Backups: When and How to Use Them

Back-up Data

At some point, you will most likely have some computer malfunction that causes loss of some or all of your personal files, documents or photos. Maybe you accidentally deleted the wrong file, experienced a hardware failure, or lost your laptop. Even worse, malware may have infected your computer. In times like these, backups are often the only way you can rebuild your digital life or recover critical data.

What to Back Up and When

There are two approaches on deciding what to back up:

  1. Specific data that is important to you
  2. Everything including your operating system

If you are not sure what to back up then the best approach may be backing up everything. You should also consider how often you want to back up. Apple’s Time Machine or Microsoft Backup and Restore allow you to create an automatic “set it and forget it” backup schedule. Other solutions can allow continuous protection in which new or altered files are immediately backed up as soon as there closed.

How to Back Up

You can store your files in two ways:

Physical Media:

Backing up to physical media keeps your files on a physical storage device, such as DVD’s, USB devices or an external hard drive. Whichever media you choose, never back up your files to the device that holds your original files. It’s also smart to label your physical media with info about the backup and the date it was created.

Some disadvantages to storing on physical media is the possibility of disaster or theft. Physical media can be lost, stolen or damaged just as easily as the original files.

Cloud-based solutions:

Cloud-based storage works by installing a program (client) that automatically backs up your files for you. You can pay for cloud storage providers to store your backups. The price is normally determined by the size of the backup.

The advantage of this solution is in the event of a disaster or theft, your files will be virtually stored off-site. Additionally, you can access these files from anywhere. The disadvantages of cloud-based backups are that recovery can be slower especially if you have a large amount of data and you will also need to ensure that the cloud service provider can store this data securely to prevent unauthorized access.

Recovery

After backing up your data, it’s always a good to be certain that you can recover it. Check every month that your backups are working by recovering a file and validating the contents. Additionally, be sure to make a full system backup before a major upgrade such as moving to a new computer or mobile device or before a major repair.

Key Points Summary

  • Automate your backups
  • When rebuilding an entire system from backup be sure to reapply the latest security patches and update before using again
  • Outdated backups may become a liability so it is recommended to delete these backups to prevent unauthorized access and in the case that cloud storage is used, manage your storage capacity and related costs
  • Be sure to verify that cloud backup and storage providers have security measures in place to protect the data by checking the policies and reputation of your cloud provider:
    • Ask if they encrypt your data when it is stored
    • Determine who has access to your backups
    • Verify they support strong authentication, such as two-step verification

Disaster Recovery in the Cloud…

disaster recovery in the cloudYou are already backing up your data so you can rebuild it when your server crashes and be up and running in a few hours. But what happens when you lose two servers?…three servers?…four, the network, power, and more? More importantly, are you prepared to continuing running if you lose everything all at once? Disasters happen, more often than you think. Are you prepared? Many organizations have a backup strategy but not a true IT disaster recovery strategy. How long would it take you to get IT back up and running if you lose everything?

So you already have a disaster recovery plan. Have you tested it recently? When was it documented? Updated? If you answered “No” and “It’s been a while,” then your plan may be ineffective. Most organizations don’t have a disaster recovery plan…and those that do may not know how to use it correctly.

The good news is EarthLink Business can help with our new Cloud Disaster Recovery solution. Disaster recovery in the cloud offers companies quick data restoration and effective IT recovery faster than any traditional disaster recovery model. Using the cloud for offsite recovery means your business will have the ability to recover your servers in the cloud environment (as opposed to simply using the cloud for offsite storage). With no capital expenses and subscription pricing, the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) is low. Don’t build it yourself and incur an enormous amount of up front expenses when you could pay an affordable monthly fee and use cloud based servers?

Here are some additional key benefits for utilizing disaster recovery in the cloud:

Data protection: Recovery in the cloud assures your data is recoverable and protected from man-made accidents, power outages, natural disasters, and server crashes.

Scalability and Rapid Implementation: By replicating your primary server environment, the Cloud environment can be quickly scaled to fully replace your primary servers and get your business back up and running in hours, not days.

No hardware requirements. No need for large server rooms and hardware specialists, saving money on power, energy and personnel expenses.

Leverage existing IT: EarthLink’s Cloud-based data recovery solution inter-operates with your existing hardware, applications and operating systems protecting both physical and virtual servers.

Get some additional sleep at night knowing that your information is safe, secure, and can turned up in a moment’s notice should a disaster strike. Contact your EarthLink Business representative to learn more.

 

VoIP Features on Legacy Systems

VoIP gets all the attention – but what about companies that purchased a PBX (Private Branch Exchange) phone system or are just not ready to take the leap to a full VoIP (Voice Over IP) solution? Are there still VoIP options available? Does ‘the cloud’ come into play?

A PBX is a private telephone network used within a company. The users of the PBX phone system share a number of outside lines for making external phone calls. The PBX also connects the internal telephones within a business as well as connects them to the public switched telephone network (PSTN).

VoIP itself is merely a new way to transport calls…not the way calls are processed. And EarthLink Business has options available to see if your company can continue to operate using existing systems while still taking advantage of VoIP features…

EarthLink Business offers complete Line Side and PRI services, which we hand off to the customer as analog lines or TDM PRI, respectively, to the customer’s key system or PBX/IP PBX.   These EarthLink Complete Voice services transport calls and data across a VoIP network, allowing customers access to many of the same great features offered with EarthLink Complete Hosted Voice:

Network-based Unified Voicemail hosted in the network for access from any device.

Network-based Unified Fax for viewing inbound faxes on your computer, web-browser, or email from anywhere.

Auto Attendant provides a virtual receptionist and simulates a live operator. Auto Attendant directs callers to the correct department or employee. The main menu can be configured and personalized. Calls can be sent to a phone that is not on the system such as a cell phone.  This network option eliminates the need for an additional piece of equipment on site.

Call Router provides businesses with the ability to route calls from their main business number to alternative destinations. Features include automatically routing the main number to any 10 digit domestic phone number, send all calls to the main number to voicemail or set up a weekly call routing schedule based on: time of day, day of week, calling party and configure for holidays or special days in advance based on a calendar. Control of call router is through a secure administrative portal where customers can make updates and changes from any Internet connection 24/7/365.

Abbreviated Dialing enables customers to dial their other locations, on the same network, without having to dial the full 7-10 digit number, similar to extension dialing.  This is supported across all EarthLink Complete Voice products.

Site-to-site calling allows customers to call all of their locations without incurring domestic long distance charges.

Have questions or want to know more? Contact EarthLink Business and we’ll see how we can help!

Experienced Web Hosting from EarthLink

In 1995, before Google, before Facebook, before NetFlix and Wikipedia, when AltaVista was the top search engine and email was new…there was EarthLink Web Hosting.

For 18 years (practically as long as the concept of “web hosting” itself has even existed!), EarthLink has been giving businesses (and individuals) a quality option to host their website(s). Many other companies have popped up (and will continue to do so, now that the cloud is here), but no one has the tried-and-true experience like EarthLink.  Trust a brand new company, or one that’s proven itself for almost 20 years?

So, if you’re in the market for an experienced web hosting company to be your long-term, stable provider, look no further than EarthLink’s plans.  There’s bound to be one that fits your needs; after all, we’ve been around long enough to know!