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Backup Made Easy: by Kevin J. Vella from Uniblue

Posted Saturday, February 26, 2005

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Backup Made Easy:
A Six Point Guide to Buying Backup Software, PART 1
by Kevin J. Vella from Uniblue


Many people and businesses lose their data because the product they've bought doesn't live up to its initial promise. With hundreds of backup software vendors on the market, people usually perform searches on such generic keywords as "backup software" to find themselves with millions of documents to sift through before making an "informed" decision. With so many pages people would typically look at the first ten or twenty entries and either buy the first thing that comes near their budget, or give up or end up buying software that is too expensive for their needs.

Before buying backup software, you must first look at your real needs and make a list of product attributes and related features that will satisfy these needs. Second, look at the software vendors who are reviewed by computer magazines and compare their products across your needs list. Third, look at whether the vendors have been in the business for several years and whether they have a reputation for great customer support and product innovation.

The most difficult of these stages is building the attribute and features list. The Six Point Guide to Buying Backup Software should give you thorough knowledge of what attributes and features you should look for in any backup software. Due to constraints of space, I have split this guide in two parts. In Part One I will briefly describe each of the attributes while in Part Two, explain each attribute and detail all the related features.

  1. "Ease of Use": Ask, how easy is it to install the backup software? How easy is it to set up the first backup? How easy is it to use the backup software regularly and to create backup schedules? How easy is it to restore data?
  2. "Value for Money": this is rather subjective and does depend on your budget. However, don't just look at the price of the product. Think of how long does it would take to use the product. How long does it take to make backups and restores? As a home user, this may not be that important but as a business user, you wouldn't want to spend half an hour just to run your daily backups.
  3. "Reliability": Many backup companies focus only on the backup side of things rather on the restore. Just think, what is most important in backup is the ability to restore data without losing anything. Therefore, ask, can I install the product, set up a schedule and then rest assured that my data is being backed up with 100% accuracy?? What levels and types of data validation does the product have to guarantee restores?
  4. "Performance": Of course, you must have a product that is fast and that does not sacrifice reliability, value for money and ease of use for sheer raw power. Who would want to have a 100% accurate restore product that takes one hour to backup a few hundred megs of data!
  5. "Depth of Feature Set": What features does the product have? How does the product compare to other vendors? Many times you would have to draw up these comparison sheets unless the vendor has done it for you.
  6. "Breadth of Backup and Media Coverage": Finally, make sure that the product backs up your PC (or notebook) and supports a strong list of backup storage media including CD, Pen Drives, Zip Drives, etc

More details next week....

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