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GigeNET backups

Why a backup strategy matters – even though it’s usually invisible

A truly beneficial backup strategy means that it will almost be invisible. It will run quietly in the background, archiving the progress of your business without impacting performance.

This is why it’s so often left to chance: in almost every case, your business can continue to function whether you have a backup plan in place or not.

But if something goes wrong—and trust us, it’s almost an inevitability—you’ll wish you had gone ahead and invested in the silent redundancy of a good backup.

There’s a real-world, bottom-line cost to failing to secure your data through backups—98% of businesses report that even an hour of downtime could cost them $100,000.

Can you afford to throw away $100,000?

The dire consequences of data loss

What exactly makes your data valuable?

It isn’t the server that it sits on. But the things that you can easily and unexpectedly lose through a data loss event include some of your most valuable operational elements.

  1. Meticulously created content like WordPress themes, blog posts, branding imagery & PDFs
  2. Mission-critical settings for software you’ve configured to meet your specific business needs
  3. Employee records and tools like spreadsheets, handbooks, playbooks and other operation-critical documentation
  4. Contracts and legally binding documents
  5. Email contact lists and records of important correspondence with clients
  6. Sensitive and private information you’ve collected about your users, employees or business practices

It may seem like losing some of these is unlikely. After all, don’t your employees keep all of their emails on their own computers—and aren’t those stored somewhere else?

Well, what if a flustered employee deletes all of their emails? This actually happened to The Alzheimer’s Association. Google’s massive cloud wasn’t enough to protect them against human error.

Even worse—what if someone accidentally deletes the big project you’re working on? It happened to Pixar, in one of the more amazing and frightening data loss events: they deleted almost the entirety of Toy Story 2 and only managed to save it because an employee had kept a personal backup at his house.

Data loss events can also take the form of clumsiness: an employee simply misplacing a laptop with access to sensitive information has cost companies like VeriSign, the Daily Mail, Bank of America and even governmental organizations like the Department of Veterans millions of dollars. Sometimes all it takes is bad luck, an unlocked car door or an opportune thief to compromise the security of your entire organization’s data. That, too, is a data loss event.

So what, exactly, should an organization look for in its backup strategy?

The solution to preventing catastrophic data loss

It’s important to build it right the first time. What do we mean by that?

Right from the beginning, you should aim to implement the best practices for creating a genuine archive of your organization’s activities, from its settings to its valuable content to its painfully compiled knowledge.

Don’t leave it to chance—seek out the advice of true backup experts and plan for a catastrophe. If it never comes, great—but if you find yourself facing a data loss event like a hard drive failure or a catastrophic natural disaster, you’ll be thrilled to discover that your backups act like a versioned history of your organization’s activities and data.

To craft your data loss prevention plan you’ll need to determine:

  1. What needs to be backed up.
    • This requires taking a holistic view of your organization. What is mission critical? What could you never do without? What software, content, websites and data do you rely on?
  2. Where you’re going to keep your backups.
    • You’ll need to determine whether you can safely keep your backups on-site or will need to enlist an off-site host. This guards against things like fires, floods, storms, power outages and employee error. The ideal combination is utilizing both, with your least sensitive data kept on site and your more valuable data in both locations.
  3. How often you should backup your data.
    • Daily backups are great, but what if your data landscape changes rapidly? There are options that can allow for backup increments as fine as 15 minutes or less. Some organizations may only require backups per quarter. Determine the timeframe that’s required to secure your organization’s data.

Creating a data backup plan means insulating your organization against the tremendously expensive risk of data loss. It strikes organizations of any size, and occurs in a variety of unpredictable and unforeseeable ways–so make a plan today and don’t wind up wishing you hadn’t heeded our advice.

If this seems like a daunting task, or you need some help figuring out exactly what sort of plan to create, we’re more than happy to help you.

Why R1Soft backups are awesome

At GigeNET, we’ve partnered with R1Soft to provide one prong for our two-pronged backup services.

R1Soft is widely considered the fastest, most scalable, yet affordable server backup software. Incremental & daily backups mean that if you lose your data on Friday, you can rewind to Thursday and resume operations.

But the benefit doesn’t end with R1Soft’s archival capabilities. They’ve pioneered block-level backups that are minimally intrusive and avoid hurting your server’s performance. Essentially, R1Soft’s backups only capture changes as they occur—rather than wastefully archiving all of your data, all of the time, even when it hasn’t changed.

You can find out a lot more about R1Soft’s awesome developments in backup technology straight from the source.

Why backups equal operational security and stability

99.99% uptime is no longer an idealistic goal, it’s widely considered an industry standard. Lost time is lost money, a self-evident truism that no manager needs explained – but with data loss, the picture seems to get a little fuzzy.

Downtime does more than damage your bottom line. It damages your reputation. Preserving your organization’s goodwill doesn’t have an easily quantifiable dollar amount, but beware of undercounting the cost of a data loss event—there are myriad sources that estimate the value of data loss as running into the trillions each year.

Data loss isn’t just a headache or a pause in operations. It’s devastating.

What a catastrophe really costs: backups are actually just insurance

The value of a strong backup strategy is that it acts like an insurance policy. If something goes wrong, you call on your backups to restore operations to normalcy with minimal lost time and disruption.

Crafting your backup strategy is a proactive step toward securing your organization. With expanding security threats from ransomware to novel DDoS attacks—and organizations becoming increasingly dependent on their IT infrastructure just to function—keeping your backups up-to-date and ensuring that they’re functioning is as basic as keeping the doors locked when you leave.

Insure your organization’s data like you’d insure your home or your car. Create a backup strategy. At GigeNET, we’re experts in crafting customized backup strategies and have been in the hosting industry for more than 20 years.

Don’t wait until your data disaster strikes. Contact us for help with developing a comprehensive data backup plan.

backup data

From that presentation you were up all night working on to important tax information, it’s second nature for us to save copies of our personal data whether that be on a thumb drive or a service like Dropbox. Yet, drives fail, coffee spills, and humans make mistakes.

And the fact is, the risk of losing your presentation is a lot less than losing massive amounts of critical business data.

How can entire organizations keep their business up and running?

They need robust solutions to prevent the loss of critical data and to minimize the cost of downtime.

While each business has unique needs and requirements deserving of a custom solution, the bare minimum is to backup critical data offsite. Data backups are essentially taking a snapshot of your data and storing it offsite.

From protecting against disasters, both natural and otherwise, to keeping an archival of records, data backups play a vital role in keeping your business up and running.

Data Loss and Business Continuity

A business continuity plan is a set of protocols and procedures in place to prevent loss of critical data in the event of an unplanned incident and keep essential business functions running. A good business continuity plan will account for unplanned downtime resulting from natural disasters, network disruption, and human error.

While the cost of downtime ranges based on a broad spectrum of factors, this survey found that 98% of organizations reported a single hour of downtime would cost them over $100,000. This may include anything from replacing failed hardware and paying your staff overtime to fix the issue to the loss of sales and critical data.

The name of the game is, How fast can you get back up and running from unplanned downtime? The company which recovers fastest gains the competitive advantage.

In the event of a disaster like flooding or local power outages, an offsite replication of critical data will provide something for your systems to retrieve, preventing you from unnecessarily rebuilding your business. The latest backup prior to the malware attack can be retrieved and unpacked, to get your data back and your business running again.

Archival

While backups are most commonly discussed when building a business continuity plan, they also play a large role in storing key data for archival purposes. With backups, the data is not saved on top of itself but rather alongside the prior data.

In other words, with backups, you’re creating separate versions of your data and routinely assembling a chronological archive for your business.

This archival serves as a beneficial tool in the chance your organization undergoes a routine audit. Your team can simply sort through the history of backups and pull the relevant version of your data needed.

With offsite backups, you can have access to this comprehensive archival without the burden of storing the data on premise.

The second reason why archives are a great reason for your company to have backups is to safeguard against ransomware. With any virus or malware, once it’s infiltrated your systems the process of recovering data can be tricky at best and impossible without the right precautions in place.

With the archival provided by data backups, you can simply retrieve a version of your data before the ransomware took hold and restore your systems back to that point in time.

Build it right the first time.

While all this sounds a bit scary, it’s important to note that “build it right the first time” is a thing. Most providers want to assure you they are doing the best practices just like you do if you had the chance.

Yet, you’re often still left scrambling in the case of an emergency. Instead of doing double the work to either recover from downtime or panicking to find archives, consistently backup your data.

We’ve made it easy for you. Choose from prepackaged solutions with R1soft backups or turn our storage solution, GigeVAULT, into a data backup system that fits in any budget.

VPS hosting is a popular hosting option as it is one of the most cost efficient options on the market. Virtual Private Server (VPS) Hosting is a hosting a web server where there is partitioning of the server so that each partition can act as a virtual dedicated server. Each VPS runs its own operating system and has its own amount of bandwidth and disk space and bandwidth, and runs its own operating system. As well, each server has its own software, processes, users, etc. It is normally semi-managed whereby the host technicians will manage such things as software upgrades. A VPS normally comes with around with 30GB and allows you to host unlimited domains at an affordable price.

Virtual Private Server Advantages

Basically, websites on the virtual private servers will not be accessed by visitors at the same time or all of the time. This means there will not be problems with access, availability, and speed of use of your site. The main advantage of virtual hosting is cost. Because the hosting company can divide its server capacity across various websites, they can spread the costs across various customers which ensure that your costs will be cheaper. Another key advantage of virtual private server hosting is it allows you to have total control over your site. You can add, remove, and adjust applications, programs, and operating systems whenever you want. As well, although there are a number of hosting accounts on the same machine, it will not impact your account. With a virtual private server, you will be allocated use of all the resources you require without needing to configure a unique server for your own specific needs. The rate of the services will depend on the features you request.

Feels Like Owning a Complete Dedicated Server

One negative aspect of a VPS is if there are too many sites with high traffic and bandwidth use, your own site performance may be affected and result in slow loading and navigation. However, most VPS hosting companies can prevent this from happening. It is also wise to calculate the traffic you expect and make sure that your virtual web hosting package choice is big enough in bandwidth to meet your bandwidth needs. Although virtual private servers are not dedicated hosting servers, these servers will make you feel like you are the owner of a complete dedicated server.

Many businesses are choosing Virtual Private Servers (VPS) because these servers can be partitioned into multiple servers allowing each of the replicated servers to operate as an individual virtual server. Linux VPS hosting is a Linux based virtual server that provides the performance and access levels of a dedicated server. Linux VPS hosting is a popular choice due to its reliability and flexibility when managing high traffic flows.

Linux VPS Hosting Benefits

Linux VPS Hosting is a cost-efficient web hosting solution as there are a number of benefits to using this type of web hosting. The cost savings is a plus as it is more affordable than a dedicated server and you still receive similar benefits as the dedicated server. As well, the Linux operating system is open-source which helps minimize costs. There are no license costs or other hidden charges which helps to keep costs low. Linux virtual private server can support such web features as MySQL, POP3, PHP, etc. Because it is a hosted service you will be assured of a high level of security and technical support 24/7/365.

With Linux VPS hosting, each server works independently from one another so if one server goes down, everything will migrate to another server which eliminates server downtime. The Linux hosting environment provides improved server performance, high availability, effective and the most current security solutions, dynamic scalability, and more control over the server applications. Businesses with a high quantity of data will choose the Linux VPS Hosting as they have the benefit of using a secure data center facility as well as efficient disaster recovery services and data backup. Many IT experts say that Linux VPS is one of the most dependable and efficient systems.

Easy to Use and Manage

Linux VPS hosting is very easy to set-up and clients can get their preferred amount of bandwidth, memory, and physical space. Linux VPS gives the same priority to all the applications and allows for the running of various applications that includes Windows hosting. You can easily convert Linux into a Windows site. When using Linux VPS hosting, businesses will benefit from a secure, flexible, and dependable managed hosting service.

Today, there are many online backup solutions available on the market. With such a variety to choose from, it can seem confusing choosing the right sight solution that ensures your data is completely protected. Below are a number of questions you should ask when looking for quality data backup and recovery provider.

How will you protect our data?

It is important to know how your data will be protected. You should find out what kind of encryption and security features are used. When it comes to encryption, you should make sure you use an extremely secure process so that your data is protected while in transit. It should also be protected during a back up and restoration process.

Will I have 24/7 customer and technical support?

When there is a problem, it is important that you have the ability to immediately contact the provider. You are going to need someone that you can reach anytime of the day and night in the event of a problem so they can be alerted and work to resolve the problem quickly and efficiently. Whether you need to change your backup configuration, restore data, or just have a question, it is essential that you can reach a knowledgeable support representative.

What is the actual cost of the service?

It is important to understand the cost for the services. Is it a flat fee or are there other charges for such services as: telephone support, costs to recover the data, and whether or not you’ll be billed per user. A low cost provider may seem like an attractive choice, however, there may be all sorts of separate fees.

Do you have a high quality data center?

It is important to make sure the data center is safe and secure. Make sure it is located in a safe area and the center has physical security and the proper safety features such as fire and flood suppression and climate controls. Make sure the building can withstand bad weather such as an earthquake.

How fast will our data be restored?

It is important to learn how long it will take for your data to be restored if there is a data loss emergency. You will want a provider to start the restore process immediately. Make sure the provider will be able to help you recover your data when you need it.

When choosing a data backup and recovery provider, you should look for a provider that will assess their IT infrastructure and business needs, and then deliver a plan on how to best restore your data.

Citrix Systems is a leading provider of virtual computing solutions that assists enterprise with delivering IT as an on-demand service. Built on the Xen hypervisor, the Citrix XenServer is a completely managed server virtualization platform. The Citrix XenServer is a native 64-bit virtualization platform with the scalability required by business-critical applications. As a thin software layer, Xen hypervisor is installed directly onto the hardware. In doing so, it is placed in between the server’s hardware and the operating system which provides an abstraction layer that allows each physical server to run one or multiple ‘virtual servers.’ As well, the Xen hypervisor is very lean which results in very low overhead and near-native performance for guests. Citrix new version of Citrix XenServer provides improved storage and cloud provisioning and customer reaction to the new enhancement has been overwhelmingly positive.

The development of Citrix new version of Citrix XenServer was part of a strategy to speed up the rate of data center virtualization and monetize more advanced virtualization management features. With the release of Advanced Storage Optimization for virtual desktop integration (VDI) for XenServer 5.6, Feature Pack 1, the new enhancements in the Citrix XenServer provide new functionality. It improves storage and support cloud services to meet the demands of desktop virtualization. Citrix claims “that it would make VDI deployments more cost-efficient by offloading all temporary desktop read-write traffic from costly storage systems onto server-side spinning disks or high speed solid state drives (SSDs).” In the new version, Citrix technology called Intellicache recognizes which data of the data is temporary and as a result will not have to be saved in a high-priced NAS or SAN system

Citrix has also launched a model called ‘Integrated Virtual Switching’ which is designed to allow IT administrators to effectively manage traffic from various sources. Built on industry standard practices such as OpenFlow, the new Citrix technology can be used to provide IT administrators with an integrated network structure for effective management of on-site and off-site resources. Citrix is claiming strong growth in the server virtualization market because of its growth in desktop virtualization and among cloud providers. Citrix Xen is trusted by enterprise that demands the highest performing platform to run their most critical business applications

A storage server is valuable for a workgroup environment where there are multiple users requiring shared data across a server network. Since the storage is centralized, it facilitates backup of data. Today, when it comes to the agility, ease of use, integration, and performance of server storage technology there are a number of forecasted trends for 2011.

Increased Demand for Faster Storage I/O in Multi-core Processors: In order to eliminate barriers that could impact productivity, fast servers need fast I/O and storage. For instance, high-density servers require fast interconnects. Eliminating slow server response is essential. One solution is adding SSD drives because these drives can achieve about 2400 IOPS per drive. This helps to keep up with increased workload.

Smaller Drives: The use of smaller drives is becoming more prevalent in servers as they provide higher capacity and higher performance. The trend in the IT industry seems to be the concept that smaller is better. For instance, Mini-SATA is now available as it can support transfer rates up to 3.0 Gb/s on a business card size platter. It is forecasted that this will become the norm in servers

Convergence of Servers and Storage: To improve performance, it is forecasted that there will be an increase in the convergence of servers and storage. As well, it is easy to use, low cost, supports acceleration of guest networking and advanced Virtual OS features, supports diverse optional hardware and accelerations, and it is at effective driving consolidation.

Optimized Servers for Diverse Application Workloads: A key trend is increased media flexibility. With the increased availability of SAS, SATA, and SSD, it will be easier to optimized servers for more diverse application workloads. Benefits include: improved virtualization server consolidation ratios, dynamically allocate resources within each virtual machine, and prevent performance degradation by eliminating resource conflicts.

Increased Adoption of Hybrid Drives: There is an increase it the use of hybrid drives (a hard drive is packaged in the same proprietary drive module as an SSD.) That is, combining hard drives such Flash and Ram in one sealed integrated drive.

It eliminates the need for special server/host controllers to move data around.

To create and run an always-on infrastructure that supports key business fundamentals, companies require a server that will support the way they and their customers do business. These 2011 server storage technology trends are providing more flexibility in designing servers for multiple workloads that meet changing business performance and reliability demands.

Linux Encryption Backup Tools

In spite of a surge in the adoption of the Cloud, a recent survey has revealed that many SMEs are lacking offsite backup and a disaster recovery strategy. In a survey of 3000 SMEs conducted by the disaster recovery company Acronis, it was revealed that over one-third of SMEs do not have such essential security strategies.

In the Acronis poll, SMES cited that they lack of budget and resources to implement an offsite backup and disaster recovery strategy.The poll also found that “71% of organizations with virtual servers do not back them up as often as their physical servers.”

With such value placed on data these days, SMEs should not disregard the importance of disaster recovery plans when migrating to the cloud. SMEs who do not have the measures in place should consider the consequences if business continuity was disrupted and there was a permanent loss of data.

Cloud server providers have the essential security technology to protect data and secure the cloud from outages, hackers, accidents, and bugs. They also use such defensive measures as: filtering, cryptography practices, patch management, and cryptography techniques. As well, cloud technology allows for easy and fast relocation of resources and data for encryption, filtering, verification, control of traffic, and other security issues. This gives the cloud more resilience against security threat.

It is essential that organizations realize the benefits of cloud security in terms of protection of intellectual property and code quality. Other technical security benefits of the Cloud include: reduced data leakage, central storage is easier to control and monitor, eliminated or reduces service downtime, forensic readiness, reduced evidence transfer time, decreased time to access protected documents, reduce cost of testing security, and decrease password cracking time when running tests.

With Cloud security services, business will benefit from the elimination of complex licensing issues, no upgrades or updates, and no subscription pricing. It’s all about the service fee that’s paid for as an operational expense allowing a company to budget for security expenses. Partnering with a cloud service provider that offers cloud based and on-premises applications is very beneficial.  Companies will be able to concentrate on the higher-level security threats and mitigation technologies once they no longer have to manage and maintain web traffic security and keep email running. It is very clear that SMEs need to consider Offsite Backup and Disaster Recovery Strategy a top priority and implement the essential security measures.

R1Soft CDP Backup Solutions

There’s no denying the value of having a comprehensive backup strategy. Although, if you need some convincing, here’s are the two reasons to have a data backup plan.

One key aspect of every good data backup plan is to prevent against data loss and ensure complete data recovery. For this, we use R1Soft backups.

What is R1Soft CDP backup?

The R1Soft CDP backup solution is a server software application that enables disaster recovery and disk-based data protection for workstations and servers running Linux operating systems and Microsoft Windows.

CDP Server protects disk volume data using synchronization and replication across the network while storing point-in-time snapshots in disk-based storage.

Main features of R1Soft CDP backup include:

  • Near-continuous backups by providing hundreds of recovery points per day scheduled at five or ten minutes apart
  • A resource-friendly footprint with bandwidth utilization and low processor usage during backups
  • Ability to visualize, create, and verify backups through the web portal
  • Data is always protected as there is full encryption of backups that are being processed

How do R1Soft backups work?

The CDP Server supports encryption of disk data using RSA keys and the Blowfish cipher. During data synchronization, the data is encrypted on the agent and sent to the server over the network where it is stored in encrypted form. The data can only be decrypted using an RSA key protected with a passphrase.

Data on the CDP Server is stored in R1Soft’s patent-pending Disk Safe storage format. This on-disk format allows CDP Server to archive point-in-time recover images for long periods of time using as little disk space as possible.

Recovery points only consist of a copy of changed disk sectors which means that it normally just takes seconds or minutes to complete disk synchronization, even in large quantities.

With a CDP backup, there are many Intel PCI-e network interface cards in place to relieve strain on servers in the R1Soft cluster which provides an extra layer ensuring a completely redundant at the server level.

Multiple servers are provisioned in hardware RAID-10 or RAID-50 configurations in a clustered R1Soft environment to ensure you can initiate and retrieve backups. As well, any combination of directories and files can be chosen for restore through a user-friendly file browser and web interface.

Files can be restored to their original location, alternate location, or alternate host. They can also be optionally encrypted in transit using RSA keys and 128-bit Blowfish encryption.

Value of R1Soft backups

The biggest value of R1Soft backups is that you will have a dependable backup environment. 

Today there is no need to waste bandwidth to keep your data secure. When using R1Soft backup solutions, you will never have to pay extra bandwidth fees to ensure your data is protected. As well as conserving paid public bandwidth and increasing backup speeds, R1Soft backup solutions will enable you to reduce the strain on your production servers during their backup intervals.  R1Soft Backups is your reliable and cost-efficient data backup solution.

Ready to craft your custom backup solution? Explore GigeNET’s backup solutions or chat with our specialists.

Data storage service providers are focused on choosing the best storage technologies to meet their customers’ increasing data storage requirements. They also work to ensure properly deployed and supported tools for their client’s data storage needs.  iSCSI SANs are efficient storage area networks due to their efficient storage technology that will meet just about any size business’s storage needs.

iSCSI is an effective approach for storage data transmission over IP networks. iSCSI is used to arrange data transfers over intranets as well as to effectively manage storage over far distances. The iSCSI protocol is able to increase the performance and capabilities of storage data transmission.  iSCSI can be used to transmit data over WANs (Wide Area networks) and LANs (local area networks), or the internet. As well, it can facilitate independent location data storage and retrieval. When an application or end user transmits a request, the operating system generates SCSI commands and the data request. A packet header is added and sent over an Ethernet connection. When a packet is received, it is decrypted and then disassembled which separates the SCSI commands from the request.

iSCSI storage is an effective method to provide scalable storage space to any number of servers over a network. An iSCSI SAN storage service is a complete solution for local and remote file storage. You have the ability to offload live file serving to one redundant, scalable storage array. With the web management interface, you can set your iSCSI initiators, configure your storage volumes, and perform backups and restores in an instant. With iSCSI, you get high scalability and high performance over a standard IP network.

Beneficial features of iSCSI include: mount logical storage volumes over the network as though they are physical disks placed within the server, additional data redundancy, faster I/O performance than internal disks, highly scalable so storage space can be expanded in an instant, and it is compatible with all servers.

You can buy specific iSCSI plans such as 50 GB at $50/mo, 100 GB at $75/mo, 250 GB at $185/mo, 500 GB at $375/mo, 1000 GB at $750/mo, and 2000 GB at $1500/mo. By combining Ethernet networks with advanced storage features, iSCSI SAN is able to deliver easy storage management and consolidation solutions at affordable prices.

Today, IT professionals require consolidated storage solutions for their vital applications. iSCSI SAN vendors are now able to deliver cost-efficient solutions for storage and data protection. As well, using boot from SAN capability, the servers can be deployed or decommissioned without any application disruptions. Storage consolidation reduces points of management and expands device connectivity and virtualization to deliver a flexible and centralized method of management. The result is less complex infrastructure and a reduction in administrative overhead. Offered by a number of providers, iSCSI SAN is a storage system that is well worth considering

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