Not all online backup services are equal. You should consider what features
Reliability: You need to be able to trust the company to take good care
of your data.
Good software: The software you are supplied by the backup provider should
be easy to use, and have the features you want, it should at least include
things like, encryption, compression, and transfer scheduling. You should not
need to be a computer expert to install and run the software. For example, the
software should be smart enough to know where email database files are stored on
the computer. Online backup software should also have the ability to backup open
files, as most services do. Some backup software will create a log of what has
been backed up, this is handy for monitoring backups.
Backup whole files or only parts of the file that have changed: Good
online backup software will have the ability to backup only changes made to a
file. For example, you have a very large file, and you make only a small
modification to that file. If the original has already been backed up online,
then the software should have the ability to extract only the information that
has changed to the original file, and backup only that part. So instead of
sending the whole file online, it will send only the modified parts.
Automatic: The supplied software should have the option to be fully
automated, so no human interaction is needed in the backup process.
Deletion: If you accidentally delete a file on your computer, your online
backup service should not delete the backup file.
Number of computers per account: You should check if there is a limit to
how many computers can use your online backup account simultaneously. Do you
require more than one license for multiple computers?
Data Centers: Is the online backup of your data stored in a single data
center, or at more than one?
Are special features included or do they cost extra: Some backup services
charge extra for special features, which other services may include in the basic
package. Such features may include server backup.
Passwords: Does the online backup provider have a master password to your
data? Can they access your data if they want to? Or are you the only one who can
access the data?
Scalability: Your online service should give you room to grow as your
Continuity: Some backup software allows for backups to be made
continuously, other backup software only creates backups at scheduled times.
Archiving/Versioning: A good backup service will keep multiple versions
of your backup data.
If you accidentally deleted some important information 10 days ago, and you
didn't notice it until today, you would need an older version of the backup than
the one from the day before. This would require your backup provider to keep
multiple versions of your data. Some companies archive backups for 30 days, some
companies keep archive backups until you choose to delete them.
Transferring: How does the service deal with transfer interruptions. For
example, if a large file is being transferred, and the connection gets
interrupted, will the transfer have to begin again or will it continue from the
point of disconnection.
Emergency restoration services: If you suffer large data loss, and
downloading the backup would take a very long time, does the the online backup
service offer to send the backups to you on DVD/CD or external hard disk to help
speed up the restore process? Doe they offer 24/7 support?
Access to the data: How easy is it to access the data online? Can it be
accessed on any computer anywhere in the world through a web interface?
Compliance to applicable Law: Some business types are required by law to
create backups, and keep them for a certain amount of time. So make sure the
online service complies to any laws governing your business type.