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What to look for in a vaulting vendor

When considering an off-site backup vendor, what are some of the major questions we should be asking them? What should we be looking out for?

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One of the first things to consider if you have not already done so is how will you be using an off-site backup and data storage vendor (aka vaulting type company) or service provider. For example, are you looking to subscribe to software as a service (SaaS) type service that utilizes software on your servers and a network connection to push or pull data to a remote backup service provider? Another example is are you looking for a service that will provide "target" disk or remote tape capabilities for you to backup up your systems to over a network. Yet another and traditionally more common approach is a service where you physically send your backup media (usually tapes) for storage and safe keeping (make sure to encrypt the tapes).

So depending upon what type of service you are looking for, in general, look for a service that is reputable, bonded and fully insured as well as one that addresses your security and safe keeping needs. In addition, you will want to learn about the physical facilities including security, water and flood protection and other capabilities. Also, take time to learn about the people who will be interacting and handling your backup media or data. If the service is being used for remote data backup over a network, what type of network connections, bandwidth, storage capacity and device compatibilities exists and how do they fit your needs. In general, do your homework and look beyond low cost. Security is very important so do your homework and due diligence.

This was first published in July 2006

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