Data Backup

Technology Solutions & Support.

Remember that security is only one half of complete protection. Itís vital that you also implement a proper backup strategy for your home or business. Security is great for keeping hackers away from your data, but if your data is corrupted or lost, how can you recover it? You can only recover it if itís backed up.

Back up Strategies The exact method you use for backing up your computer and its data have varied over the years as the backup software and backup media have evolved. The reason for backing up has never changed and that is to preserve the information and system infrastructure of your business or home system so that you can recover from both minor and major data loss.
Part 1 Ė Backing up your Home System

For most home users, the data that you are trying to preserve are the digital memories in photographs, videos, and personal accounting data. You might have a lot of communication with family and friends in the form of saved emails, scanned documents you are keeping for archival purposes and maybe a library of movies and music. For some of us that can be an extreme amount of information that can far exceed what a normal business might have. For example, I have well over 150,000 digital photos and videos that I have taken over the past ten years. That amount of information is equal to about 750 gb’s of storage. Most of the businesses that we deal with find that 500 gb storage system is overkill for them.

So what do you do as a home user to back up your precious photos and other information? You will want to have at least one copy of your data in a different location than your main data/computer location. But the industry rule of thumb is to have three copies of your data on three different media types. So if I were looking to backup up my system at home as described above, I would want to copy my data to multiple DVD disks as one backup, to a removable hard drive for the other copy that I could store off site, and/or use one of the many online storage services to store the information to the cloud using one of the many backup services that are available. If I did all three, that would give me my original copy on the computer, a backup on DVD, a backup on a removable hard drive and storage on the internet that could give me access to that data from any device that had internet connectivity. That would actually be four copies of my data and would be well past the optimum method of backup. I would feel real safe.

We recommend Carbonite to most of our customers for their home systems for their cloud backup service. Carbonite has several home plans that you can choose from so you will need to decide:
1) How much data do you need to back up?
2) Where the data is located?
3) How much do you want to spend?

Personal Basic Plan: $59.00 per year - If you have a normal computer setup at home where you have a single hard drive in your computer and no other hard drive source that you use to store your original copies of data, then the Basic Plan might be for you. You will get unlimited storage to the cloud, of all your chosen data files. What you donít get is automatic backup of any file that is over 4GBís in size or any video files. If you wish to backup these files, you can manually add them to your list of files to be backed up.
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Personal Plus Plan: $99.99 per year - Have you added a USB Drive to your computer to extend your active data storage? This would be a good reason to move to this plan. This plan also adds the ability to create a mirror of your primary drive to an external USB drive. This can provide an extra level of safety for your data and programs. It would make it much easier to restore your system in case of a catastrophic drive loss.
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Personal Prime Plan: $149.99 per year - This plan gives you everything that is in the Personal Plus Plan and adds an automatic backup of your video files and the option to have a copy of your backup shipped to you anywhere in the United States if you need it.
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Pro Basic Plan: $269.99 per year - If you are in a home that has a lot of computers that you would like to back up but not a lot of data (250gbs or less) then you might want to move into the Pro Basic Plan. Where is the breakeven point? If you have more than five devices (computers, external drives and NAS devices) than you might consider this plan. The personal plans do not backup NAS devices that might be on your network. The Personal Plus/Prime Plans will allow you to backup directly attached (USB) drives to the machine that is running Carbonite.
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Part 2 – Backing up your Office System/Network
We need to talk several different scenarios to be able to encompass our thinking about data backup in different kinds of office environments. The two different types of network designs are a peer-to-peer environment vs. domain server network.

P2P – No Central Storage - The most basic design of a P2P network is where there is no central data storage. Each individual's data is stored on each individual's workstation. In this environment, you share files by emailing them to the person that you want to share the file with. The biggest problem in this network design is that there could be multiple copies of the same file floating around in different revision states. You can see the obvious confusion that could occur because of this, and that is one of the prime reasons for switching to a central storage network design for all the office files.

In a network design with a designated central shared storage location, the location of that storage area can be either on a workstation being used by user, a dedicated PC that acts as a pseudo server, or a Network Attached Storage (NAS) device that houses all the shared files.

In a situation where the user is responsible for backing up the data on their workstation, it is paramount that you put in place an automated backup system. If you don't, systematic backups will not get done. Generally, people are forgetful and life just gets in the way of things. So you want to take the responsibility of the individual remembering to do the backup out of their hands to make sure it gets completed. Using a product like Carbonite Pro Basic ($269.99) gives you the ability to back up and unlimited number of workstations but this service has a cap on the total amount of storage capacity. You will need to consider this cap when sizing up you total data storage requirements. The initial package starts with 250 gb’s and each 100 gb extra costs $99.99.

The Carbonite Pro Basic Plan also works well when you have multiple branch offices or people working out of home offices. With Carbonite Pro Basic, for one price, you are able to back up all of your office’s workstations. If your total number of workstations is less than six, then it would be more cost effective to purchase multiple licenses of the Personal Basic Package for backup. However, if you need HIPAA compliancy, you will need to stick with the Pro Group of Services.


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Part 3 - Domain Based Servers
This next group of servers gives your office network more security, controlled access to programs and data, faster access to large databases and centralized storage of data. In general networks based on this infrastructure allow for better control of security and access, less issues with malware, viruses, Trojans and general system attacks when combined with a good firewall device and anti-malware software. We look at several things when designing a backup solution for this kind of network. You might need to take a hybrid approach where you need to use multiple services to have a comprehensive plan or you may want to make it as simple and cost effective as possible. Again, many factors weigh in to making the right decision on the type of backup system you will want to implement. This is why we offer a number of basic packages for you to choose from.

The RDX QuikStor media-based removable storage system offers rugged, reliable and convenient storage for backup, archive, data interchange and disaster recovery. It provides enterprise performance and fast access, with transfer rates of up to 650GB/hr and capacities from 500GB up to 2TB per cartridge. This product is a perfect fit for small offices with a single server that are cost restrictive. There is no cost in maintaining this strategy after the initial purchase unless you purchase additional data storage cartridges.

The system comes with AccuGuard Software that is a powerful data protection software that delivers reliable, automated backup and recovery utilizing a data deduplication engine designed to increase effective storage capacity. AccuGuard increases effective data storage by providing 20:1 deduplication, intelligently optimizing the data at the source which results in drastically improved backup windows and network bandwidth. Data retrieval is simple and painless with AccuGuard's flexible file searching, drag-and-drop recovery and point-in-time restore.

This system requires manual replacement of cartridges. We suggest that you use multiple cartridges in rotation that you take offsite for the best data protection. The main downfall of this type of system is that you need to remember to manually do the rotation of the cartridges and sending and retrieving the cartridges from their offsite location.

How do you determine the number of cartridges that you need? The answer to that is how much risk you do want to stand? We suggest a minimum of a three cartridge solution but either a seven or nine is much better. In a three catridge scenario, depending how often you change the cartridges, you can go back up to 3 days if you are changing the cartridges and backing up every day.

In the seven and eight drive rotation shown in the tables below, you have up to five day to day images that you can restore from and up to 3 weeks for periodic images to restore from.

In the nine drive scenario shown in the table below, you have the same day to day backup images to restore from but you also have four week end images and one eight week image to restore from. We have also had clients that purchase two extra drives for month end backups that they run before their accounting system end of month is closed as well as another set of two cartridges for after the closing is completed to provide a starting point for the new month.

Again, the design is based on what your situation requires and what best suits your needs. The benefits of this cartridge based system is that it is very cost effective and is an image backup of the system. You can do a full metal restore of your server as well as restoring individual files. The CONS of this system include: single backup source, does not support incremental backup or multi-location backups, remote monitoring and server virtualization.


This is our most comprehensive backup solution. It provides both local and offsite backup continuous images of your server. The backup software that is part of the service package includes data integrity checks, 256-bit encryption, granular backup scheduling and data retention, and automated screenshot verifications of backups. The images are natively stored in virtual format which makes them instantly bootable with no conversion process necessary. If necessary the images can be exported to VMWare or Hyper-V.

We offer true business continuity: a holistic bundle featuring backup and recovery software and our award-winning remote monitoring and management platform - all supported by a 24x7x365 Network Operations Center.

This package is priced at $166.66/month (when billed to a Priority Discounted Service Contract) and includes our local vault storage server, backup software, offsite backup, monitoring service, reporting service, and all maintenance included in the price. Each additional server added to the service costs $100.00/month more. It is simple, straight forward, provides both local and cloud backup, and is hands free! You donít have to do a thing. The Gemini 3 Backup Solution does it all for you.

If your server has a failure, within minutes we can spin up the backup server to provide you with a temporary server until your primary server is restored to operation. If you have a catastrophic disaster at your site and the server and the backup server are not available than the online backup image can be spun up and mounted so that it can become your server virtually from the Internet. Once your server is back online, it can be restored with all the new changes from the virtual server. This is our most comprehensive disaster recovery and backup system that we have.

Limitations: The biggest limitation of this system for offsite backup is the amount of data that you need to push offsite and the bandwidth limitation of your Internet connection. These two things may make this product unusable for offsite backup. It could still be used as a local backup solution device but you will lose that offsite capability from the system.

While the Gemini 3 Backup Solution can be used with virtualized servers you may want to consider another option.
If your server environment becomes very complex, with many servers and large amounts of storage, we need to come up with a better solution design for you. While it is optimum to back up your servers to an offsite location that is not always possible because of the amount of data that you are pushing to the offsite location. So we need a solution that can be kept onsite and provide a safe destination for your backup data.

If you are in a virtualized environment Veeam Backup & Replication software provides fast, flexible and reliable recovery of virtualized applications and data. It unifies backup and replication in a single solution, increases the value of backup and reinvents data protection for VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V virtual environments.

The ioSafe 214 is a Fire and Waterproof NAS/RAID Storage Solution. We install this unit on your network and point the Veeam software to it to store your files. The ioSafe 214 is Fireproof, Waterproof, has Redundant Hard Drives, Theft proof and includes a Data

Recovery Service for five years. The ioSafe 214 protects against data loss in fire up to 1550ļF, 1/2 hour Per ASTM E119. Protects data from flood, full submersion, 10í depth, and 72 hours, fresh or salt water. Built in Kensington security slot. Optional floor mount / padlock kit. You can hide it anywhere in the building on the local network. And finally provides a data recovery service with up to $5000 per TB of forensic data recovery.

We typically deploy these units in as a 4TB dual drive unit with the five year forensic warranty. It is a great product that provides a wonderful solution to the situation of not being able to store your data offsite.
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