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What You Should Know About Backup Software

Backup software protects in the event of a hardware malfunction, hacker penetration, and many other threats posed to digitally stored information. Companies hoping for an additional level of data loss prevention and general data protection should consider using backup software, as these tools can help to prevent a by storing files in a secure cloud environment or on local hardware.

There are a wide range of backup programs that support data protection sources, from corporate servers to personal computers. Sometimes an external hard drive will suffice for additional file storage and backup, but more and more people are choosing cloud backups. For the most part, they all serve the same general purpose, but the cost and scope can vary greatly.

If you’re concerned with data protection and file loss, backup programs are easily implementable and cater to your specific needs. Buying considerations should include your business’ specific backup needs, storage locations, security requirements, scalability, and pricing.

Key Benefits of Backup Software

  • Have access to complete copies of your company’s database
  • Protect valuable data in the event of a network breach or physical disaster
  • Quickly backup and restore information when issues do arise
  • Increase confidence in your company’s fortitude despite more advanced malicious threats

Why Use Backup Software?

Backup software protects sensitive business data in the event of a hardware malfunction, hacker penetration, and many other threats posed to digitally stored information. Cloud databases are the most common places to back up information, but on-premise servers and hard drives can be used as well. Companies hoping for an additional level of data loss prevention should consider using backup software to ensure their sensitive information is safe and secured in the event of a disaster.

Additionally, backup software provides the ability to retrieve and replicate data once the original storage location has been deleted. Some products may alert users when files have been lost or corrupted. Others may simply update the data itself once information is lost. Even if information isn’t lost, but data needs to be transferred to a new network or device, users can trigger a backup recovery and provide all information to brand-new devices.

Cloud Storage – Cloud storage can allow your company to backup theoretically limitless amounts of information. If a corporate entity is storing enormous amounts of data in one location without a duplicate in another, they are making a dangerous gamble. If something goes wrong and any amount of data is accidentally deleted, there is no way to retrieve it.

An employee could unknowingly delete massive amounts of business-critical data or application source code. Without a backup solution, those files are permanently lost. Cloud-based backup solutions make it much easier for companies to duplicate data without investing in expensive servers or other storage hardware. Cloud-based products may be open source or free backup tools as well as pay-as-you-use solutions.

Security – Security is a large component of backup software as well. While people obviously don’t want data to be lost, they also want it to be safe. These tools can let users store information in a secure environment without leaving them on potentially vulnerable devices. Users can still access and retrieve the data, but may not hope to keep in in their network or on their device.

Encrypted backups also add a level of security to your business. While the data is stored remotely, it can be digitally encrypted and become exponentially more difficult for unauthorized parties to retrieve. Many solutions also provide encryption features for data in transit. Those features mask the data as it migrates from its original source into a cloud-based backup server.

Disaster Recovery Disaster recovery software, data recovery software and backup as a service offerings reduce the threat of potentially business-ending data loss catastrophes. Enterprise backup programs allow enormous amounts of data to be stored remotely for a backup and restore at the administrator’s whim. If hardware fails, files are deleted, or data is corrupted, virtually no significant loss occurs.

Many tools even come with specific features for ransomware protection. External threats such as a ransomware attack can also be solved through backup solutions with ransomware protection features. In the event your network is held hostage by a nefarious party threatening to delete all of your data, you have nothing to worry about. Businesses can let the hacker corrupt their files while they sit assured their data remains secure with ransomware protection in a backup environment.

Kinds of Backup Software

Backup software is essential to maintaining the safety of all your data; therefore, you should assess all business needs prior to selecting the best product for your company. It is important to understand the types of data that you are backing up, which can range from social media content to files and programs or entire server operating systems. What you are backing up will greatly impact the solution you choose.

Cloud Backup Software Cloud backup programs are increasingly common. These tools backup files on a hosted public or private server. Because of the automatic and continuous backups on the cloud, this type of backup solution can be a more effortless option when you are consistently increasing the amount of data you are preserving. Cloud services are also convenient in the event of a physical disaster that destroys data due to a more seamless data recovery and restoration process.

Backup as a Service – Backup as a service solutions are provided in the form of a managed cloud backup service. These tools take a lot of work out of the users’ hands. Many managed backup services provide a dashboard to let users choose when they want to perform backups, restore files, and log activities. Backup as a service pricing may vary, but will traditionally scale as your storage increases. Other additional costs may come for increased features such as automated backups, disk imaging, encryption or file versioning.

Computer Backup Software If you are looking to protect a single PC or a few endpoints, you will most likely opt for a vastly different product than if you are backing up big data servers that contain company-wide financial information. PC backup software and Mac backup software may be provided by the same vendor. Still, many solutions for personal computer backup are dedicated to a specific type of operating system. These tools store local data from your desktop or laptop device on a cloud server. They can be used to free up space or save personal files in the case your computer no longer functions.

File backup software File-level backup programs allow users to deploy files and folders into the cloud or an on-premise machine. These allow users to facilitate backups at the most granular level. Many consumer-level backup programs operate on the file level due to their low-volume storage needs. They are ideal for individual users or small businesses hoping to perform a selective backup.

Disk Image Backup Software Disk image backup is a more complete solution than file-level backup programs. Disk imaging stores the entirety of data from a hard drive. Most business and enterprise-grade backup software will support disk image backups. They’re often used to store data from large computer networks and bare-metal machines. They can quickly store large amounts of data in a centralized location for both disaster prevention and general data warehousing. They do not provide the same file-level restore capabilities as other tools, but they do offer large storage capacity and the bandwidth to process large amounts of data.

Hard Drive Backup Software Hard drive backup software is fairly synonymous with disk imaging, but a more specific version. An individual computer has an individual hard drive; these tools allow users to back up all data stored on that hard drive. Hard drive backup tools are often used as an alternative to external hard drives. External hard drive backup is very secure as long as you have the physical device. But it is possible for an external hard drive to become corrupted or simply fail to perform. In that case, a hard drive-level cloud backup would resolve the issue.

Automatic Backup Software Automated and scheduled backups are typically a feature in business-grade backup solutions, and standalone tools for automated backups still do exist. These tools will simplify your backup workflow and eliminate the need to repeatedly back systems up. Many can be set to continuously backup data and completely eliminate any manual work. These can be effective solutions for businesses since the administrators do not have to enforce user-level backups or repeatedly remind users to back their data up.

Data Backup Software Data backup software is a generalized term to describe data-specific backups rather than personal file backups. These tools duplicate data and store it in the event a device is infected with malware or lost from the original source. Enterprise data backup is able to simplify and secure the process. Many utilize , databases, and other data management systems to ensure data is stored securely and can be restored in the event of loss. Some also offer encryption features to transform data into cipher text and prevent hackers from using it.

Server Backup Software Not to be confused with a backup server, a device that facilitates cloud backups, server backup programs store all the application files and critical data on a server. Many of these solutions are offered in the form of a program, but can be handled by local system administrators as well. In the case of a crash or complete server disaster, these tools can restore large amounts of data and revert systems to their functioning state.

Mobile Backup Software Some backup solutions are geared specifically toward data stored on mobile devices. Some products may support iPhone backup, while others support Android backup. These can be both enterprise and consumer-grade applications. Something like a may be able to store all the information from hundreds of mobile devices. Other programs are targeted toward individuals. These personal mobile backup apps for your iPhone or Android device will store files, photos, contacts and other personal data in case someone loses or breaks their phone. The new phone could be synced with a mobile backup tool to let the new device access all the users stored data.

Backup Software Features

There are a wide range of features traditionally offered by backup solutions. Some are geared toward large enterprise file storage, while others assist personal users in securing their own sensitive data.

Some backup solutions offer a more robust suite of features that provides further functionality, including replication, recovery and restoration, and virtualization. These suites are usually more appropriate for enterprise-sized companies, but can be helpful for small and mid-market businesses. They can provide an overall data backup management platform and, at times, can be more cost-efficient than purchasing individual solutions from different vendors. Depending on your needs, a suite may be a better option than a scoped, standalone product.

Some tools outside the backup category also provide backup features to prevent data loss. A solution may back up . Social media management may backup audience and sentiment data. It is not uncommon for any tool that stores sensitive information to provide secure backup features.

While these products have data backup as a feature, it is not their sole purpose. Backup software, on the other hand, facilitates backups while offering other backup-specific features. These are a handful of common features to look for when considering the adoption of backup programs.

Remote Backup – Provide remote access dashboards designed to manage and store data from familiar applications.

Top products with remote backup features: Code42, Acronis Backup and Recovery, SolarWinds MSP Backup, CloudBerry Backup, and Druva InSync.

Remote backup features allow non-local users to schedule and administer backup processes. Remote backup features are helpful for companies with large, disparate workforces. Instead of implementing a backup solution on each local device, administrators can access individual endpoints from any location.

Software with remote backup will typically not be a consumer grade-product. They are geared more toward IT administrators with remote workforces or a large number of endpoints. While it may seem like a luxury feature, many consider it necessary for maintaining continuity and simplifying administration.

Disaster Recovery Delegate backup settings to facilitate specific backup recovery in the result of a disaster.

Top products with remote backup features: Code42, Acronis Backup and Recovery, Veeam Availability Suite, SolarWinds MSP Backup, and CloudBerry Backup.

Disaster recovery features allow large-scale backups in case a large number of storage environments no longer function, are penetrated and destroyed by hackers, or become infected with malware. They can store anything from server and full-disk data to files and contacts.

These features are typically found on enterprise-grade backup solutions rather than personal backup solutions. Personal backup solutions rarely require the storage capacity and processing power to store terabytes of data continuously.

Scheduled Backups – The ability to automate backups or have backup storage updated continuously.

Top products with scheduled backup features: Code42, Acronis Backup and Recovery, Veeam Availability Suite, SolarWinds MSP Backup, and CloudBerry Backup.

Scheduling backups helps limit the manual work necessary to perform regular backup-related tasks. Users can schedule backups for once every hour, month, or day. Scheduled backups are a common feature in all kinds of backup solutions.

Continuous backup capabilities serve the same benefits as scheduled backups. But instead of periodic updates, each change made to a data source or file is updated and represented in the new form. In the case of retrieval, continuous backups provide nearly no data loss as a result of their frequent updates.

Backup Storage Formats – The ability to store multiple types of file formats or converted files to proper formats.

Top products with multiple backup storage format features: Code42, Acronis Backup and Recovery, SolarWinds MSP Backup, CloudBerry Backup, and Veritas Backup Exec.

A wide range of formats is supported by most backup solutions, but some are geared toward certain types of databases or file types. A relational database backup solution, for example, will only store SQL data and not other information from a source. Another example may be API data storage. The tool may provide real-time data from an API to be stored continuously.

Storage formats can also refer to the structure and state of a backup device storing data. Anything from cloud servers to a flash drive may be supported by the program, but some may only allow backups to be stored on a certain type of device.

Data Deduplication – Deduplication, creating synthetic backup files to reduce file size and eliminate redundant files.

Top products with deduplication features: Code42, Acronis Backup and Recovery, SolarWinds MSP Backup, Veritas Backup Exec, and Druva InSync.

Data deduplication can significantly reduce storage space and storage overhead. In case a dataset contains multiple representations of the same component, the deduplication program will compress the redundant file and point to its original source.

Upon retrieval, the compressed file can return to its original state and function as if it were never compressed. Smaller files means less storage space being used and lower costs if the product is offered on the pay-as-you-use model.

Data Encryption – Provide some level of encryption of data in transit, protecting sensitive data while it lives within the backup application.

Top products with data encryption features: Code42, Acronis Backup and Recovery, SolarWinds MSP Backup, CloudBerry Backup, and Veritas Backup Exec.

Encrypted data is significantly harder for hackers to utilize. But ? It’s the transformation of raw text and data into a form of ciphertext. This ciphertext is of no use without decryption, which can typically only be done by the original administrator.

Encrypted backup solutions add an extra level of security in case someone hacks into the system or steals a user’s login credentials. If they access the encrypted data, they will be able to draw no benefit from its theft.

Additional Backup Features

Image Backup and Disk Imaging – Disk image backup, sometimes referred to as bare-metal backup, provides an exact copy of an entire hard drive, flash drive or other storage device.

Disk imaging can increase the size and scope of a backup solution. Rather than storing data on a file-by-file basis, disk imaging allows an entire hard drive to be stored within the backup environment.

Disk imaging features are typically desired by users with a large number of computers, servers, or other endpoints to back up. The personal user can also benefit from disk imaging, but will not be able to restore individual files at the ease they may desire.

File Versioning – Storing multiple versions of datasets, allowing users to rollback programs to previous versions and document file changes.

Backup versioning can be used as an alternative or complement to backup solutions. They store multiple versions of files as changes or made or as the administrator delegates. If an error corrupts files or they are accidentally deleted, a previous version of the file can be restored.

Versioning can come in handy in instances such as an application deployment. If the application fails or data is inaccurate, a previous version can be deployed and the issues can be investigated without discontinuing availability.

Incremental Backup – A form of backup that only stores changes since the last backup.

Incremental backup features help save storage space. Instead of storing multiple versions of the same file with slight alterations, incremental backup can simply update old files to represent their new changes.

This can be facilitated quickly, but may prevent users from returning to an older version of a file. Depending on the backup program, the user may only be able to store one version of a file at a time.

Compression – The ability to compress backup files to reduce storage space.

Backup file compression can significantly reduce the amount of storage space a file takes up. Data deduplication is a form of compression, but there are a number of ways to store redundant components of a file.

Other methods of compression come in the form of varying algorithms. These algorithms may reduce the number of pixels in an image or the quality of a song. Some compression methods are retrievable at nearly no loss, but others are permanent.

Web-Based Backup – Backup platforms with administrative online backup access controls to deploy backups and restore data through a browser.

Web backup solutions are cloud-based, online backup programs accessed through any kind of web browser. These online backup tools access your cloud storage through an internet browser and are traditionally fairly intuitive.

A key benefit of web backup programs is remote access. If you are travelling or managing backup data from a new device, you wouldn’t have to download any new programs. You could simply log on through any internet browser and work as if you were home.

Trends Related to Backup Software

While backup technology has maintained its purpose since its initial development, a number of emerging technologies are utilizing and benefiting backup technology. The market itself has evolved from traditional tape-to-disk tools which transferred data from antiquated technology like VHS and floppy disks. Today, cloud-based solutions are the norm. Many different products contain backup features and many cloud service providers offer it as a module. Its storage and restore formats may change, but backup remains a tool meant to save you from a data-related worst-case scenario.

Backup Through

Containerized backups are increasingly easy and available with the rise of tools such as and , two popular and tools. But ? They’re basically applications virtualized at the operating system level. They’re easy to move around and connect, and companies can use these easily maneuverable containers as a management solution for backing up data.

It’s also important to back up components of applications. These containerized applications are easy to duplicate and store in a secure environment to ensure functionality is not impacted by some kind of data loss catastrophe. They would need to be stored in an alternative host system to ensure they’re not stored in the same environment. It’s fairly easy to accomplish, but may increase costs.

Backup as a service

have added a bredth of functionality to cloud-based applications. Backup as a service is a newer technology that can be added as a module to existing cloud applications, databases, and websites. Many of the most popular major and providers offer solutions for data backup.

Instead of purchasing an individualized application specifically geared toward backup, this technology can simply be added on to an existing microservices suite. It can save time and money for businesses and is significantly less expensive than developing and hosting a backup solution developed in-house.

Cryptocurrency Wallet Backup

is powered by the trendiest technology today: . These tools are improving security and efficiency across a number of industries through their decentralized and encrypted public ledger system. But because the technology is rapidly gaining popularity, cryptocurrency owners have become a target for hackers.

Individuals storing their cryptocurrency within a platform or web-based are potentially vulnerable. Many cryptocurrency owners opt to store their valuable digital currency on external hard drives. But cloud-based backup solutions are available to store your currency in a secure, encrypted state. They can also be used to sync storage of newly generated money from .

Big Data Backup

Since data is more plentiful and valuable than ever, companies utilizing big data solutions need to make sure their vast sets of information are safe. These tools can be used to develop predictive analytics, optimize business processes, and analyze market conditions. They’re invaluable and rapidly evolving, creating more and more valuable data and actionable insights every day.

The main tools in use today are , , and solutions. If used together, these tools all complement each other. Processing tools normalize and distribute information; analytics tools provide insights; integration tools facilitate its use. Losing data in transfer or corrupting these enormous datasets would be catastrophic if the information is not backed up.

Backup for IoT

The internet of things is already in place and growing rapidly. Millions of endpoints are communicating as we speak, discovering and sharing incredibly valuable information. Like big data solutions, these need to be backed up and they need powerful backup solutions capable of handling the load.

solutions integrated with continuous backup offerings could be the way of the future. Streaming analytics programs offer real-time insights and data from large pools of endpoints. The larger the network, the more valuable the data. Backup is necessary in general for a system like this, but the real-time nature of streaming analytics would require continuous backup for ideal security.

Intelligent Security for Backup

Since you’re probably backing up your most important and sensitive data, you want to make sure it’s as safe as possible. AI and machine learning-based tools are improving security across technology industries. Threat intelligence networks and tools can significantly increase your data security system.

stay up to date with real-time information from threat intelligence feeds. Your security systems will have the most recently discovered malware signatures and other threat information automatically synced to the system. tools use machine learning to understand user behavior. Tons of factors, from device identifiers to historical behavior, help the system accurately alert administrators of unusual activity.

Potential Issues with Backup Software

Pricing – If you choose a cloud-based backup solution that offers pricing on the SaaS, pay-as-you-use model, you should consider potential growth. Some solutions are inexpensive off the start and offer affordable low-tier pricing. But some may rapidly increase pricing and fees as your company and storage needs scale. Some vendors offer permanently free backup products for individuals or small teams.

It’s important to consider your potential change in usage when evaluating pricing solutions. Vendor lock-in can become a large problem; once your data is already backed up within a vendor’s private cloud, it can be costly to migrate out. If you simply choose to cut ties with the vendor, it can also be expensive and time-consuming to adopt a new solution. For smaller teams there are many free backup solutions available. Free backup solutions will provide fewer features and storage, but may still be sufficient.

Scaling – As the amount of data you are protecting scales, so will your protection needs. It is crucial to find a solution that can grow with your business. If your backup solution is being hosted on-premise, your existing infrastructure should be a large consideration. Investing in new servers or other infrastructure can be expensive to purchase and maintain. Free backup solutions are wonderful to start, but may not offer practical scaling features.

Cloud products can be advantageous for scaling due to the unlimited space available and because there is no need to directly implement more software into your system. Products with deduplication features are conducive to scaling businesses since they keep the quality of your data high and maximize storage capacity.

Security – Security threats are becoming increasingly complex and aggressive; therefore, your backup solution should be able to adapt and defend against new types of attacks. While cloud options are the popular trend, they can be more vulnerable to threats than on-premise software. In addition, when backing up personal or login and password information you should take extra precaution to protect yourself from attacks.

While total data security may require other forms of software, the backup solution you choose should not have gaps that allow easy access to outside threats and practices in place in the event that your data does get compromised. Security-related features to consider include encryption, identity management, and authentication mechanisms.

Implementation – can be a long and drawn-out process depending on the amount of data you are safeguarding. Setup can often require assistance from experienced in-house IT technicians, vendor support teams, or third-party implementers. It can be valuable to take the time to evaluate how many resources you have available both in-house and through outside options and base your implementation decision off that assessment.

A major factor for the way you can go about implementing backup software also depends on whether you choose a cloud-hosted or on-premise solution. Cloud migration tools can help speed up the transfer of information, but the process may be expensive and will take time.

Software and Services Related to Backup Software

Most security software focuses on the vulnerabilities of networks and devices. Backup software is inherently associated with security because one of the main purposes is securing information. But that is neither its primary or sole use; these tools usually work across types of networks and devices. They may have features of cloud identity and access management products in terms of allowing people access to data, but only access for one specific purpose.

Backup Software vs. Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS)

Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) — DRaaS tools are generally managed versions of backup solutions that are only utilized during situations with complete data loss. They have fewer features that allow individual users to access information as they see fit. These tools are better suited for minor incidents and small amounts of data being lost, but DRaaS solutions fail over into the cloud, keeping applications running normally.

Backup Software vs. Enterprise Information Archiving

(EIM) — EIM solutions offer similar benefits to backup solutions, but are traditionally limited to user and . The archive will store emails, messages, or files in the form of single-instance storage elements. Their limited range of storage types should not imply small scale. These products are capable of storing millions of communications and activity records.

Backup Software vs. Data Security Software

— Data security software is typically more focused on securing locally stored data or data in transfer. This is essentially the opposite of backup software, which stores it remotely, although they both do secure information. Encryption is also a significant feature of data security solutions, preventing hackers direct access to readable data. Some data security products include cloud backups as a feature, but it is not their main functionality.

Backup Software vs. Cloud Security Software

— Cloud security is a necessary component of a properly implemented cloud backup solution. While cloud-based backup software would provide a number of cloud security features, general cloud security products cover much more ground. These tools provide a range of features such as cloud access brokers and cloud-based application firewalls. Cloud access brokers provide centralized single sign on portals for secure access to applications. Cloud application firewalls simply create additional barriers for hackers attempting to penetrate a cloud-based application.

Backup Software vs. Cloud Migration Software

— Cloud migration solutions help relocate files to cloud-based storage systems. Many come with features to encrypt and secure data in transfer, but few provide backup-specific features. If you are transferring large amounts of data into a cloud-based backup solution, a cloud migration can help get the job done. These tools provide enterprise-level data relocation features capable of transferring large datasets into cloud-based backup applications.

Backup Software vs. Encryption Software

— Encryption is a key component to securing data stored within a backup solution. Encrypted data is much harder for hackers to utilize since it is deployed in the form of ciphertext, which would require complex algorithms to decrypt. Many backup solutions provide the capabilities to encrypt your data, but general encryption tools secure a wide range of file types. Some are secure messaging programs to encrypt communications, while others encrypt local files in case a user loses a device. Encryption is an important feature to consider within a backup solution, but few general encryption solutions provide backup features.

Backup Software vs. Storage Management Software

— Storage management is a general term that includes a number of cloud-based storage solutions. Many of these solutions can be used for personal, file-level backup. Common cloud applications often come with for personal storage. These tools are not capable of performing enterprise-grade solutions and typically don’t offer features like continuous backup or data deduplication. Many other products in this category are intended to help allocate resources and manage the location of stored data.

Backup Software vs. On-Premise Data Integration Software

— On-premise data integration tools allow users to transfer data from one local point to a cloud or local server. These technologies can be used to facilitate many integration processes, but also myriad other purposes. There are a few different on-premise backup choices, including basic on-site backup or maintaining an additional data warehouse off-site. These options can involve disk-to-disk or disk-to-tape storage practices. These options are useful and comforting because of the physical containment of the information, but can be problematic if the hard copies are somehow jeopardized.