive security plan- in addition to data storage, backup services will create multiple copies of the data at different points in time (versioning), and offer security features such as automated backup and encryption in the transfer and storage of your data.
Since we’re a large organization with a highly mobile workforce, Softchoice needed a solution that provided advanced security benefits and high-volume sensitive data versioning and storage. This lead us to our ultimate choice.

Lesson 2: Educate yourself about relevant platform considerations
Azure is widely deployed here at Softchoice, so it was primary criteria for us to find a backup service with credentials to support enterprise-level platforms. We were able to find this in EVault’s Endpoint Protection service, which utilizes the Microsoft Azure cloud platform as a target for their backups. This collaboration between EVault and Azure allows users high-scalability and capacity for growth with a high level of responsiveness to growing business demands. We also advocate an integrated Azure/backup solution due to Azure’s multi-layered security- data centers in the US and Europe meet Tier 4 (the most stringent) rating requirements, and reliable, fault-tolerant system.

Lesson 3: Know what to look for with your chosen SaaS backup solution
We ultimately chose EVault, a strategic business partner of ours, to provide our backup deployment. Through our relationship with them, we’ve recognized the value of their service through solid performance, ease-of-use, and strong array of security features.

Before you make your choice, here are some other things we feel you should consider when choosing your SaaS backup provider.

Performance
Be sure to choose a provider with policies to ensure efficient backups and bandwidth usage. Features, such as Global deduplication ensure duplicate files on multiple computers are not backed more than once- reducing storage footprint and streamlining/ speeding up the recovery process. A good backup plan will allow the option to maximize local efficiencies by integrating local storage devices and only allowing access to networks during off-peak hours, cutting data transfer costs.

Customization and Scalability
Your backup plan should be able to scale to your organization’s unique needs and size. Make sure to select a plan that allows for hosting environment customization (onsite, cloud, or hybrid) to accommodate your organization’s cost, technical, or security needs. Other things to look for- does the backup plan have seat or capacity limits? Are you able to choose a deployment option that allows for staged rollouts or custom deployments as needed?

Security
While organizations may have differing levels of data sensitivity, it should be a best practice to make sure your IT department has the ability to proactively manage and secure data in the event of a security breach. Some security features to look for include: end-to-end data encryption to safeguard data security while in-transit and at rest, device tracking to increase the likelihood of recovered units/ decrease hardware replacement costs, and remote data deletion- the ability for your organization to remotely wipe any desktop or mobile device at a pre-specified or need-generated time.

While we’ve laid out some general considerations for selecting the right backup service, we understand that each client’s needs are unique. We have a rich source of tech experts who can offer you expertise and experience to guide you to an optimized solution for your needs. Please feel free to connect with your Softchoice rep or email us at info@softchoice.com with any questions you may have.

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