If you only have an onsite backup, you can’t recover from a catastrophic event. If you only have an offsite backup you can’t quickly recover from a non-catastrophic event. A comprehensive backup and disaster recovery solution must provide you with both onsite and offsite backups and it must keep these synchronized at least daily. It is virtually impossible to keep up-to-date onsite and offsite backups with a manual system (i.e. swapping external hard drives or flash drives). People get sick, take vacations, get busy, and often timely backups get overlooked because their importance isn’t well understood. Only an automated system can give you the 365/24/7 coverage required to protect your vital business information.
To keep both onsite and offsite copies of daily backups for an entire system requires a very intelligent backup solution that is able to track changes to your system not at the file level, but at a much lower level (block level). That way a small change to a large file only requires the backup software to copy the changed blocks and not the entire file. This also insures that even modest (affordable) Internet connections can be utilized to upload your daily backups. Backup systems that are based on tracking changed files (not blocks), must upload an entire file (or database) even if only a small amount of information in the file actually changed. This can often overwhelm your Internet connection and force you to upgrade to a faster (and more expensive) connection before it is really necessary.
Backup systems that only keep offsite copies of your backups are a really bad design because you must upload all your information (which can take weeks or even months) across your Internet connection and until it completes you don’t really have a disaster recovery solution. The real problem with an offsite only backup is revealed when you need to do a complete machine restore. You must download all your information across your Internet connection which can easily take days or even weeks to complete. Since most businesses aren’t prepared to be down for weeks, offsite only backup solutions aren’t really viable (although it might work for a home computer).
shadowSafe always maintains complete onsite and offsite full backup images of your system. Your initial full backup is written to an external drive, shipped to us, and loaded into the servers at our data center. Then we take (at least) daily incremental backups (which are uploaded over your Internet connection) to keep the backups synchronized. Every year we refresh the full backup and repeat the process. If you have a total failure, we can prepare and ship you an external hard drive from our data center as early as the next business day.
Reason 4 - Not providing secure encrypted offsite storage