By Ben Puzzuoli, Technical Sales Director at KineticD
June 17, 2011

KineticD Online Data Backup Expert Tips: The Many Advantages of Continuous Online Data Backup

As any user of online data backup knows, one of the biggest advantages to backing up in the cloud is the fact that backups can be automatically scheduled, making for one less task that has to be monitored by a company’s IT department, while also eradicating any chance for human error to get in the way of the scheduled backup process.  However, recent advances in online data backup technology have brought about yet another level of consistent, dependable data backup practices; continuous online data backup.

With continuous online data backup (also known as continuous data protection or real-time backup), your small to medium-sized business can enjoy the peace of mind of knowing that anytime certain files are modified in any way that this change in information will be automatically sent off to the online backup provider’s servers, offering you true continuous protection from data loss.  Indeed, even the tiniest change in a file will be instantly copied to the online data backup servers at the time that the user makes it, and, through the use of a process called “file versioning”, previous versions of files will be available for retrieval from the online backup cache, even if these versions no longer exist on the company’s system!  Critical to this process is the automatic generation of a time stamp to go along with each new version of a file that is being automatically saved, rendering the finding of the correct previous version of a file easily and quickly achieved.

Interestingly enough, despite the fact that the word “continuous” makes it sound as if continuous backup is indeed “more backing up” than scheduled backups, continuous backups actually take up much less bandwidth and system resources, with only the parts of files that have been changed being backed up, and not the whole file.  These changes are often quite small, sometimes only amounting to a few bytes of data, so system resources are thus preserved at both ends.  For this reason, continuous data protection is the ideal backup solution for any company that finds it difficult to find consistent times when their networks are dormant enough to perform all their backups at once without detracting from system performance.  In the same way, companies that are generating large quantities of highly important data 24/7 also benefit greatly from this cutting edge data protection technology.

Of course, regardless of the myriad advantages brought about by continuous data protection, most enterprises do not implement this function for all their files, with a hybrid arrangement of both continuous and scheduled backups usually resulting in the most efficient overall backup scenario.  Oftentimes companies will choose to implement continuous backup only on files that are frequently modified and thus more potentially subject to being saved incorrectly or even corrupted during the saving process.  Also, it should be mentioned that, as far as the taxing of system resources and disk write operation are concerned, continuous data backup works better for smaller files than it does larger ones, so usually the administrator of the online backup account will designate a cut-off point for file sizes to be backed up continuously, avoiding potential bottlenecks that could take place if multiple employees happen to all begin modifying relatively large files at the same time.

Finally, in addition to helping to protect companies from data loss, continuous online data backup can also protect you from file corruption as well.  In the event of data corruption, due to either disk write errors or even computer viruses, continuous data protection can allow you to easily retrieve previously saved, uncorrupted versions that may not still be saved on the company’s computers or databases.  Of course, some data loss might still occur for any file information that was generated after the corruption took place.  However, having said that, the implementation of a “journaling file system” (a method of saving data that can be configured in some operating systems, wherein changed data is stored on a “journal file” before being committed to the main file system) can bring about a scenario in which companies can even restore file information that was created after a file became corrupted!

Needless to say, we here at KineticD know a little bit about continuous online data backup.  In fact, so much so that our Continuous Backup technology, a key component of our KineticSecure suite of online backup services for small to mid-sized businesses, is a patented process that no other online backup service provider can offer!  Using this technology, KineticSecure constantly monitors you system for files or folders that have been modified and then continuously copies just the part of the data that has been changed, compresses that data and then encrypts it so that it can be sent quickly and safely back to our servers in order to be instantly ready for retrieval if ever the need arises!  In addition to this, our state of the art client software automatically senses how many employees are accessing the system at a given time and throttles bandwidth appropriately when usage levels are at their highest, so your company’s system performance will never be compromised in any way due to the continuous backup process.

About the author: Ben Puzzuoli is Technical Sales Director at KineticD, a Toronto based online data backup service provider.

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