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5 Things to Check in a Backup Vendor

It’s a difficult task to design a comprehensive backup solution. If you’ve been tasked with providing that for your organisation, you might be wondering what you should be looking for in a backup and recovery vendor. The specifics of that will depend on the needs of your business, but we’ve rounded up some of the most important things that you need to consider when processing request for proposal responses from vendors.

There’s an age-old phrase that ‘if it seems too good to be true, it probably is’. Don’t get lured in by vendors who are offering huge deals or low pricing. Data is one of your most valuable business assets and you don’t want to cheap out on it. If that data was a diamond ring, you’d pay for the best safe you could buy. Do the same with your data.

That’s not to say that the most expensive solution is the right one. Far from it. But don’t automatically go with whoever offers you the lowest price. By the same hand, don’t push a vendor so much that they don’t value your service as much as other clients. Businesses and vendors need to work together in a long-term partnership, so maintaining good will on all sides is vital.

The vendors are operating in a competitive market though. They will usually offer more than backup and recovery solutions. You could decide to use more of their ecosystem. It’s never a good idea to have multiple different backup environments in place, so try and get a discount on trade-in.

Many vendors will offer their software on trial for you to test all the features and see how it holds up under strain. Most of these trials are usually only a month though, so it can be difficult to simulate actual use in that time. While stress tests can be performed, these rarely reflect reality. Instead, it’s best to test specific elements that you know need to stand up – metadata created by the software is often a problem, for example, which can be simulated through multiple rewrites of data.

If possible, get a trial that limits on capacity rather than time. But know from the outset that it’s not going to be possible to test every feature of all the backup solutions under consideration. Trying to do so is a fool’s errand. Instead, with the provider you eventually choose, try and build in contractual obligations for things like free support or partial refunds if something does go wrong.

On that note, the support offered is very important. Not only support when things go awry, but also in setup and training. You might find this is best offered through a reseller, who will know your business and infrastructure more intimately than the vendor directly.

Finally, you of course need a vendor that can support all the different applications you use. But on top of that, they need to support the specific use cases that your business has. For example, APIs of applications should be supported, like the mailboxes and messages of Outlook rather than just the database itself.


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