Backing up mission-critical files is an important maintenance task for any IT team. The sting of a failed hard drive or malware infection isn't as nearly as severe when your data can be quickly recovered. Backup software aims to make that possibility a reality by automating the process of backing up and restoring your data. But those are only the basics. In this post we'll outline five essential features you must have in your backup software.
Streamlined Management Console
What good is state of the technology if the controls are beyond your level of expertise? The ideal backup software will simplify day-to-day maintenance by allowing you to perform all important tasks from a user-friendly control panel. From managing backup jobs to viewing reports of completed jobs and licensing details of existing installations, everything you need is easily accessible in a single location. This level of centralized management is a perfect example of how software developers are combining simplicity and advanced functionality in one powerful package.
For the most part, performing a backup is as simple as selecting your data, choosing an output destination, and clicking (or tapping) a button to create the job. Sounds easy enough, but it's a case of easier said than done for the admin with a mouthful of chores on their plate. This is where scheduled backups come in handy. Instead of relying on memory and human intervention, admins can schedule their backups to run automatically at the intervals of their choosing. It's a simple luxury that helps save precious time and ensure no stone is unturned.
Third-party App Support
File and system data isn't the only information that requires protection. If your firm uses special tools to manage email communications and databases, support for those specific applications is equally important. Backup software vendors have capitalized on this aspect by adding support for popular business applications in their products. Whether it's Microsoft Exchange or SQL Server, integration with third-party software should allow for easy configuration, backup, and recovery of the data managed by that particular system.
The data tucked away in your backups is as valuable as the data resting on your servers. Any good backup software will keep this in mind by going the extra mile to protect your backups. A common mix includes the ability to encrypt backup copies, enforce password-based file protection, and restrict system access to administrators. Data is vulnerable to a wide range of threats, so it makes sense to focus on a backup tool that offers a suite of security features rather than a single function.
We're constantly driving home the importance of testing your plans – especially when disaster recovery is involved. The worst time to learn that your backup copies are corrupted is when you're trying to restore them in a crisis situation. For an added peace of mind, look for a tool that can automatically verify your backup jobs. This process is usually enabled by a checksum, which verifies integrity by checking file data for corruption before and after the backup job. While it shouldn't be viewed as a substitute for testing, verification is a good first step on the road to recovery.
Spend a little cyber window shopping, and you'll see that today's backup software market is definitely not short on features. Some qualify for the bells and whistles category. Others are crucial to the overall quality of the product. Before deciding on one product or another, make sure you understand which features are most important to your backup strategy.
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