The breakthrough backup system

We have all heard enough horror stories to know how important effective back-up is. Now there is a better solution for SMEs. DAVID MARKUS

David Markus Combo

By David Markus

In small to medium business, backup and disaster recovery are complex problems that typically have been expensive to address. Large corporate firms can afford fail-safe solutions and mirror sites that significantly reduce risk. Until recently, the best solution for SMEs has been tape backup.

There is always a risk that a server will crash and cause a lot of pain to a business through lost data and downtime waiting on repairs. Many wise businesses follow a strategy of keeping server hardware current to avoid a lengthy wait for replacement parts. If you have multiple servers in your network today and no plans to replace them, there may be a quick and sound alternative.

I have been watching the evolution of disaster recovery solutions for the SME marketplace for over six years. I installed my first remote backup solutions in 2002. Since then nothing much has changed and it has been a reasonable but expensive solution. Now in late 2008 I have discovered a breakthrough backup system, one that changes the game and makes this a compelling and affordable solution for most SMEs.

The secret lies in neat integration of the latest backup and disaster recovery technologies. Solutions exist today – examples include products from BizProtect, Cebridge and Iron Mountain – that can protect multiple servers and provide a one hour recovery window using a fully automated and monitored backup process.

This technology scales from one to 10 servers protected by a single solution with snapshots of your data being taken several times each hour. The changes to your data are collected and stored centrally and at a moment’s notice can be consolidated and launched as a virtual server. This virtual server can be run for as long as required, allowing the business to function while the failed equipment is repaired or replaced.

Data is also encrypted and stored off site via the internet, providing a full disaster recovery path in the unfortunate case of an office fire, flood or similar catastrophe.

One of the amazing features of this technology is that it can all be managed remotely and your virtual server can be online within about one hour of a server failure. So now the smallest of organisations can have corporate-style server fail-safe plans.

We are seeing this solution remove the risk of server failure for many clients who were facing very expensive server replacement projects just to manage risk.

At a time when liquidity is short and reputation is important, this is likely to be a key technology for finance companies, funds managers, accountants and law firms in 2009. It is equally valuable to any organisation that values continued access to data even in the event of server crashes or failure.


David Markus is the founder of Melbourne’s IT services company Combo. His focus is on big picture thinking to create value in IT systems for the SME sector.

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