Online Storage Backup and Recovery for SMBs

By Lauren Simonds | Posted March 17, 2005

Small businesses often struggle with data backup and recovery for a variety of reasons. Until recently, it was because finding an affordable, easy-to-use system that didn't require constant monitoring came under the heading of Mission Impossible.

In the last few years, however, storage solutions that address the needs of small businesses have been popping up left and right. So now the question for SMBs becomes — how do I know which solution to choose?

Connected Corporation, a Framingham, Mass.-based storage software company that was recently acquired by storage security giant, Iron Mountain, says its solution — Connected DataProtector/PC — offers its customers the best of both the enterprise and small business worlds.

Expanding Capability
The company designed DataProtector/PC as both a product and a hosted service, the idea being that the hosted service is the appropriate choice for small businesses, while enterprise-level companies would most likely buy the software and host it on their own servers. According to Wayne St. Amand, Connected's product marketing manager, DataProtector/PC can backup an individual PC all the way up to ten thousand PCs.

"Storage software with that kind of flexibility benefits small business," he said. "A small business owner will never have to worry about hitting the limit of the software's capability."

How Hosted Storage Works
All hosted storage solutions work on the same basic premise. You sign up online, select a service plan, download a software agent and begin the initial full backup. St. Amand told SmallBusinessComputing that DataProtector/PC uses a wizard to guide customers through the backup process. "After the initial backup, the software agent kicks in at a pre-determined time and backs up your data to Iron Mountain's off-site storage facility."

St. Amand went on to say that "Automated storage is a critical requirement for SMBs. Small business owners need to focus on their business, not on IT chores."

The software's installation wizard lets you choose between an automated and a custom setup. According to St. Amand, the automated option lets you backup all data filed and system setting files, while the custom option lets you select certain folders for backup. You can also exclude files, such as video or jpegs. In its default setting, DataProtector/PC does not backup MP3 files.

Security and Recovery
DataProtector/PC transmits customer data using government-standard, 128-bit AES encryption said St. Amand. "The data's encrypted before it leaves the customer's server, and it stays that way — during transmission and during the entire time it's stored at Iron Mountain," he said.

Of course the other half of the data storage coin is recovering your data in the event of a system crash or natural disaster. DataProtector/PC offers three ways to recover data — two online and one offline.

"If your PC is working and you have online access," said St. Amand, "you open the DataProtector application and select the Recovery tab. The software walks you through the process."

The second online method is designed for times when aren't near or can't access your own PC. "You can use any Web browser, go to www.iRoam.com, and pull up any file," said St. Amand. "Being able to use any Web browser to access files gives SMBs information liquidity — anytime, anywhere access."


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Status Check — DataProtector/PC's control panel lets you monitor the transfer status of each backup.

If you need to recover files offline, the company says it will burn your data to disk and mail it to you for a nominal fee. They don't charge for online data recovery.

Of course, being a subsidiary of one of the most reputable records management service doesn't hurt your credibility one bit. And St. Amand points out what he considers another sign of the product's reliability: The DataProtector/PC application provides the backup function for Quicken and QuickBooks online backup.

Pricing
Connected Corp offers a small business price plan that covers one-to-five PCs (up to 10GB of data per PC) for $89.75 per month. Contact the company for more details on pricing.

Lauren Simonds is the managing editor of SmallBusinessComputing.com

Do you have a comment or question about this article or other small business topics in general? Speak out in the SmallBusinessComputing.com Forums. Join the discussion today!

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