Outline is incredibly excited to kick off our featured blog series by speaking with one of our premiere backup partners, Retrospect.
In order to garner advice on small business trends, specifically in the backup space, we discussed the following questions with Retrospect and are pleased to share the conversation below.
Given recent events, you are not going to want to miss the advice on Ransomware!
When to add dedicated backup
Small businesses are faced with a tough balance of managing rapid data growth that often outpaces a lean budget. Is there a good recommendation for when a business should look at dedicated backup solutions to add on top of tools like OneDrive, G-Suite, or the native backup in their SaaS apps? (Perhaps when reaching a certain GB size, or when using intensive applications like SQL?)
Retrospect Backup provides an insurance policy for your business data. You have insurance for your office, your house, your car, and your health. Your business data deserves one too. Utilizing RAID storage and/or a cloud synchronization tool is a great start to making sure your data is safe, but allows for multiple points of failure, as well as limited management of true retention needs.
Retrospect manages your backups allowing you to work more and worry less, with affordable, simple, yet powerful protection of your servers, databases, and workstations. You never know when something bad will happen to your computer (malware, hardware failure, accidental deletion, or a local disaster), so when disaster strikes, just click for a 100% accurate restore.
Everything in the Cloud
With an extensive list of Global, Regional, and Certified cloud partners (We counted over 20!) Retrospect appears to really promote flexible offsite storage. Still, with Backup 17, customers retain the ability to utilize their local storage. Does this come down to preference and unique business requirements or does Retrospect have a preferred / recommended balance between local and cloud backup for smaller businesses?
Retrospect hybrid capability allows you to implement a complete backup strategy following the 3-2-1 backup rule–3 copies of your data with 2 media types and 1 offsite. Combining local disks and cloud storage locations is a common pattern for a small business backup strategy. An available backup on a local disk translates into very fast recovery time, as the local network allows for much higher bandwidth.
Local storage also allows you to protect large volumes, or archive data inexpensively. A remote backup on a cloud storage location insulates your business data from disaster, malware, and other problems that arise. So for the best of both worlds determine your RPO and RTO objects to properly balance the two options.
Multi-cloud (too advanced for small business?)
We’re seeing cloud platforms target cohesiveness through increasingly popular “Multi-Cloud” environments. While we’re big fans of backup tools that promote data sharing, do you see multi-cloud as an Enterprise only feature or one that smaller businesses can also take advantage of?
Utilizing multiple cloud targets is not too advanced for small businesses. Retrospect allows you to back up between clouds or move backups from one to a new cloud provider. Going beyond the 3-2-1 backup rule gives you extra data insurance. You can choose to utilize a second cloud storage location (a 3-2-2 strategy), or NAS, tape, and cloud (3-3-2) for further redundancy. Retrospect now also offers DMS (Data Mobility Suite) to allow for real-time synchronization between cloud volumes and local storage. Remember, an ounce of protection is worth a pound of cure!
Access Data Anywhere (on the go?)
Perhaps a similar question, how does Retrospect see backup technology evolving to meet the demands of mobile workforces that need data on the go, across different devices?
Remote employees pose a significant challenge to legacy backup systems. Their endpoint needs data protection, but with ubiquitous cloud services like Office 365 and Dropbox, those employees don’t need to log into the VPN on their laptop to get work done. Without a VPN, legacy backup systems cannot back up these desktops and laptops because the agents are behind firewalls and routers with network address translators (NATs).
With Retrospect Backup, every employee’s data can be protected. Retrospect Backup provides multiple solutions, depending on the optimal configuration for your business.
With Remote Backup, remote employee endpoints can be automatically added to a Retrospect Backup instance inside the corporate firewall and protected with a ProactiveAI (Policy Based) script.
Basically, say backup these end points once a day and let Retrospect handles everything from there. There are no router changes needed on the employee’s side, and the IT administrator can make a simple change on the corporate firewall to forward inbound connections to Retrospect Backup. Remote employees are able to use on-demand restore to get files fast without assistance. Automatic Onboarding makes it simple to deploy the Retrospect Client agent to your remote employees. Add a free centralized management console, anti-ransomware support, geo-tracking, and executive security reporting, and you are set no matter where your end point is located!
It’s an interesting concept to utilize blockchain ledgers to prevent backup forgeries and give customers peace of mind their data is secure and unaltered. Would you say Retrospect is a fan of blockchain technology in this sense or do you see this as just another unnecessary buzz word that is no more secure than end to end encryption?
I’d say the truth is somewhere in between. I’d hardly call blockchain technology an unnecessary buzzword, but at the same time, it isn’t the only tool to make sure your backup data is secure and unaltered. Retrospect v18 supports object locking and setting immutable retention periods for backups stored on the cloud.
In a real sense, this is superior to blockchain, as blockchain only provides a mechanism to detect that the data has been altered and doesn’t actually prevent the alteration from happening. While Retrospect does not currently use blockchain, we do have several tools for validating the backups were successfully written as well as verifying the data set remains good.
Ransomware (still a major concern?)
It’s been 30 years since the first reported case of Ransomware and the conversation is still highly prevalent today. Does Retrospect still see this as the main security threat to backups? Besides the obvious, “Don’t open questionable emails”, how can businesses work with Retrospect to stop even the most advanced cases of Ransomware?
Ransomware has become a global threat, affecting homes and businesses across the globe. According to Kaspersky, ransomware attacks, such as WannaCry, Petya, and NotPetya, have increased by 250% in 2017. WannaCry in particular has hit thousands of businesses, including high-profile organizations like the U.K.’s National Health Service, with estimated damages exceeding $1 billion dollars.
Let’s walk through the five essential steps to ensuring your business is protected against ransomware, so that if it hits your computer, your business will be restored quickly.
Step 1: System Protection
The first critical step to protecting your business from ransomware is system updates and anti-malware software. Keep your systems up to date with the latest patches provided by the manufacturers. Beyond system updates, it’s a good IT practice to run anti-malware software to prevent as many variants as possible. However, the only sure prevention is to prepare your business for an attack. That’s why every business needs to prioritize backups of their infrastructure, the number one solution against an attack.
Step 2: Endpoint Protection
Malware can hit any computer in your environment. You need to protect every computer, not just your server or file share.
Backup less with features like smart incremental backups, file-level deduplication, proactive backups, block-level incremental backups, and script hooks. Retrospect makes it easy to protect every computer in your environment, be it Windows, Mac and Linux desktops, laptops, and servers. Retrospect backs up each computer quickly and automatically according to a dynamic schedule, so your computers will be fully protected against attacks.
Step 3: 3-2-1 Backup Strategy
IT administrators know the best strategy for data protection is the 3-2-1 backup strategy: 3 copies of your data, 2 different formats, 1 offsite location. With three copies of your data–on your computer, on local storage, and on offsite storage– you’ll be able to recover from ransomware quickly and get your business back up and running. Cloud storage is a great way to manage offsite protection because the storage isn’t mounted as a volume on your computer like local hard drives or network-attached storage (NAS), so malware does not have access to it. Moreover, our offsite protection fully supports advanced encryption like AES-256 and immutable backups for complete security.
Step 4: Detection
Ransomware encrypts the user files on a computer, so monitoring your backups routinely can help detect that you have been attacked. A sudden spike in data being backed up may be an indication that ransomware has encrypted your machine. Retrospect makes it easy for you to spend less time managing, by monitor backups with a web-based central management console, executive reporting, security issues reported, policy-based retention periods, and extensive email reporting.
Step 5: Recovery
If your business is hit with ransomware. do not pay the ransom. There is no guarantee that you’ll get your data back.
Instead, if you have a full system backup using Retrospect, erasing your hard-drive, and restoring from a known safe backup is your best guarantee. With Retrospect’s Disaster Recovery, you can restore your full system using a clean snapshot prior to the attack. Anti-Ransomware tools help you secure, manage and monitor against incursion.
Retrospect can run 16 simultaneous restores, so if you have multiple computers affected, you can restore them all at the same time.
Regarding the causes of data loss and unrecoverable data, the most frequently cited reason was that data was lost in the gap between backups. Easily create a policy-based schedule (once an hour, once a day) to make sure the length of time between backups is not long for your recovery point objectives (RPOs) and recovery time objectives (RTOs)
Perhaps no title holds more hats than the small business owner. That’s why Outline loves technology that goes to work for the user and really tries to accomplish some of the more remedial and time consuming tasks. Is this how you would classify RetrospectAI and can you give us an idea of how it might make day to day operations just a little less stressful so we can focus on the 100s of other tasks in the business?
If we were naming this feature today, we would call this Policy Backup as you, the administrator, set a simple policy, like I want these sources to be backed up every day and Retrospect handles the scheduling. Add AI and you have a policy based backed up that can adjust according to availability and need (say one computer shows up earlier than needed, and one computer is 2 days out of pocket). ProactiveAI scheduling will adjust the scheduling to make sure the best backup option is chosen without the backup administrator’s interjection.
In a regular backup schedule, you set the exact time the backup will begin – which is great if you are backing up your email or source-control server, but less good when Alice, Bob and Chris shut their lids to go meet with a customer right before the backup kicks off. A regular script just logs an error and moves on to the next schedule. Proactive sees Bob and Chris come back an hour later and starts the backup then. Even better, if Bob was backed up yesterday, but Chris has been out of town for the week, a Proactive schedule will back Chris up first.
Retrospect Backup sends its ProactiveAI statuses to Retrospect Management Console, where they are summarized. You can see which sources are protected or not protected with ProactiveAI and their respective statuses. Leveraging intelligent information for better data protection.
Artificial intelligence might seem exotic and complicated, but machine learning algorithms are actually straight-forward to understand. ProactiveAI is no different. Under the hood, the ProactiveAI algorithm is a list of choices (a decision tree) that taking into account past events. ProactiveAI, backup scripts will optimize the backup window for the entire environment, to ensure every source is protected as often as possible.
Where does Retrospect shine that others don’t?
Backup can be a crowded space filled with claims like “Fastest ROI”, “Most Secure”, and “Innovative Compression”. Where do you see Retrospect really outshining the competition in terms of performance, return on investment, and our personal preference, ease of management?
Simple to answer, Retrospect provides the most cost-effective customizable data protection solution for any type of business. With Retrospect you Backup Less. Manage Less, Worry Less.
Retrospect’s customizable incremental snapshots always allows for efficiency, deduplication and 100% target accurate restores! No fly by night solution as Retrospect has been trusted disaster recovery solution for over 30 years.
Unique policy based self-adjusting backups for end-point protection. Windows, Mac, and Virtual editions, all provide hybrid support for on-premises and cloud-based media targets. Add the ability to back up to the cloud, from the cloud, in the cloud, or with no cloud while creating immutable backup retention policies and you have a solution that can do it all.
With Retrospect Less = More!