Storage-as-a-service (SaaS) companies have changed how they operate compared to the storage service providers of the last decade. When shopping for an online data backup provider, start with this product features checklist.

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  • 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.

About this author: Ellen O'Brien is the site editor of SearchStorage.com

This article was previously published in Storage magazine.

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This was first published in April 2009

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