Backup Made Easy: A Six Point Guide to Buying Backup Software - WinBackup
v2.0, Part 4 of 4
By Kevin J. Vella, Uniblue Systems
In part three, I
mentioned the six attributes that the backup industry uses to classify the
various features of their products. In this second part, I will explain
each attribute in greater detail so as to give you a thorough knowledge of
what to look for in backup software.
Ease of Use: You need to ask a set of questions in relation to how
easy it is to install and configure the software, to use the product to
back your data and to use the product to restore your data. For example:
Is the install interface clear and unequivocal? Are the steps written in
plain English and do not leave any place for choosing the wrong options?
Is the product easy to use and user friendly? Is the user interface built
in a Windows-familiar environment? Are the user-interface and the commands
intuitive? Does the product allow step-by-step backup and restore? Does
the product allow non-technical users to make use of this product? How
easily can the user browse around the various options to set up backups
and restores? How easily can the user browse around the documents and
application settings to set up backups? Are there any shortcuts to this
data and settings? How easily can the user browse the backup archive to
find and restore multiple or single files?
Value for Money: Money is always an issue, otherwise, we would all
be living the life of the rich and famous! However, this may not always be
the case with backup software. We usually advise people not to look at the
price tag on its own but to make calculations as to the relationship
between price and functionality and price and time spent on backup and
restore. For example, does the vendor offer limited functionality with the
"bare-bones" product and more functionality pricey "add-ons" that only
together will the product provide the required protection? Does the
product sacrifice performance and reliability for price? Are upgrades and
patches available at a charge? In relation to the time factor, buyers must
beware. Beware, some brands may be more costly than others to administer.
If, for example, the compression technology of the particular product is
not strong, it takes longer to perform backups the data backed up is
spread over a larger number of media (taking up more storage space).
Therefore, although a product may be less pricey, it may be more expensive
to run in the long term.
Reliability: The issues of reliability are three-fold - (a) does
the product deliver consistently a 100% accurate restore of the set of
data that was backed up? This includes such aspects as reliable schedules,
accurate reporting and fault logging features (whether you are alerted
when and if things go wrong), and validation of data integrity. Data
validation or verification is extremely important because there are
certain technologies (e.g., bit level validation) that guarantee that your
data restores are 100% accurate. (b) Does the product secure your data
from prying eyes? Although, at face value, this may not be important to
the user, think about whether you would like somebody else to steal your
backup files and looking at (or distributing) your personal data.
Therefore, ask whether the product has password protection and supports
the best levels of encryption. (c) Is the vendor reliable? Does the vendor
provide technical and customer support? Is the vendor slow to answer?
Performance: The product must be fast and it must not sacrifice
sheer power for reliability, value for money, and ease of use. You must be
able to backup your data securely and accurately in a few minutes and not
spend a fortune on such basic functions.
Depth of Feature Set: What features does the product have? How does
the product compare to other vendors? The features that you should have
are - compression, encryption, scheduling and reporting, popular media
support, high data volume support (as few products have actually overcome
the problem of memory leakage), validation or verification of data
integrity, full and incremental backup feature, restore multiple or single
files to original and to any location, and strong fault-logging.
Breadth of Backup and Media Coverage: Finally, make sure that the
product backs up your PC (or notebook) and supports a strong list of
backup storage media including CD, Pen Drives, and Zip Drives.
One final tip: it is important to read the independent reviews on the
various products published by magazines (e.g., PC World, Computer Shopper)
and on technical and similar websites.
Read Part 1 :
Part 2 :
Part 3 : Part 4
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