Frequently Asked Questions – Online Backup

Find some of the most frequently asked questions about online backup below.

About Backup

A reliable backup means having multiples copies of all your important files, recorded as they are updated. These copies should be held off-site, in case your computer fails.

First a question. Would you matter to you if you permanently lost some, or all, of your computer files such as photos, videos, documents, manuscripts, financial and medical records, etc?
If so, then you need to back them up. PC hard drives, which store your files, all fail at some point. Your PC can be lost or stolen. Office suites occasionally have bugs that damage your documents, or you may simply accidentally delete part of a document and not notice until after you saved it.
In all these cases you need to be able to recover the last good backup, otherwise you start from scratch again. Retaking those 3 month old baby photos again is easier said than done!

Until now we would have agreed with you! There are a few things that make backup difficult to do by yourself, including:

  • having the discipline to back up regularly
  • knowing how to manually backup your files
  • what to do with files that won’t back up if you’re using them
  • how to handle files that won’t fit on your tape, CD, DVD or USB flash drive

Even if you do overcome these obstacles, you still need to courier at least one recent backup off-site to protect against theft, flood and fire damage, and ideally to a different city for protection against natural disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis. Furthermore, if your files are not encrypted, then you entire backup is easily readable by whoever possesses the backup media. Arrgggh!

Online backup has numerous advantages over the alternatives:

  • it happens automatically
  • your backups are encrypted to protect your privacy
  • your backups are stored off-site by default
  • no capital outlay

They are very good platforms but aren’t designed for backup. They are more sharing platforms that will sync with a folder on your Computer.

Backup is needed when data is lost, compromised or accidentally deleted permanently. If this occurs your sharing platforms sync and loose it too. its gone.

Business Data Backup Solutions provide:

  • versioning of files so you can retrieve any version of a file
  • data compression reducing the amount of data stored and hence your cost
  • compressed backups means time to retrieve will be a considerably quicker
  • encryption. only holders of the encryption key and password can access your data. Not even we can without them both.

Tapes and backups have been synonymous for decades. Tape backup has always been a minefield, however in the past we had no alternatives so we just worked with it as best as we could.
We have written a Online Backup vs Tape Backup comparison page, to explain the problems with tape over the lifetime of your backups. It is well worth a read.
To summarise the article, many of tape’s problems come about through the fixed size nature of tapes. They are either way to big, or way to small, for many users. Over time they become way to small for most users, causing untold grieve along the way. Other problems stem from the complex array of technologies (I/O, tape drive, backup software) that the tape drive owner must coordinate to get a working solution.
Even if you can handle those problems, you still have to deal with:

  • the human factor
  • the distributed nature of your data
  • off-site storage
  • encryption, especially during off-site storage

Your CD or DVDs are susceptible to loss, theft or damage but the biggest problem with CD backups is that they require manual effort. If this is working for you, then great. However most people forget to perform backups regularly. The Business Data Backup Solution automatically runs backups and stores data off-site without any manual intervention from you.

Your portable hard drive is susceptible to loss, theft, damage or failure, just like CDs/DVDs, but the biggest problem is that they require manual effort. Other problems include:

  • unless you purchase multiple hard drives then you may not have any roll back facilities
  • if the drive fails you have lost your complete backup history and ability to restore
  • unless you store the hard drive off-site, you don’t have protection from fire, theft, etc
  • if you do store the drive off-site, is the backup encrypted or can anybody read your files?

That’s up to you. You may prefer to retain your existing backup approach while trialling the Business Data Backup Solution. The two backup solutions should co-exist, allowing you to build up some backup history with our service before discontinuing your original solution. Whatever you choose, rest assured your data will be securely stored off-site and available for recovery 24×7.

Yes you do. Mirroring means you have two identical copies of your files on two hard drives. If a hard drive fails, you can still access all you files off the remaining hard drive. When a replacement is found, you will have two copies again.
However if you delete a file or need an old version of a document, mirroring will not help. You need a recent backup to recover the file in this situation.

Sadly not! RAID and backup as designed to solve different problems. However they are complimentary and work well together. Consider the following:

  • RAID is designed to protect against the failure of a hard drive and to increase overall performance. For example, you may have two hard drives in a mirror. Both drives have identical copies of your files, so when one fails the other can provide access to you files until the failed drive is replaced.
  • However if you accidentally corrupt or delete a file, that change will be made to both hard drives in the mirror. You need a recent backup to recover the file in this situation.

About Our Service

  • Our backup software client runs in the background on your computer. It will backup your chosen files across the Internet. Your files are encrypted and compressed before they are sent over the Internet, so you can be assured that your files will be sent as securely and cheaply as possible.
  • It doesn’t matter if you working on a file or reading your email during a backup, nor does it matter how big your files get. Business Data Backup Solutions can handle it all without breaking a sweat!
  • Yes, your Internet usage will increase, but probably not by much. Typically, across all the files you are backing up, less than 1% of the total size changes day to day. For example, you will have received a few emails, worked on some documents and downloaded a few files. Your other files are largely unchanged.
  • Our backup client figures out which files have changed, then which parts of those files have changed. Finally it extracts just the changed bits, encrypts them for privacy, compresses them for low Internet usage, then sends them off-site for your protection.
  • Many businesses get free national traffic from their ISP. Since our servers are located in the same country as you are, there may be no traffic charges for any of your online backup activities with us. Check with your ISP and make sure you are getting the best deal.
  • Absolutely. In practice only the initial backup upload and disaster recovery restores are likely to significantly impact your ISP bill. Day to day usage is typically insignificant.
  • Initial backup upload and disaster recovery restores can be accomplished using portable hard drives. Simply perform your first backup to a portable hard drive, courier it to Business Data Backup Solutions, we upload it, then all backups from then on are small and quick, covering only file changes and new files. We can do the same in reverse for large restores. For smaller restores you may prefer to restore directly across the Internet.
  • Another approach for the initial backup upload is to stagger your initial upload. For example, backup half your files now, then backup the rest next month. From that point on, just the new files and changed bits will be sent. Easy!

The Business Data Backup Solution servers are located at secure purpose built Tier 3 or 4 data centres in Australia (for Australian clients only) and New Zealand (for New Zealand clients only). Your backups always, and only, reside in the same country as you. This approach has a number of advantages for you:

  • no international traffic charges to backup or restore your files
  • Business Data Backup Solution, you and your files are governed under the same laws
  • snapshot backup and restores via portable hard drives are practical and cost effective
  • eliminates geo-political risks of having your backups stored overseas

We treat your backups with great care, and apply every tool at our disposal to ensure you always have your backups to rely on.
Your backups are housed in purpose built data centres. These secure facilities are staffed 24×7. They have multiple power feeds from different power companies, un-interruptible power supplies, diesel generator backups and state of the art fire suppression systems.
All our servers and auxiliary equipment are fault tolerant enterprise class, including having dual power supplies. All equipment is monitored, physically and electronically so we can resolve any faults before they become problems. We utilise RAID technology to protect against disk failures and special file systems that detect and correct hard drive corruptions.
Also, we automatically mirror your backups between cities to protect against geographical risk and catastrophic site failure.

  • Very secure. All your data is encrypted with the 256-bit AES encryption algorithm before it leaves your computer, and the encryption key is known to you only.
  • For this reason you must not loose your encryption key otherwise you will not be access your own data either! Nobody can help if you loose your encryption key. If they could there would be little point to using encryption in the first place.

Generally users do not notice the backup running, however the backup client allows you to throttle its usage of:

  • Processor (CPU)
  • Hard Disk, allowing your software plenty of access to the disk
  • Internet bandwidth, so there is plenty of internet available for your work and play
  • Older PCs may be noticeably slowed down by the backup software, however please contact our support line if you are unsure.
  • Absolutely, so long as you know your login credentials and encryption key, you can access your files from any web browser in the world!
  • Additionally we offer a briefcase facility, allowing you to upload files into your online briefcase. This is particularly handy if you need to take some files from a client site for example, but you don’t have any portable media (e.g. USB flash drive) with you, and the files are too big to email back to base.
  • No we can’t. Your files are encrypted with a very strong encryption algorithm called 256-bit AES before they leave your computer. Only your knowledge of the encryption key allows access to your files.
  • This is a double edged sword. You get the ultimate in privacy, however if you loose the encryption key you loose access to your files, and we have no way of recovering the key. However there are a few suggestions on how to protect your encryption from loss.

Your first backup can be accomplished using portable hard drives. Simply perform your first backup to a portable hard drive we will supply you (a one-off fee), courier it to Business Data Backup Solution, we upload it, then all subsequent backups happen across the Internet. These backups small and quick, covering only new files and existing file changes.

  • Yes it will, although be aware that the initial upload of your files may take many hours or even days.
  • However if you want the superb protection of our service, and you backup your most critical files only, you will end up with an excellent result. It will only get better when you upgrade to broadband!

Not at the moment. VLAN ADSL utilises “naked DSL”, enabling the end user to have a second DSL modem that is connected directly to Business Data Backup Solution, completely bypassing the Internet, saving traffic costs.
While this sounds like a good idea, the traffic cost savings have to be offset against fixed costs of running a second ADSL modem and line. If you are contemplating this, you should consider a few things:
Do you have a second analogue phone line to attach the “naked DSL” to? If not, you need buy one from a telco.

How much would daily backup increments over the Internet cost you in terms of extra charges? This varies depending on your plan utilisation.

So it comes down to the size of your backup set and your average daily change rate. Clearly the larger the backup set, and the larger the daily patch set, the more attractive a flat rate broadband link is.
Countering that, if it is cheap to increase the data cap why not do that instead and save all the hassle and fixed costs? Remember that the backups run after hours, so there is no contention between the backup and your users. This approach just makes better use of your existing ADSL resources.
A “naked DSL” link would mean that the initial upload could be done over the DSL line, however the cost of the ADSL modem and setup is similar to our simple disk upload service cost anyway! In summary, VLAN ADSL doesn’t offer much value for most prospective users.

All of technology and business practices are enterprise class from the ground up, so you can have the best online backup solution available for yourself and your clients.

We achieve all these key features. Our competitors only have some of these features:

  • Licence free model – zero licencing costs
  • No compliance costs or licence audits – simple hassle free billing and transparency
  • $0/month fixed cost per server/PC – no fixed monthly costs
  • Super low price $/GB/month – pay only for the space you use
  • State of the art online backup software – reliable and supported
  • Your backups are mirrored in two data centres in different cities – maximum protection
  • Our data centres are rated Tier 3 or better – not Tier 1 or 2 – best infrastructure
  • Unbelievably some of our competitors do not replicate your precious backups to another server. Some only replicate to another server in the same room. We replicate to another city – your backups are your corporate memory and must be protected. Caveat emptor!

Using Our Service

  • Yes, it is very easy. Your files are restored using the same backup software you used to back them up. First you browse your backups by backup date, select the files and folders to be restored and click restore. You have the option of restoring them to a temporary folder, which is useful if you want to compare your files now, with those from some time ago.
  • If you need to restore your entire backup, it may be advisable for us to send you a portable disk drive with all your files on it. This is the same as the initial backup snapshot, but in reverse. If you have 10s of GBs, this will be much quicker.
  • We have a maintenance window between 1am-6am every Sunday morning, where we may take the servers offline if required.
  • We can reset your password for you.

You must remember your encryption password. Write it down and keep it safe somewhere, perhaps have a copy stored with your accountant or lawyer or family member. We are powerless to help you restore your files if you loose it. That is the price of total privacy.

For all practical purposes it is unlimited. We have a scalability design, very high speed Internet and mirroring connections and we always guarantee to have space available to meet demand.

  • These features in our backup clients permit you to backup huge files that change regularly, by sending only the small parts of the file that have changed since the last backup.
  • For example, if you have a 800MB Outlook PST file stored on your PC, and you add another 20MB of email to it, instead of uploading the whole file again (820MB), only the 20MB changed parts are sent. They are encrypted and compressed first, so the actual upload will be smaller again.

Yes, and they can even be backed up while you have Outlook open.

  • Business Data Backup Solution retains your files for as long as you keep your account current. Files that you delete from your computer or older versions of files that you have modified are kept according to the retention policy that you set. This will be for a minimum of 30 days.
  • For a quick estimate of how much backup space you’ll need, right-click on My Documents in an Explorer window, and select Properties. Make sure the General tab is selected, and you’ll get a total size for the entire directory, which will tell you the total size of the folder. If the size seems large, check whether you really need to back up all the sub-directories. For instance, if your My Music folder only contains music from your own CDs, you probably don’t need to back them up regularly.

Yes, we backup all common databases including:

  • Microsoft Exchange server
  • Microsoft SQL Server
  • Oracle Databases
  • MySQL

The software is configured to backup your files everyday but you can set and choose any day or time to suit your needs.

No, you have control over which folders and files are backed up. After the initial backup only new or changed files are transmitted saving time and bandwidth.