How Continuous Image-Based Backups Make Disaster Recovery Fast, Easy, and Reliable in Smaller Environments


Smaller businesses are bearing the brunt of ransomware attacks. That’s the headline in a Forbes article summarizing a recent Senate Judiciary Committee meeting. Citing testimony from Justice Department Criminal Division Deputy Attorney General Richard Downing, cybercriminals don't even need to create ransomware anymore now that licensed ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) has arrived on the (crime) scene. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) secretary was also recently quoted, saying that about one-half to three-quarters of ransomware victims are small businesses. Combine those two revelations, and it's clear that you need to do more to prevent ransomware attacks and prepare for your small business’s recovery. That starts with good backup and recovery practices. And that’s where image-based backups enter the picture.

Image-Based Backup vs. Snapshots: What’s the difference?

While sometimes referred to as “snapshots,” image-based backup technology differs significantly from what we commonly refer to as snapshot technology. Image-based backups are, essentially, a copy of your operating system, files, executable programs, and OS configurations. When people say “snapshots,” in this context, they’re referring to incremental, image-based backups that only capture the changed blocks for an entire data volume.

True "snapshot” technology, on the other hand, captures a “picture” of a server, including its files, software, and settings, at a specific point in time. Snapshots are taken instantaneously, preserving your data without the need to move or copy it. That gives you a stable point in time from which to take your backup, unlike live backups where open files and active applications are changing during the backup.

While snapshot technology doesn’t create true, independent backup copies, image-based backup technology does. Both have tremendous value, depending on your specific needs.

The Case for Image-Based Continuous Data Protection

While snapshot technology can be a valuable element of any backup and disaster recovery strategy, if you’re part of a smaller organization, you may find continuous image-based backups to be your best choice. StorageCraft ShadowProtect offers image-based backups that deliver comprehensive backup protection and reliable recovery. Install ShadowProtect on any Windows or Linux server or desktop—physical or virtual—that you want to protect. The software quickly and efficiently captures your entire system, including your operating system, applications, settings, services, and data.

With ShadowProtect, you can take regularly scheduled backups as often as every 15 minutes and create custom full and incremental backup schedules that meet your requirements. You can easily choose where to store your backup files to any internal, removable, or network storage locations, including the StorageCraft Disaster Recovery Cloud.

ShadowProtect’s image-based backups monitor data at the sector level, tracking only those blocks that have changed in each sector. Application awareness ensures that you get transactionally consistent backups with an image-based snapshot of the database at a point in time. That way, committed transactions in Microsoft Exchange, SQL, and SharePoint are reflected in the database—and uncommitted transactions are not. Add it all up and it means you can count on efficient, reliable, swift backups that will be there when you need them.

Recovery Made Easy

If disaster does strike, ShadowProtect lets you restore failed servers and recover complete systems in minutes and individual files and folders in seconds from your image-based backups. All without having to restore the entire system. You can also use patented VirtualBoot technology to boot a backup image into a virtual machine instantly. With frequent, regularly scheduled backups, you'll never risk losing more than a few minutes of data so you can meet tight recovery point objectives (RPOs). ShadowProtect also lets you run automated, easy-to-execute verification of your backup images, so you can be sure your backups will work when a disaster strikes.

Image-Based Backups Are Just the Beginning

Image-based backups that offer continuous data protection may be the best option for your small business. But every business—large or small—is different and has different needs. Watch this on-demand demo to learn more about your options for recovering quickly, easily, and reliably.

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