The case for off-site data storage

Backing up your data off-site, regardless of the storage system you use in-house, should be a best practice that both large and small companies follow, according to the head of the Levine Financial Group.

Up until recently, the Toronto-based insurance and wealth management firm was using a tape-based storage system as one of its primary data backup devices. The company has now turned to an online backup system for an added level of protection and piece of mind.

“We have two back-up systems that we continue to use; we have mirrored disks on our server and we have tapes that we take home at night,” Elliott Levine, director at Levine Financials, said. “But we didn’t think that was the right way to operate in the 21st century, so we looked for an off-site provider that could basically act as a redundant system for us.”


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To implement the system, Levine Financial hired Toronto-based storage provider Storagepipe Solutions after being impressed with its security, systems and staff. And while Levine Financial has only been a customer for one year, the wealth management company said it’s already had to use the service.

“Very early on in the agreement, we ran into a situation where we had to get a backup of some data very quickly,” Levine said. “We gave them a call and I’d say within minutes, the file was e-mailed to us.”

According to Storagepipe, the biggest benefit of using an off-site, hosted storage system is that it typically removes the responsibility of IT departments to do backups themselves.

“Most small companies don’t even have IT departments,” Steven Rodin, president at Storagepipe, said. “It’s often just a person in the company handling the tape storage, who probably isn’t a back-up recovery specialist. So, in many small businesses, manual and human error becomes a significant concern.”



Rodin said his clients can choose to have continuous data protection services – which scans and backups a company’s systems immediately upon a change – or they can opt for a nightly backup schedule. The automated nature of Storagepipe’s backup administration was particularly important to Levine and his decision to choose the service provider.

“You can’t depend on staff to send the data over every night,” he said. “You need a system that can do it automatically and that’s what Storagepipe does for us every night. It takes the changes in our database over to their system, backs it up and leaves us with nothing to worry about.”

Storagepipe said its service can work with data on Windows and Mac-based laptops and desktops. The ability to remotely backup mobile PCs, Rodin said, might be one of the most attractive features for his clients.

“Laptops are moving around a lot and are not always connected,” he said. “One of the biggest benefits for the road warriors out there in the field making sales calls is that the minute they check into the hotel and get online, they’re data is going to be backed up.”

As for how much Storagepipe’s hosted system will cost, Rodin couldn’t get too specific, but said users can expect to pay about $25 a month on single machine for basic backup capabilities.

“So, even the smallest customers can get started at a very low level and grow from there,” Rodin said. “Companies that are much larger, with a more complicated environment, will allow find that our pricing is affordable and competitive with other internal backup procedures.”

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