Articles & Guides

What Happens If You Lose Your Internet Connection When Using an Online Backup System?

Cliff Boodoosingh on July 08, 2009
In the early days of online backup, some people may have had concerns about online storage due to the misconception that an Internet connection was required at all times in order for these systems to work. In reality, online backup systems have come a long way in recent years, and are now able to operate reliably when your Internet connection gives you problems. 

 In the past, backups were done manually using physical devices like tape drives, DVD burners, and external hard drives. This posed many problems from a business continuity standpoint.

• Often, the data is stored off-site and never taken to a secondary location. In the case of a robbery or fire, this can cause serious critical data loss problems.
• When the data is taken off-site, it’s difficult to access in an emergency. In order to obtain the backup copy, someone must drive to the storage site, then drive back, and finally install the data.  This can be very time-consuming in an emergency where the “magic hour” is key.
• With physical media, you’re often restricted to daily backups. This means that you could potentially lose up to 24 hours of data in an emergency.
• Traditional backup devices are usually left unencrypted, and are a prime target for information thieves and internal sabotage.  (Even the Office of the President of the USA is not immune to this.)

This explains why online backup has gained such popularity in recent years. Given that the connectivity challenge had previously been “a questionable link in the chain”, online storage providers have since come up with some innovative solutions for preserving your business continuity.

Slow or Busy Connections

Although the initial full backup upload will inevitably take a lot of time, the incremental changes afterwards will take up much less bandwidth. With a good quality online backup provider, it’s possible to get “block level” incremental file uploads for your data. This simply means that the application will analyze your files, and only upload the portion that has changed since your last upload. Using this technique, it’s possible to upload your files using only a fraction of the bandwidth that would be normally required for the entire file. 

Lost Connection During The Backup Process

If you should temporarily lose your internet connection during the backup process, most online backup systems will go on “stand-by” mode, and wait until the connection comes back. As soon as a connection is detected again, the system will pick up right from where it left off. This all happens automatically in the background. Some online backup systems also take the added step of uploading data continuously throughout the day every time a file is saved, rather than doing one batch upload at the end of the day. This way, it’s possible to eliminate large backup windows that might pose a challenge in case of an internet outage.
Lost Connection During The Recovery Process

Another common concern for any computer user is the possibility of losing internet access to their online backups at the moment they need to recover. Many online backup solutions today have addressed this concern by allowing you to create a local partition on your hard drive that contains multiple “versioned” backup copies of your data.

This acts as a local backup, which is good enough to protect you in the event of the most common data disasters. In the event of a full system crash, an online backup system is still a more reliable way of getting your data back than with traditional physical media backups. It takes much less time to find another Internet access point than it would to drive to your offsite storage location and back again. Once you’ve located an Internet access point, it’s simply a matter of selecting your most critical files first, and then quickly downloading them to the system. This is much more convenient than the old fashioned alternative.

Although online backup will never be able to operate 100% Internet-free, today’s systems are durable, resilient and designed for all of your most challenging data recovery scenarios. When compared to traditional manual backup techniques, online backup is simply safer, more secure and more reliable.

About The Author:
Storagepipe Solutions provides online backup systems and email archiving services which are secure and reliable.

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