How to Share Files Online Securely

It is abundantly clear that the Internet, cloud backup, cloud computing, and data storage are changing the way that businesses operate from the ground up, and the trend shows no sign of slowing down. Through the use of these new modes of technology, everyday more and more small to medium-sized businesses are finding it easier to compete with the big corporations as virtualisation and cloud computing become increasingly affordable, and thus accessible, to everyone. At the very centre of this revolution lie the cloud backup and storage service providers, whose advancements in security, file sharing ability, and collaborative computing continue to lead the way in changing how data is being protected and shared by businesses of all types.

Online data backup company’s servers create a virtualised network that is both easy to access for the user and, in order to avoid the possibility of anyone’s data falling into the wrong hands, security-intense in nature as well. This is achieved through the use of advanced methods of file encryption, both while data is being transferred to and from the online backup company, and while in storage on the online backup company’s servers. The servers themselves are run by special software that effectively restricts data access by creating virtual “road blocks” between the files of all users on the system. In addition to this, users can only gain access through a vigorous authentication process, further ensuring the safety of the all the data on the network.

Storing and accessing your company’s data online offers increased flexibility in being able to allow other users to easily access and edit your files. The versatility in which users can share files online is continuing to grow, with nearly all online data storage companies now offering some level of file sharing capabilities. The end result of this is the virtual network ability between any and all computers, with the restrictions of having to be in physical proximity to any individual that you wish to collaborate with becoming less and less important all the time. In addition to this, companies that are taking advantage of these virtualised cloud storage servers end up appearing to their customers and associates to have vastly larger and quicker databases than they would be able to afford and maintain on their own, further levelling the playing field between smaller and larger businesses.

The control of which files are only accessible by the original author and which ones will be shared with other users on the network is, of course, left entirely up to the subscriber. In fact, once the cloud backup service provider’s software client is installed on a business’s computers, they will instantly have control over a whole host of varying levels of security protocols, including the ability to assign users within their own localised networks, and in the cloud, as well. Clients of cloud backup and data storage can stay on top of what is happening with their data through the ability to monitor who has or hasn’t accessed files. Different files can also receive varying degrees of security measures as well, through the creation of multiple user passwords and special, classified links that can be emailed to individuals for temporary access privileges to specific files and folders specified by the user.

File sharing and cloud based data storage is not without its risks. After all, no matter what complex levels of security are supposedly being used, this is still your data we’re talking about here! For this reason, it is of the utmost importance that you choose an online data backup service provider with a proven track record and state of the art security methods.

Backup Technology Limited is so proud that it has never been hacked in any way. It attributes this mostly to the bank grade level of encryption that it employs to all the data on its servers, ensuring that your files are only shared with those whom you deem fit. For more information, please visit

Why is Message Level Restore Advantageous?

An important component of corporate data today is email communication. The high speed interconnected world demands that email messages suffice as orders, offers, acceptances or a host of legal documentation that earlier was exchanged in hard copy. This means that these email messages are extremely important and valuable to the enterprise that has gone electronic. Entire business transactions may be built up on exchange of a few emails between the contracting parties. A number of federal and legal regulations also make it imperative that such email data is preserved securely and are easily accessed at all times for the stipulated number of years. Hence, organisations looking for backup and restore options for their data must also ensure that the backup software in use facilitates email backup and restore.

Email data is unlike other kinds of data. They are blocks of messages that must be saved as a block and restored as a block. There also needs to be decisions around what needs to be backed up for restore. Do we back up whole mail boxes or do we back up individual messages or groups of messages? If the backup software selected does not allow mail level, group level or message level restore, enterprises are likely to find them selves extremely handicapped. The more granular the level of restore, the better will be the flexibility in backing up and restoring enterprise mails. Additionally, granular message level restores will save enterprises a packet in terms of space and monetary outlay.

Message level restores are possible and enabled in most backup/restore software to restore messages. The advantage, that is immediately visible, is that the operations are directed towards protecting and restoring individual or group emails without interrupting the functioning of the email server. Industries with compliance mandates that must meet several Federal regulations regarding access to electronic data and information find this feature in backup and restore operations extremely useful as it allows them to securely retain only those messages that have significant business value from a mass of irrelevant mail that is received. This feature also safeguards these industries against accidental deletion from the mailbox or from messages.

Another advantage of the message level restore is that the selection and restoration of individual mailboxes is possible by use of filters that are built into the backup and restore software. Agentless backup/restore software like Asigra allows restoration of single user mailboxes or restoration of mails on an entire network. While mail clients make this process extremely cumbersome and unwieldy, single mail or mailbox level restore features in backup software optimise restore operations and even allow messages to be restored to the original location or new location with ease.

In instances where image level backup of the exchange server has been done, it is possible to mount and browse the Exchange database at individual data or mailbox level without having to go into the trouble of mounting the database to a Recovery Storage Group and running compatible utilities to access the database.

The greatest advantage of Message Level Restore process is that the system allows streamlined restoration of messages to any kind of hardware at any location even from multiple sites located at different points on the network. Bare metal restores permit the recovery of email and other data without having to reinstall the operating system or redefining hardware configurations. Agentless backup and restore software offer email / message level restore services as an integrated service at no additional cost.

TechTrade Yorkshire - Backup Technology

ClouDRaaS at TechTrade Yorkshire

We are delighted to announce that we are exhibiting at the inaugural Techtrade Yorkshire event at Elland Road in Leeds on September 8th.

The whole day promises to be a great opportunity for everyone working in the IT industry in the region to learn from and network with each other as well as the region’s business leaders.

There are some great speakers lined up and our Disaster Recovery specialists will be on hand on Stand 43 to demonstrate our world-leading ClouDRaaS solution and to discuss the challenges you face around data and your IT infrastructure.

If you would like to book an appointment please click here to give us your details.

You can find out more about event here. Tickets for IT decision-makers are FREE.

Look forward to seeing you there!


The Role of Alerts in Automatic Cloud Backup Systems

Automatic backup of crucial application types and data files is the ideal. However, the identification of what is crucial to you is a manual process that cannot be avoided. You need to spend some time and effort in identifying the crucial file types and instructing the backup system to automatically backup the files identified by you every time the backup schedule kicks into action.

Before launching on to a discussion of automated backup systems, let us clear away some cobwebs.

Automated backup systems are computer programs designed by human beings with limited knowledge of your business or any other business. The person designing the program can, at best, apply some generic information in creating the logic of the program. Therefore, most automatic backup solutions are programmed to assume that all documents, images and some pre-specified generic file types might be important to you. Consequently, the automatic backup system will–in default mode–backup any documents, images and generic file types that are available on your system.

However, these programs are also designed to receive inputs from end users that can override the default and create a system that automatically backups all files, folders and applications types that you consider crucial to your organisation. To this end, many online backup service providers offer user-friendly screens to end users for selection of files, folders and application types that they consider important for regular, scheduled or automatic backup.

Alternately, they offer snapshot backup for those who are unsure about what they want to backup and what they would prefer to leave out. Snapshot backups will create point in time snapshots of your entire system and backup it up to the online backup server.

How does all this work? Online backup service providers require you to download a client component when you sign up for their service. The client component contains a set of wizards that allow you to select Backup sets for scheduling your automated backups. A backup set is a set of files, folders and applications that you want to backup at scheduled intervals automatically. The wizard screens are similar to the Windows Explorer and some of them even have a drag and drop facility for identifying and selecting files and folders for automated backup.

Alternately, you can specify file extensions for backup and the wizard will select all the files with the specified extension for backup. It is also possible to identify specific folders to the program by specifying the folder path. Once a backup set has been created, you will need to specify whether you would like these files or folders backed up continuously or at specified times. Thereafter, you can sit back and relax and the automated backup will happen on schedule.

But, online automated backup failures are not uncommon! Since it is automated, you may forget to check whether the backup really happened! Automated backup systems acknowledge these possibilities. The automated backup system will alert you if an automated backup schedule has failed with a pop alert that draw your attention or will create a report on the cause of the failures for your consumption when you check back on the backup.

Most online backup service providers also have an inbuilt alert facility on their server side program to alert you via email if your automated backup has failed. If you choose to ignore the email or fail to check on your email, a few online backup service providers have a system of live help on phone to inform you about automated backup failures; the causes; what you need to do to rectify the problem at your end or how the problem is being rectified at their end and so on.

In other words, while automated backup of crucial files and folders is convenient, it is a freedom that comes with a different kind of responsibility. You need to choose the files and folders for automated backup with care and application of mind (failure to select a file type or folder could result in data loss); you need to react to backup failure alerts instantly; constantly monitor the backup system and study the different logs to ensure that the automated backup is happening regularly and on schedule without hiccups. You will have to work with your service provider to ensure that hardware and software problems do not interfere with the automated backup system.

Points to Consider Before Selecting the Best Cloud Backup Provider

Cloud backup has become popular in the cloud technology space due to its automation capability, effectiveness and reliability. Advanced cloud backup technology offers a variety of services to customers and businesses. Therefore, it has become essential to consider basic factors before selecting a backup service provider. Businesses must know the relevant questions to distinguish between business grade and customer-focused services in order to meet their needs.

Versatility and Performance

Companies could reduce data backup time if they choose a cloud backup services.  It is a specialty service that provides not only faster backups, but also faster restores as compared to traditional options, like tape.

There are many backup service providers that offer remarkable figures to show how helpful their procedure is in minimizing the data volume that is backed up on daily basis. The statistics differ in various environments, so it is essential to get proof of advertized statistics. In addition, the service must support different type of platforms and apps like Mac, UNIX, Linux, Windows, Oracle, Dynamics, SharePoint, SQL Server, VMWare, Hyper-V, and Microsoft Exchange.

Questions to Ask:

1/ How does the duplication process work? Is the process file level or block level?

2/ What is the type of applications and operating systems that are supported by this technology?

3/ Is it possible to use a customized service to meet business needs?

4/ Is it a hybrid cloud supported service?

Compliance and Security

When companies manage confidential information, it is obligatory to consider compliance and security measures. Many service providers give guarantees of encrypted data at all stages. They make sure that the encryption key is not accessible by employees or other third party service providers.

Some service providers are ISO certified, perhaps ISO 9001 and ISO 27001. These certificates give proof that the service provider has serious intentions towards data protection and management.

Some companies are unwilling to backup their data outside of Europe or USA due to security concerns and legislative issues. Before selecting a service provider, companies need to check as to where the data will reside.

Questions for Comparing Service Providers

1/ How does this service provider encrypt data?

2/ Does the provider focus on consumers or is it a business solution?

3/ What are the types of data centers in which data will be stored?

4/ Will the service provider deduplicate data? If so, what is the procedure of deduplicating encrypted data?

5/ Is the provider certified for an ISO? (ISO 9001 and ISO 27001)


Pricing is an important factor for businesses while considering a backup service provider. Transferring expenses from CAPEX to OPEX model is a significant factor; as many companies have a preference for CAPEX for accounting purposes. Some service providers can give high value and quality service with reasonable rates that can meet business needs of all customers.

Questions to Ask

1/ Does the provider charge for download and upload of data?

2/ Does the price depend on licensing or cost per GB?

3/ Are there any extra charges?

4/ Does the provider send quarterly, monthly or annual bill with arrears or in advance?

Availability and Service Levels

To select a reliable platform, get some references from existing customers in similar industry. Companies can ask about assurances related to uptime, downtime, the type of disk to save data (age, RAID and drive specification), nature of resilience in network, location of the support team and their availability through email and telephone.

Vendor lock-in

Before finalizing a provider, ask about their shortest contract period and the level of services they provide. Inquire about restrictions regarding terminating the service, cost and procedure for accessing and downloading data after cancelling the agreement.


Best Practises to Protect and Recover Data — Part II

In Part I, we discussed best data protection practices, such as developing plans, how to handle devices, checking for legal obligations, setting up metrics, and restricting access. In Part II, we will continue discussing further best data protection practices.

6/ Centralised Data Management

It is important to update data through reporting, monitoring and policy enforcement through centralised management policy. It will help new employees as there will be just one system to understand.

7/ How Employees Should Work?

Companies must understand how their staff should respond to the recovery plan. There must be some formal benchmarks, ways to improve performance of staff and to make data effective.

8/ Check and Re-Check the Plan

To meet compliance standards, big companies are bound to check their plans. Small companies can practice their specific standards to test how much time recovery plans take in case of any failure. Complexity or depth of a plan must be related to cost analysis (hourly cost when data is not in access).

9/ Backup Frequency

To reduce the risk of data loss, companies need to have frequent backups at geographically dispersed locations. This means, redundancies should be in place. The key is to know your data so that you can store them in tiers, with mission-critical data segregated and stored in highly available vaults, where as, older, less accessed data stored in cheaper servers.

10/ Damaged Hard Drive

If your hard drive fails, you are better off calling a data recovery expert rather than trying to figure out yourself. Data recovery specialists have years of experience dealing with hard drive failures.

11/ Pick the Right Provider

Choose established experts that use clean rooms and are credible. Read customers reviews on these companies before making a decision. Contact their references,

Sometimes, even the best practices could go wrong; so firms must adopt some precautionary measures to retrieve information:

  • Use free utilities to help you retrieve data from USB sticks or hard drives, while making sure that they provide support and are free from malware. Select the most reasonable tools to restore data accurately and quickly.
  • Use cloud storage and local hard drives simultaneously for reliable backups in order to eliminate the chances of data loss.
  • Implement data centre redundancy for maximum protection. Avoiding redundancy to save a little is not wise.
  • Search a partner that is well-reputed and who can provide round the clock support through phone and email.

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