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Outsourcing backup: Get the right service level agreement

What you will learn: This podcast offers information on how to make sure that a SLA meets your needs and requirements when outsourcing backup

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Getting the terms of your service level agreement (SLA) locked down is essential when outsourcing backup. You really need to make sure that your demands can be addressed before committing to an agreement with a service provider. And, you need to have it all in writing. Backups are worthless if you can't restore the data. If you are going to put your data in someone else's hands, you need to ensure that they can meet your recovery time objective (RTO) for restores.

This podcast discusses the pros and cons of outsourced backup, so you can decide if it is the right fit for your organization. It also outlines important elements to consider when negotiating your SLA, as well as essential things to consider about your own environment.

Some of the topics covered include:

  • What are your data recovery needs? It's essential to be able to communicate your needs to the service provider.
  • How fast can your data be restored? Question your service provider about its infrastructure and bandwidth.
  • Do you have the proper hardware? If you suffer data loss due to a physical disaster, you need to have the proper hardware back in place before you can restore anything.
  • What are the contractual obligations of the SLA? Be sure to negotiate strong penalties for missed deadlines. Think of it this way: A warranty on a jet engine is great, but if your engine dies at 50,000 feet, the warranty is meaningless.
  • Does your service provider have a solid disaster recovery plan in place? We've all heard about the Iron Mountain fire. Be sure that your data is adequately protected. It's ultimately your responsibility.
  • Download "Outsourcing backup: Get the right service level agreement".

    About the author: Pierre Dorion is a certified business continuity professional for Mainland Information Systems Inc.


This was first published in July 2007

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