Small Business Opts for EVault

By Patricia Fusco | Posted January 22, 2004

Regardless of the size of a business, every piece of data is important. Regrettably, there are many barriers for smaller networked companies when it comes to backing up critical business data on a daily basis.

First of all, there is the cost factor — both for the IT resources and equipment required to implement a successful data backup strategy. Then there's the daily chore of manually changing out tapes and sending the data to a secure, offsite location for safekeeping. And there's the fear factor, like when the lights went out during the 'Blackout of 2003' and many companies lost pertinent data along with associated revenues.

For some companies, new industry standards concerning medical files and confidentiality, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and new federal regulations regarding public accounting rules, such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, are forcing small businesses to change how data backup and recovery is managed.

Consequently, data backup and disaster recovery systems are red-hot segments of the IT industry. A recent study by AMI-Partners found that nearly 60 percent of small businesses with local area networks (LANs) currently use on-site data backup and recovery systems. That leaves 40 percent of the small business market unprotected or untapped — depending how you look at it.

Data Confidence
EVault is data protection and recovery vendor with particular expertise in providing solutions for small business. The Walnut Creek, Calif.-based company recently announced its online backup and recovery service for small business now tops 100 subscribers — no small fete for a program that was introduced just six months ago.

Small businesses have a myriad of choices when it comes to building a backup and recover strategy. There are simple tape backup schemes, network-attached storage (NAS) devices, and even storage area networking (SAN) gear available from which to choose. So why is EVault — an outsourced backup and recover service — gaining traction among small business?

According to EVault, the rapid growth of its Small Business Edition (SBE) reflects the responsiveness of small businesses to a low-cost, easy-to-use backup and recovery service, which is also designed to help meet new regulatory requirements governing data protection.

Phil Gilmour, EVault president and chief executive officer, is confident small businesses see the value proposition of protecting their data.

"We're confident that the volume of our SBE business will continue to increase as small business owners watch their data volumes grow and learn that cost is no longer a barrier to safeguarding their digital assets," Gilmour said. "Having data backed up and readily available is vital to any company's success — large and small."

Bank On IT
One of EVault's SBE customers is First Coastal Bank. Founded in 1984, First Coastal Bank specializes in serving small and mid-sized businesses in the South Bay Area of Los Angeles County. First Coastal Bank is a small business, too. It operates four branches and has 45-employees that manage about $155 million in assets.

First Coastal Bank Vice President of Technology Neil Benson explained how the bank ended up replacing its tape backup system with EVault's hosted service.

"We were doing the old-fashioned tape back up solution — we installed tape backup systems on each of our six servers for about $1,000 each. Each branch had to have 16 tapes available for two weeks of data backup. Tapes cost about $30 each. And of course, a tape backup system requires user intervention," Benson said. "We looked at the costs and efficiency of our program and we knew we needed a better backup resource, but cost was a key factor."

Benson said he spoke with different technology personnel at other banks and several of them recommend EVault.

"Security is the number one issue for a bank, so we had to do a third-party audit of EVault before we could consider using them as a vendor," Benson said. "The report looked at EVault's controls and employee access. As a bank, we had to look at their financials, too. Everything looked very clean and very good for EVault, which is important because regulators look for this specific documentation every time they visit a bank."

Benson said First Coastal Bank looked at other alternatives including new tape systems, tape vaults and auto loaders, but these solutions would have been more expensive than EVault's hosted backup and recovery service.

"We're primarily backing up a lot of information for loan applications and documents on our system, as well as tracking online bill payments and all of our other services. We may be a small bank but we need to backup a sizable amount of data — 15 to 20 gigabytes every day."

EVault's data backup and recovery services provided First Coastal Bank with an additional benefit. Federal regulators recently distributed a white paper saying larger banks needed to consider distance when dispersing backed up data. Benson said it's only a mater of time before small banks will need to do the same. In that respect, First Coastal Bank has been proactive about protecting its data through EVault.

"Federal regulators look at data backup and recovery systems intensely, they've even started looking at distance as an issue for banks. Our local branches are geographically close. All of our branches are in the South Bay Area, the furthest branches are about 15 to 20 miles apart," Benson explained. "Even with our backups rotated offsite to another branch, our data might be compromised in the event of a natural disaster, like a wildfire or an earthquake. With data a couple of thousand miles away, we're all happier because we now our data is secure."

Benson said First Coastal Bank has been using EVault for about six months now and backup service has met all of his expectations.

"It's amazing — it took about five minutes to load EVault's software on each of our servers. About 20 minutes later, we had each of our six servers pre-programmed to backup our data by 1 a.m. every day," Benson said. "The data is transmitted to EVault in Atlanta and I get and e-mail confirming each server has been backed up when it's done. I've yet to walk in and see a failure notice."

However, Benson said the best news is that First Coastal Bank is saving time and money by using EVault's data backup and recovery service.

"We've reduced our costs on data backup by about 15 percent," Benson said. "And reduced our headaches by 99 percent."

Restored Faith
The EVault SBE service supports Microsoft Windows 2000 Server, Advanced Server and XP Professional versions. EVault's server software is relatively easy to install and costs $85 to run and store 5 GB of data.

The EVault SBE service is specifically designed to enable small businesses with limited IT resources to automatically backup data securely to an offsite location using its existing Internet connections. With a 20-minute installation and no additional equipment to buy, the EVault SBE service makes it extremely easy for small businesses with less than 15GB to automate and then manage their own backup and recovery processes.

To date, EVault technology has helped perform millions of data backups and tens of thousands of successful restorations. First Coastal Bank's Benson said he has not had to use the data recovery portion of the service yet, but that he's confident it will work well when he calls upon EVault to perform.

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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