Data is the backbone of small business.
Companies that lack access to accurate and up-to-date information about their customers, sales cycle, financial position and other core business elements are at a competitive disadvantage. In a worse case scenario, a data disaster can even bring the business to a total standstill.
Given the importance of data, it's surprising how little attention some business owners pay to data backup and restoration functions. The failure to implement an adequate backup and recovery system means leaving the future of your company to chance – literally rolling the dice with the data your operation needs to conquer the marketplace.
Data backup software automates much of the work involved with data maintenance and storage. But with a lot of data backup software solutions to choose from, it can be tough to nail down the one that is right for your business. As you navigate the buying process, it's important to look for a handful of essential data backup software features.
- Backup methods. Backup software packages typically offer multiple backup options. Users should be able to schedule a combination of full (all files and folders on the drive), incremental (new/modified files since last incremental backup) and differential (new/modified files since last full backup) methods.
- Backup options. Most business backup solutions also give users the ability to select the files and folders that will be affected by any given backup event. Some of the backup options covered by these features include individual files, files in use, individual folders, "favorites" and more.
- Storage. You've probably already decided where and how you want to archive your system backups. Now it's important to make sure your software can accommodate your preference. Look for features that let you perform backups to hard drives, removable media and FTP locations.
- Restoration. Don't fool yourself – restore features are just as important as backup features. You'll want a solution that has the ability to restore file paths, individual files and individual folders. Your application should also let you perform a restoration to a separate location and replace older/duplicate files to manage disk space.
- Support. Not surprisingly, tech support is critical in a small business data backup software package. Don't waste time evaluating software that doesn't provide an extensive online knowledge base or access to live support personnel.