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SaaS shopping list

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When shopping for an online backup provider, start with this product features checklist.
  • 24/7 monitoring: Check on how you receive reports of trouble

  • Available storage tiers: Storage tiers can reduce costs

  • Continuous protection: Changes to data are continuously captured and transmitted

  • Data compression: They may use deduplication, data compression or both

  • Data storage facility: Determine how many they have and which certifications they hold

  • End-to-end encryption: Data should be encrypted at rest and in-flight

  • File-restore method: Some push files back to the original server online by default. Others let you choose the original location or an alternate one

  • Laptop and desktop backup support: You might need this someday

  • Network efficiency: Vendor should support network throttling

  • On-demand restores: Administrators have the ability to initiate restores at any time

  • Open-file management: This is a native feature to many SaaS offerings

  • Performance SLAs: Look for high-availability guarantees

  • Remote offices: Find out whether you have enough bandwidth

  • User trouble-ticket integration: Ask for customer examples

  • VMware support: Ask whether granular restores on individual machines are provided

  • Web-based customer portal: Helps provide visibility and control

  • Your infrastructure: Find out whether you need to do any upgrades to get started
Sources: Forrester Research Inc.'s 2008 Market Overview: Backup Software-As-A-Service report and Gartner Inc.'s Online Server Backup Services Vie for SMBs, Remote Servers 2Q08 update

This was first published in August 2008

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