Internet Backup Services

Internet backup services were the last thing on the franchise owner's mind on the day before the most powerful electrical storm in recent memory hit the small city in Texas. Lighting slashed across the sky like dueling fencers and while there were a couple of small tornados that caused some minor damage, the talk in the days to come was the almost nuclear kind of energy and destruction that the lightning brought to the town. Cell phones, landlines, cable, television satellite dishes, power stations and anything related to technology and communication were affected. Across the city, any broadcast device or computer that had not been unplugged from the wall before the lightning hit seemed to be fried. The owner's home computer was Texas toast and after the storm ended at three thirty in the morning, the owner of a popular learning center got in the car and drove quickly to the business to see if anything had been damaged. Upon arrival, there appeared to be no damage to the three hundred and fifty thousand dollar investment. But on opening the door, the smell of ozone filled his nostrils and it was quickly evident that an electrical meltdown had occurred.

Just days before the storm had hit, a pop up ad had hit the owner's screen, inviting the viewer to find out more about secure Internet data backup. With a swift click of the mouse, the man had blown up the ad, dismissing it he hoped, forever. In the owner's computers were proprietary software given to the franchisees of each center. This software was the heart and soul of keeping track of the progress of each student, as well as all appointments with parents, academic and personal information of each student and most importantly, the financial records of over one hundred students that brought in over a million dollars of revenue each year. The owner had really never dreamed that the business would do so well so soon, but it had enabled the man to begin saving a lot of money for his children's college educations. He began to panic in the early morning darkness of that fateful night, because while the software could easily be obtained again from the corporate headquarters, the information on each student, and especially money owed the center each month was gone forever and so was the opportunity to install a secure Internet data backup plan before it was needed. "Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him also shall the Son of Man be ashamed when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels." (Mark8:38)

With most every business today riding on the presumption that there is really no way to operate without a computer network, LAN, WAN or both, it is surprising that Internet backup services are not more widely used. A most telling statistic is that on average, one in ten computers experience hard drive crashes each year, resulting in the dreaded "fatal error" message. Some computer geniuses are able to retrieve much of the data from such a disaster, but it might be the ten percent of irretrievable data that brings about grief. There are virus attacks that can creep like slithering snakes into programs and files, corrupting them and rendering them useless, or even worse, vulnerable to a hacker's whim. Theft of a sale person's laptop in an airport terminal or perhaps stealing information sent over a wireless network can bring about untold damage to a businesses' reputation and the inability to reproduce the data on that stolen laptop or snatched from a wireless router may bring financial ruin to any business. And of course, the natural disaster, where a tornado or flood or hurricane or fire can completely destroy the computer physically, rendering even a retrieval genius impotent to bring back important data.

Secure Internet data backup services take the responsibility of keeping clients' information very safe. Just as some scientists who are eager to save the seeds from the earth's most important food crops from disease and blight have stored thousands of backup seeds in a secret far northern Arctic cave, many Internet back up services have very secure physical locations, usually underground and away from possible flood damage and often in undisclosed locations. The cost of using Internet backup services is rather minimal for a business. Some of these services only charge ninety dollars for unlimited storage for two years. Others charge four dollars a month and fifty cents for every gigabyte of information secured. Downloading one of these secure Internet data backup services is relatively painless and is oftentimes almost invisible to the user. Some of the services do not allow for file sharing while others provide both storage backup and file sharing.

In addition, Internet back up services varies in how each one actually saves a company's or individuals files. Some companies save the information in a differential manner. This means that the information is saved just as it is written or composed on the monitor screen. Other services save the information incrementally. This means that the information is saved as changes are made to the documents or files. There used to be an old television ad touting car oil filters and its slogan was something like, pay now for a new filter or pay later when the engine seizes up. Perhaps the people that thought up that commercial came up with the idea of Internet backup services.

Offsite Secure Data Backup

Information is valuable that finding a secure remote backup service is a wise investment for any company to insure its future livelihood. With numerous employees, several locations and unimaginable amount of files and documents, a business could potentially lose everything. Gone are the day of rooms full of paper files. These types of information storage are obsolete and simply do not have the capabilities to store the amount and variety of the work currently representative of the modern business. Keeping the original all files and database is called archiving. The difference between backing up a system and archiving is that backups are copies or secondary forms of the document being addressed. There are many options for salvaging a copy of electronic files in the case of a disaster such as the damage often brought about by floods, tornados or fires. Even if nothing cataclysmic transpires, employees inevitably erase, delete or alter documents or databases unintentionally or even maliciously. Obtaining an offsite secure data backup will help a business guard against both the negligent computer user and a natural disaster. Storing information has always been important. "And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart." (Deuteronomy 6:6)

As in most of modern technology, a secure remote backup service starts with a software package. This software will be downloaded onto all the network computers, including all branches and satellite locations. An information technology specialist will have to decide what type of back-up process is best for the company and the budget. Structured storage is definitely worth the time and money to find. Without structure, utilizing what is stored could take months of "digging" through electronic files that are saved with no rhyme or reason. Full plus incremental storage software initially saves every file in the system, and then incrementally saves everything again. Full plus differential is about the same as full plus incremental storage but incrementally saves only those files that have been changed since the last full save. There is also a form of offsite secure data backup called continuous back up. With this sort of storage software, the information technology professional no longer has to set routine backups, but can rest in the fact that the system performs differential backups continually, even to the millisecond, as the workers continue their jobs. As might have been expected, this type of secure remote backup system is the most costly and can make the bandwidth move slower. What happens is that the data can be backed up far faster than the internet connection can transfer the data, so there is a lag that can frustrate the employee who works on the internet often and depends on the speed of the connection to make quotas or meet deadlines.

Years ago, each office would save copies of all the network files each week. Copies of files would be saved on magnetic tapes or hard disks. Granted, these tapes and disks were effective ways to save large amounts of information; however it was bulky and rerecorded quite a bit of information. Floppy disks were often used, but really cannot hold much information and take up a lot of space. If the company still wants an onsite storage device, DVDs and CDs hold much more information, can be organized and structured and takes up noticeably less space. However, offsite secure data backup guards against natural disasters that could wipe out the whole company, storage CDs and all. Not to mention that is prevents a disgruntled employee from barging into the computer professional's office and stealing storage CDs. Secure remote backup service can use CDs and DVDs that are simply stored at another location, or more commonly it involves file storage via an internet connection. If using a broadband connection, files are stored almost as soon as they are created. Offsite secure data backup is the most accessible type of storage. The computer user does not need to travel to the storage room or office. From the comfort of his desk or home, the employee can retrieve and use the files saved online. There are many internet service providers offering this type of software interface to their customers. Though the information is fast and easy to access, industries that depend greatly on secrecy hesitate to send their private files over the internet to a third party for storage. In these cases, secure remote backup service would not be ideal of the success of the company.

Regardless of the type of storage software a company chooses, there are a few capabilities the information technology professional will want to look for when shopping for back-up programs. Open file backup allows the storage software to back up files that are open, such as email programs. Sometimes this capability comes with the standard package, but usually this ability is an add-on that should be purchased. With so many users creating documents and databases on myriad platforms, it is necessary to find an offsite secure data backup system that saves across platforms. Data compression allows the storage software to compress the information to take up less memory space. Data encryption encrypts or disguises the information until it is received at its destination. This does not completely alleviate the possibility of information theft, but definitely works to minimize it. Many secure remote backup service providers will allow the user to choose when the updates are. This capability will allow the IT professional to choose times when less bandwidth is being used, like early mornings or Fridays. Another consideration before purchasing a software package is retrieval. If the industry has highly stylized hardware, the company may want to choose a home office to house hardware in the case of a natural disaster destroying the entire office. In this scenario, the hardware necessary to retrieve the stored data is safely offsite as well.

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