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Just Watching Your Back(Up)

November 17, 2005 By:
Michael Trantas, JE Feature
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It's a question every business owner needs to ask him or herself - what would happen if I lost all of my computer files because I don't have a backup system?

Business would surely be affected, and much productivity would be lost. What do you do if the business can't afford the cost of a tape backup system? This is the question that most small- to medium-sized business owners are now starting to ask themselves.

Enter the world of Delta backup technology - a new, low-cost way of backing up your company data.

Delta backups are a completely automated online data backup and recovery solution that uses lightweight client software to backup a company's data across the Internet. The software automatically encrypts and compresses the data at a specified time and transmits the data to a secured location during off-hours.

Most companies today employ the use of tape or disk-based backup systems. While this popular alternative is secure and reliable, it is often extremely costly, and requires a large amount of maintenance. In addition, the hidden costs - such as software licensing, and the price of tape and drive maintenance - can become very expensive.

A large number of Delta backup providers like Live Vault (www. livevault.com) and AmeriVault (www.amerivault.com) distribute their software for free and only charge a customer for the amount of storage space they use. If you are watching your IT budget, you can even specify what information gets backed up and when.

Like traditional backup methods, Delta backups require a full backup of the data set to be performed first. Once that is done and the next backup is performed, only the files that have changed are backed up. This is where the difference lies.

Changes Process

With differential, incremental or full backups, change even one letter in a 30 kilobytes word-processing document, and the entire file or all 30KB gets backed up again. With Delta technology, only the portion of the file that was changed gets backed up again.

As an example, let's say you employ a software package that uses incremental backups, and you are backing up one word-processing document of 30KB (about two pages) every day. If you change one character in the document and back it up every day for a week, you're backing up a total of around 1.5 megabytes of data.

In the same scenario with a backup provider using Delta technology, the data storage increases from an initial 30KB to approximately 32KB for the week.

Think of the savings - no more costly tapes or software to buy and no more equipment to maintain. Just pre-program the software for the time you want the backup to run, and it's magically sent to an off-site storage provider. If something goes wrong and you need to get the data back to its original state - or even to a specific point in time - one click and the mouse gets it transferred right back to you.

You even have the freedom to backup your data as often as every hour or as infrequently as once a year, as long as your computer is turned on and has an active Internet connection.

For the small- to medium-sized business market, Delta technology is rapidly becoming the standard for data backups and storage. In these uncertain times, this is the most sensible solution for companies that depend on their data for survival.

Michael Trantas is CEO, e-Safe Solutions, Inc., and can be reached at: mtrantas@e-safesolutions.net.

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