Regardless of size, every business faces a range of threats that can cause costly data loss and downtime. Ransomware costs are increasing. Malware is still a big problem. And there are the ever-present threats like hardware failure and user error. That’s why many businesses invest in backup and data recovery software. But with dozens of solutions on the market, how do you choose the right one for your business? To help you figure that out, here are some steps that can guide you in making an informed decision.
Evaluating Your Recovery Needs
First, you need to clearly understand your requirements and what you’re trying to accomplish. Basic data protection is a start, but there are a lot more features your business might need. Here are a few factors to consider before you start evaluating solutions.
- Your network
How complex is your network? Are all of your machines physical, or do you use a blend of physical and virtual machines (VMs)? Do you rely on cloud solutions? If so, which ones? And what data could you potentially lose should something go wrong?
- Your remote workforce needs
More people are working from home than ever before. How many remote workers are creating data within your organization right now? How can you protect the data on their workstations? What about the data at branch offices?
- Your general storage needs
Data storage and data recovery go hand in hand. Many businesses are adopting converged storage solutions to better utilize storage space, reduce management headaches, and ensure effective backup and recovery. Have you considered the alternatives to your legacy storage solutions?
- Your recovery objectives
You need to establish your recovery objectives as these will drive key requirements for your data recovery solution. Recovery point objectives help you determine how much data you can stand to lose. Recovery time objectives help you determine how much downtime you can tolerate. Check out this post for a deeper dive into setting recovery objectives and what they mean for your business.
Evaluating Data Recovery Software Vendors
Now that you’ve set your objectives it’s time to start checking out vendors. While there are plenty to choose from, here are a few key aspects to keep in mind as you test or demo their solutions.
Backups are useless if you can’t recover. Be sure that any vendor you evaluate has a rock-solid track record of reliability. If possible, use a software trial to test the backups yourself. Also, be sure to read reviews of the solution you’re evaluating to see what other businesses think.
Look for options in regards to how you back up, store, and recover your data. Make sure the solution you choose gives you a way to back up everything you need to. Whether you have physical machines, virtual machines, or both, you should be able to easily back up their data. Next, consider recovery options. More sophisticated solutions allow you to recover backups to dissimilar hardware or even let you spin up backups as a VM on-prem or in the cloud. More recovery options reduce the risk that you won’t recover.
- Completeness of Solution
Some data recovery software solutions provide backups but skimp on recovery options. Remember, you’re not just trying to protect your data, you’re also trying to prevent downtime. That’s why you should find vendors who take a comprehensive view of data protection. Your chosen solution should let you take solid backups and benefit from a range of rapid recovery options. On top of that, it’s worthwhile to consider the entire storage side of your network. As noted, many businesses can reduce storage management headaches by using a solution that blends some of the latest in data storage technology with powerful backup and recovery options. Rather than use multiple vendors to achieve one goal, for simplicity’s sake it’s worth finding one vendor that offers everything you need out of the box.
If your systems go down, you may need help immediately. And, while most vendors have basic support built in, emergency support is sometimes only offered as an option. The slickest data recovery solutions in the world won’t matter if you’re not sure how to use them in a crisis. Ask vendors about their support options so you can be sure you get the help you need when you need it.
It may be tempting to rush vendor evaluations, but it’s worth taking your time to find the right one. Create a shortlist of obvious good choices and spend some time chatting with their engineers. Help them understand your recovery objectives and the challenges you could encounter as you try to meet those objectives. The right vendor will offer a solution that’s built to meet all of your needs. With a bit of effort, it should quickly be clear which vendor has the data recovery software that’s right for you.