Backup software is straightforward by design. Even sophisticated business-grade products like ShadowProtect emphasize simplicity by providing an easy way to backup and restore your data. Still, these apps come loaded with an arsenal of functions, suggesting that they do a lot more than make copies of hard disks and files. So what backup features do you need beyond the basics? Here are four good ones to keep your eyes peeled for:
Statistic Brain is a data-driven website that publishes stats on categories ranging from technology to marketing. According to these guys, the average cost of hard drive storage in 2014 worked out to roughly $0.03 per gigabyte. While it’s nowhere near the hair-raising $437,500 per gig recorded in 1980, hard drive space is a significant expense and one you have to account for.
Using file compression makes sense because it reduces the size of your backups. As a result, you consume less space on your drives and ultimately save money on storage costs.
Virtualization has revolutionized the modern IT infrastructure, injecting a much-needed dose of flexibility in the data center. Considering that virtual environments are dedicated to testing apps, running legacy programs, and everything in between, it’s safe to say that they have earned their spot in the backup rotation.
In many cases, virtualization-aware software will not only replicate your virtual machines, but make it easier to steer those designated as recovery points. Remember that the backup tool should specifically support whatever hypervisor or virtual machine manager you’re running.
With organizations keeping such a close watch over resource consumption, simply backing up data isn’t enough for today’s IT administrators. Many are challenged to backup with the utmost efficiency. The ability to track changes made to data is a luxury in this regard. Often called “changed block tracking”, this feature records the modified blocks of data in each file, essentially eliminating the need to scan each and every block. The result is a slimmer, faster incremental backup process. Of course, full backups will be required every now and then, but sound change management will greatly improve overall performance.
A good backup plan should be a part of every data security strategy. However, not every piece of backup software is built with security in mind. The exact feature set will always depend on the program in question, but it’s good to at least have encryption in your back pocket. Encryption has plenty to offer in this environment, and it’s all focused on minimizing the threat of data theft. Some backup software uses the same cryptography technology the military and banking industry use to lock down confidential information.
A decent backup tool does just enough. Armed with the right assortment of extra features, you can enjoy the peace of mind needed to truly rest easy at night.
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