Backing data is both a blessing and a curse. It consumes time, money, and energy, so it's no wonder that approximately 30% of IT professionals view data backups as "not an efficient use of their time."
Similar to an insurance policy, you wonder why you continue to pay for it until the day disaster strikes and it saves your precious data. Then you ask yourself what you would have done without it!
The truth is that it does not have to be a curse. Backup solutions exist that neither tax the wallet nor your time. And while cloud-based services have become synonymous with storage, in some cases, it's not only better to manage your own data locally, but it may even be a requirement, such as complying with HIPAA regulations and confidential documents.
Let's take a look at three services that allow for greater control and flexibility when managing a disaster recovery plan for Apple's OS X Server.
1. Time Machine
Apple's Time Machine is the de facto standard for OS X Server. It's included in all modern versions of OS X Server and functions as a service by which all of your networked nodes can continuously backup their data.
An elegant UI allows the service to be configured to meet your current needs, and it can be scaled out over time by adding storage disks or NAS devices as needed. Furthermore, each user backs up to his or her own independent folder, ensuring data security and file versioning for added protection.
One downside to Time Machine is that backups, by default, are limited to the LAN. Since the service relies on the Bonjour protocol, it's not routable, which means off-site backups over the WAN are not possible unless a VPN connection is established first. Depending on the data to back up and the internet connection present, it may be a time-intensive process.
This is one of the original providers in cloud storage and backed by EMC, a pioneer in the storage industry. Mozy has developed into a paid service model that offers backup services to the cloud over the internet and NAS/SAN devices hosted locally* on the LAN.
In addition to this, data is stored using military-grade encryption with various security methods, including use of your own corporate key, which allows data decryption only by the corporation.
Other enterprise benefits include Single Sign-On (SSO), Active Directory integration for federated-identity providers, and customizable installers for deployment using 3rd-party management suites.
Mozy has a variety of tiered plans to meet the demands of the SMB or scale throughout your enterprise. However, it should be noted that this level of protection has a steep yearly cost per desktop in your organization.
CrashPlan, by developer Code42, has an easy-to-use, intuitive layout across all service tiers. Its pricing plans offer an equally straightforward approach that makes selecting the appropriate plan a cinch.
Though CrashPlan is a relatively newer offering in the storage services pool, baked right in is some impressive services, such as full HIPAA, SOX, and a full-assortment of data-retention hold compliances. Unlimited storage for backing up all user data and an industry first — Triple Destination Protection — allows for backing up offsite to networked devices** (servers, NAS, or other nodes) over the WAN, in addition to onsite backup to NAS/SANs and cloud backup to their encrypted servers.
Both Pro and Enterprise versions also include dashboard access for monitoring the backup statuses for all end-points and administrative features that include bandwidth throttling, QoS management, and centralized auditing to ensure that backups are being completed without compromising file integrity.
While CrashPlan offers many identical features across all tiers, some are noticeably missing (such as offsite backup destination to another node/server over WAN) from the Pro tier, while being present in both the Free and Enterprise tiers.
In conclusion, with automated scheduling of backups, multiple file versioning, 1-click restores, directory services integration, and multi-destination backup redundancy, any of these services would make for an excellent foundation to your SMB/enterprise's disaster recovery plan.
The devil, they say, is in the details. All services offer similar baselines, yet what may make it or break it for your particular company comes down to addressing the specific needs of your business. This is especially true when business is governed by regulations in health, tax, security or legal departments.
Protect your data before it's too late. Don't wait until World Backup Day to take the pledge and risk your company's sensitive information in the process. "A waste of data is a waste of time, a waste of time is a waste of money." - Unknown
* 2x Protection allows backing up to both the cloud and local storage. This is only supported on Windows OS.
** Triple Destination Protection allows backing up to the cloud, local storage, and off-site backup to another computer or server. This is only available in Free and Enterprise tiers (not Pro).
Jesus Vigo is a Network Administrator by day and owner of Mac|Jesus, LLC, specializing in Mac and Windows integration and providing solutions to small- and medium-size businesses. He brings 15 years of experience and multiple certifications from several vendors, including Apple and CompTIA.