Tag Archives: Backblaze Business Backup

The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Backing Up: Startup Edition

Post Syndicated from Patrick Thomas original https://www.backblaze.com/blog/entrepreneurs-guide-to-backing-up/

a vault with Backblaze Storage Pods inside

Editor’s Note: At Backblaze, the entrepreneurial spirit is in our DNA: Our founders started out in a cramped Palo Alto apartment, worked two years without pay, and bootstrapped their way to the stable, thriving startup we are today. We’ve even written a series about some of the lessons we learned along the way.

But Backblaze is a sample size of one, so we periodically reach out to other experts to expand our startup test cases and offer more insights for you. In that regard, we’re happy to invite Lars Lofgren to the blog.

As the CEO of Quick Sprout—a business focused on helping founders launch and optimize their businesses—Lars is a wellspring of case studies on how businesses both do and do not succeed. We asked Lars for advice on one subject near and dear to our hearts: Business Backup. He’s boiled down his learnings into a quick guide for backing up your business today. We hope you find Lars’ guidance and stories useful—if you have any tips or experience with business backup please share them in the comments below.

Proof of Backblaze's start in a Palo Alto Apartment
Backblaze’s first office. All computers pictured were definitely backed up.

How to Make Your Business Unbreakable

by Lars Lofgren, CEO, Quick Sprout

Launching a new business is thrilling. As someone who has been in on the ground floor of several startups, there’s nothing else like it: You’re eager to get started and growth seemingly can’t come soon enough.

But in the midst of all of this excitement, there’s a to-do list that’s one-thousand tasks deep. You’ve already gone through the tedious process of registering your business, applying for an EIN, opening new bank accounts, and launching your website. So many entrepreneurs want to dive right into generating revenue, but there’s still a ton to do.

Backing anything up is usually the last thing anyone wants to think about. But backups need to be a priority for every new business owner, because losing precious data or records could be beyond detrimental to your success. A computer accident, office fire, flood, ransomware attack, or some other unforeseen calamity could set you back months, years, or in many cases, end your business entirely. Earlier this week, I watched a fire in my neighborhood completely engulf a building. Three businesses went up in smoke and the fire department declared a total loss for all three. I hope they had backups.

Spending a little time on backups in the early stages of your launch won’t just save your company from disaster, it will make your business unbreakable.

Even if your company has been in business for a while, there’s still time for you to implement a data backup plan before it’s too late. And knowing what to back up will save you time, money, and countless headaches. Here are six simple steps to guide you:

Backing Up Hard Drives

Hard drives are like lightbulbs. It’s not a matter of if they will go out, it’s a matter of when.

Drives Have 3 Distinct Failure Rates

As more time passes, there becomes a greater chance that your hard drives will fail. For those of you who are interested in learning more about hard drive failures, Andy Klein, Backblaze’s Director of Compliance, recently published the most recent hard drive statistics here.

Take a moment to think about all of the crucial information that’s been compiled on your hard drive over the last few months. Now, imagine that information getting wiped clean. One morning you wake up and it’s just gone without a trace. In the blink of an eye, you’re starting from nothing. It’s a scary thought and I’ve seen it happen to too many people. Losing files at the wrong moment could cause you to miss out on a critical deal or delay major projects indefinitely. Timing is everything.

So when it comes to your hard drives, you need to set up some type of daily backups as soon as possible. Whatever backup tool you decide to go with, just make sure you’re fully covered and prepared for the worst. The goal is to be able to fully recover a hard drive at a moment’s notice.

Once you’ve covered that first step, consider adding a cloud backup solution. Cloud storage is much more reliable than a series of physical backup drives.

Backing Up Email

I would be lost without email.

For me, this might actually be the most important part of my business to back up. My email includes all of my contacts, my entire work history, and the logins for all of my accounts. Everything I do on a day-to-day basis stems from my email. You might not rely on it as heavily as I do, but I’m sure that email still plays a crucial role in your business.

Today, most of us are already using cloud services, like G Suite, so we rarely think about backing up our email. And it’s true that your email won’t be lost if your computer gets damaged or your hard drive fails. But if you lost access to your login or your email account was corrupted, it would be devastating.

And it does happen. I’ve come across a few folks who were locked out of their email accounts by Google with no explanation. I’m sure there are bad actors out there abusing Google’s tools, but it’s also very possible for accounts to be accidentally shut down, too.

Even normal business operations result in lost email and documents. If your business has employees, put this at the top of your priority list. Any turnover usually results in losing that employee’s email history. For the most part, their emails will be deleted when the user is removed from your system, but there’s a good chance that you’re going to need access to those emails. Just because that employee is gone, it doesn’t mean that their responsibilities disappear.

While it’s possible to export your G Suite data, you’d then be on the hook for doing this regularly and storing your exports securely. In my opinion, this requires too much manual work and leaves room for error.

I’d recommend going through the G Suite Marketplace to find an app that can handle all of your backups automatically in the cloud. (Editor’s note: For the easiest, most reliable solution, we recommend Google Vault.) Once you set this up, you’ll never have to worry about your G Suite data again. Even if it somehow gets corrupted, you’ll always be able to restore it quickly.

What about Office 365 and Outlook? It’s easy to backup Outlook manually by exporting your entire inbox. There are also ways to back up your company’s email with Exchange Online. The best method will depend on your exact implementation of Outlook at your company.

For those of you managing email on your own network who don’t plan to move to a cloud-based email service, just ensure your existing backups cover your email or find a way to ensure they do as soon as possible.

Backing Up Your Website

If your website goes down, or, even worse, you become a victim of malware, you’ll lose the lifeblood of your business: new customers.

People hack websites all the time in order to spread viruses and malware. Small businesses and startups are an easy target for cybercriminals because their sites often aren’t protected as well as those of larger companies. If something horrible like this happens, you’ll need to reset your entire site to protect your business, customers, and website visitors.

This process is a whole lot easier when you have website backups. So, when you create your website, make daily backups a priority from the outset. Start with your web host. Contact them to see what kind of backups they offer. Their answer could ultimately sway you to use one web host over another. For those of you who are using WordPress, there are lots of different plugins that offer regular backups. I’ve reviewed the best options and covered this topic more extensively here.

Generally speaking, website backups will not be free. But paying for a high-quality backup solution is well worth the cost, and far less expensive than the price of recovering from a total loss without backups.

This will also protect you and your employees from the fallout of launching a bug that accidentally brings the whole website down. Unfortunately, this happens more often than any of us would like to admit. Backups make this an embarrassing error, rather than a fatal one.

Backing Up Paperwork

Being 100% paper-free isn’t always an option. Even though the vast majority of documentation has transitioned to digital, there are still some forms that stubbornly remain in paper. No matter how hard I try, I still get stuck with paper documents for physical receipts, some tax filings, and some government paperwork.

When you launch your business, you will generate a batch of paper records that will slowly grow over time. Keeping these papers neatly organized in a filing cabinet is important, but this only helps with storage. Paper documents are still vulnerable to theft, flooding, fire, and other physical damage. So why not just digitize them quickly and be done with it? Not only will this free up extra space around the office, but it will also give you peace of mind about losing your files in a catastrophe.

The easiest way to back up your paperwork is to get a scanner, scan your documents, and then upload them to the cloud with the rest of your files. You can forget about them until they’re necessary.

It’s in your best interest to do this with your existing paper files immediately. Then make it part of your process whenever you get physical paperwork. If you wait too long, not only are you susceptible to losing important files, but the task will only grow more tedious and time-consuming.

Backing Up Processes

Not many companies think about it, but not backing up processes has easily caused me the most grief out of any other item in this post. In a perfect world, all of your staff will give you plenty of notice before they leave. This will give you time to fill the position and have that employee train the next person in their remaining weeks. But you and I both know that the world isn’t perfect.

Things happen. Employees leave on the spot or do something egregious that results in an immediate firing. Not everyone leaving your business will end on good terms, so you can’t bank on them being helpful during a transitional period. And when people leave your company, their knowledge is lost forever.

If those processes aren’t written down, training someone else can be extremely difficult, and nearly impossible if a top-tier employee leaves. The only way to prevent this is by turning all processes into standard operating procedures, better known as SOPs. Then you just need to store these SOPs somewhere that is also backed up, whether that is your hard drive (as mentioned above) or in a project management tool like Confluence, Notion, or even a folder in your Google Drive. As long as you have your SOPs saved on some sort of cloud backup solution, they’ll always be there when you need to access them.

Backing Up Software Databases

If you run a software business or use software for any internal tools, you need to get backups set up for all of your databases. Similar to your hard drives, sooner or later one of them will go down.

When I was at KISSmetrics, we had an engineer shut down our core database for the entire product by accident. When someone makes a mistake like that they don’t always act rationally. Instead of notifying management immediately, this engineer walked away and went to bed. The database was down overnight until the following morning. While we had some backups, we still lost about twelve hours worth of customer data. Without those backups, it would have been even worse.

The more critical the database, the more robust the backup solution needs to be. As I said before, you need to plan for the worst. Sometimes a daily backup might not be good enough if the database is super critical. If you can’t afford to lose 24 hours worth of information, then you’ll need a solution that backs up at the frequency your business requires.

Work with your engineering team to make sure all core functionality is completely redundant. Customers can tolerate their login page being down for a short period, but they won’t tolerate permanent data loss.

Final Thoughts on Business Backup

I know, your list of things to do when you start a new business just got longer! But backing up your data, files, and other important information is crucial for every business across all industries. You can’t operate under the assumption that you’re immune from these pitfalls. Sooner or later, they happen to all of us. Whether it be physical damage to a hard drive, theft to a computer, human error, or a malicious attack against your website, you must limit your exposure.

But good news: Once your backups are in place, your business will be unbreakable.


Editor’s Note: If you’ve read this far, you’re likely very serious about backing up your business—or maybe you’re just passionate about the process? Either way, Lars has outlined a lot of the “whys” and plenty of good “hows” for you here, but we’d love to help you tick a few things off of your list. Here are a few notes for how you can implement Lars’ advice using Backblaze:

Backing up your…

…Hard Drives:

This is an easy one: backup is the core of what we do, and backing up your computers, and your hard drives are the easiest first step you’ll take. And now, if you opt for Forever Version History, you only need to hook up your older drives once.

…Email… and Paperwork, Process, and Database:

If your email is already with a cloud service, you’ve got one backup, but if you are using Outlook, Apple Mail, or other applications storing email locally on your computer, Backblaze will automatically back those up.

…Website:

As Lars mentioned, a lot of hosting services offer backup options. But especially if you’re looking for WordPress backups, we have you covered.

Another option to consider is using Cloudflare or other caching services to prevent “soft downtime.” If you’ve engaged with Backblaze, we have a partnership with Cloudflare to make this solution easier.

Now that you’re all backed up and have some extra time and peace of mind, we’d love to hear more about your business: How does your infrastructure help you succeed?

The post The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Backing Up: Startup Edition appeared first on Backblaze Blog | Cloud Storage & Cloud Backup.

Backblaze 7.0 — Version History And Beyond

Post Syndicated from Yev original https://www.backblaze.com/blog/backblaze-7-0-version-history-and-beyond/

Backblaze Version 7.0 Version History .. and Beyond

Announcing Backblaze Cloud Backup 7.0: The Version History and Beyond Release!

This release for consumers and businesses adds one of our most requested enhancements for our Backblaze Cloud Backup service: the ability to keep updated, changed, and even deleted files in your backups forever by extending version history. In addition, we’ve made our Windows and Mac apps even better, updated our Single Sign-on (SSO) support, added more account security options, became Catalina-ready, and increased the functionality of our iOS and Android mobile apps. These changes are awesome and we’re sure you’ll love them!

Extended Version History

Have you ever deleted a file by mistake or accidentally saved over an important bit of work? Backblaze has always kept a 30-day version history of your backed up files to help in situations like these, but today we’re giving you the option to extend your version history to one year or forever. This new functionality is available on the Overview page for Computer Backup, and the Groups Management page if you are using Backblaze Groups! Backblaze v7.0 is required to use Version History. Learn more about versions and extending Version History.

Extend Your Version History

30-Day Version History

All Backblaze computer backup accounts have 30-Day Version History included with their backup license. That means you can go back in time for 30 days and retrieve old versions of your files or even files that you’ve deleted.

1-Year Version History

Extending your Version History from 30 days to one year means that all versions of your files that are backed up — whether you’ve updated, changed, or fully deleted them from your computer — will remain in your Backblaze backup for one year after being modified or deleted from your device. Extending your Version History to one year is an additional $2 per month and is charged based on your license type (monthly, yearly, or 2-year). As always, any charges will be prorated to match up with your license renewal date.

Forever Version History

Extending your Version History from 30 days or one year to forever means that Backblaze will never remove files from your Backblaze backup whether you’ve updated, changed, or fully deleted them from your computer, or not. Extending Version History to forever is similar to one year, at an additional $2 per month (prorated to your license plan type) plus $0.005/GB/month for versions modified on your computer more than one year ago.

1-Year or Forever

This is a great new feature for people who want increased peace of mind. To learn more about Version History, pricing, and examples of how to restore, please visit the Version History FAQ.

MacOS and Windows Application Updates

More Efficient Performance For Uploads

We’ve changed the way that Backblaze transmits large files on your machine by reworking how we group and break apart files for upload. The maximum packet size has increased from 30 MB to 100 MB. This allows the app to transmit data more efficiently by better leveraging threading, which also smoothes out upload performance, reduces sensitivity to latency, and leads to smaller data structures.

Single Sign-On Updates for Backblaze Groups

We added support for Microsoft’s Office 365 in Backblaze Groups, and have made SSO updates to the Inherit Backup State feature so that it supports SSO-enabled accounts. This means that you can now sign into Backblaze using your Office 365 credentials, similar to using Google’s SSO.

Higher Resolution For Easier Viewing of Information

We updated the way our installers and applications looked on higher-resolution displays, making for a more delightful viewer experience!

Windows Only

An OpenSSL issue was causing problems on Intel’s Apollo Lake chipset, but we’ve developed a workaround. Apollo Lake is a lower-end chipset, so not many customers were seeing issues, but now computers using Apollo Lake will work as intended.

MacOS Only

We’ve added support for MacOS Catalina and improved some MacOS system messages. MacOS provides some great new features for the Mac and we’ve changed some of our apps’ behavior to better fit Catalina. In Catalina, Apple is now requiring apps to ask for permission more frequently, and since Backblaze is a backup application, we require a lot of permissions. Thus you may notice more system messages when installing Backblaze on the new OS.

Of Note: Backblaze Restores

In order to implement the Version History features, we had to change the way our restore page handled dates. This may not seem like a big deal, but we had a date drop-down menu where you could select the time frames you wanted to restore from. Well, if you have 1-Year or Forever Version History, you can’t have an infinitely scrolling drop-down menu, so we implemented a datepicker to help with selection. You can now more easily choose the dates and times that you’d like to restore your files from.

Go Back Further

Backblaze 7.0 Available: October 8th, 2019

We will be slowly auto updating all users in the coming weeks. To update now:

This version is now the default download on www.backblaze.com.

Want to Learn More? Join Us on October 15th, 2019 at 11 a.m. PT

Want to learn more? Join Yev on a webinar where he’ll go over version 7.0 features and answer viewer questions. The webinar will be available on BrightTalk (registration is required) and you can sign up by visiting the Backblaze BrightTALK channel.

The post Backblaze 7.0 — Version History And Beyond appeared first on Backblaze Blog | Cloud Storage & Cloud Backup.

12 Power Tips for Backing Up Business Data

Post Syndicated from Roderick Bauer original https://www.backblaze.com/blog/12-power-tips-for-backing-up-business-data/

Business Backup Power Tips

In this, the fourth post in our Power Tips series, we provide some blazingly useful tips that we feel would benefit business users. Some of the tips apply to our Backblaze Business Backup product and some to B2 Cloud Storage.

Don’t miss our earlier posts on Power Tips for Backblaze Computer Backup, 12 B2 Power Tips for New Users, and 12 B2 Power Tips for Experts and Developers.

12 Power Tips for Business Users of Backblaze Business Backup and B2

Backblaze logo

1 Manage All Users of Backblaze Business Backup or B2

Backblaze Groups can be used for both Backblaze Business Backup and B2 to manage accounts and users. See the status of all accounts and produce reports using the admin console.

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2 Restore For Free via Web or USB

Admins can restore data from endpoints using the web-based admin console. USB drives can be shipped worldwide to facilitate the management of a remote workforce.

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3 Back Up Your VMs

Backblaze Business Backup can handle virtual machines, such as those created by Parallels, VMware Fusion, and VirtualBox; and B2 integrates with StarWind, OpenDedupe, and CloudBerry to back up enterprise-level VMs.

Backblaze logo

4 Mass Deploy Backblaze Remotely to Many Computers

Companies, organizations, schools, non-profits, and others can use the Backblaze Business Backup MSI installer, Jamf, Munki, and other tools to deploy Backblaze computer backup remotely across all their computers without any end-user interaction.

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5 Save Money with Free Data Exchange with B2’s Compute Partners

Spin up compute applications with high speed and no egress charges using our partners Packet and Server Central.

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6 Speed up Access to Your Content With Free Egress to Cloudflare

Backblaze offers free egress from B2 to Cloudflare’s content delivery network, speeding up access to your data worldwide.

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7 Get Your Data Into the Cloud Fast

You can use Backblaze’s Fireball hard disk array to load large volumes of data without saturating your network. We ship a Fireball to you and once you load your data onto it, you ship it back to us and we load it directly into your B2 account.

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8 Use Single Sign-On (SSO) and Two Factor Verification for Enhanced Security

Single sign-on (Google and Microsoft) improves security and speeds signing into your Backblaze account for authorized users. With Backblaze Business Backup, all data is automatically encrypted client-side prior to upload, protected during transfer, and stored encrypted in our secure data centers. Adding Two Factor Verification augments account safety with another layer of security.

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9 Get Quick Answers to Your Backing Up Questions

Refer to an extensive library of FAQs, how-tos, and help articles for Business Backup and B2 in our online help library.

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10 Application Keys Enable Controlled Sharing of Data for Users and Apps

Take control of your cloud data and share files or permit API access using configurable Backblaze application keys.

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11 Manage Your Server Backups with CloudBerry MBS and B2

Automate and centrally manage server backups using CloudBerry Managed Backup Service (MBS) and B2. It’s easy to set up and once configured, you have a true set-it-and-forget-it backup solution in place.

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12 Protect your NAS Data Using Built-in Sync Applications and B2

B2 is integrated with the leading tools and devices in the market for NAS backup. Native integrations from Synology, QNAP, FreeNAS, TrueNAS and more ensure that setups are simple and backups are automated.

Want to Learn More About Backblaze Business Backup and B2?

You can find more information on Backblaze Business Backup (including a free trial) on our website, and more tips about backing up in our help pages and in our Backup Guide.

The post 12 Power Tips for Backing Up Business Data appeared first on Backblaze Blog | Cloud Storage & Cloud Backup.

Future-Proofing Backups for Your Business

Post Syndicated from Natasha Rabinov original https://www.backblaze.com/blog/future-proofing-backups-for-your-business/

screenshot of PagerDuty dashboard

An alert from PagerDuty sets off alarm bells for anyone in IT. Alerts might signify that a disk is nearly full or has failed entirely. Although unpleasant and imminently critical, hard drive failures come as no surprise to IT Managers. They are prepared for those alerts and have likely seen such incidents and failures before. Experience has shown them that it is not a question of if hard drives will fail, but when.

In fact, from the moment they are hired, IT Managers begin protecting company data and assessing points of failure. On that first day, the threat of data loss may inadvertently come from internal mistakes.

When my execs are on the road, what happens if they lose their laptop? How can I get them the latest version of their files, no matter where they are?

Although execs may be the ones losing their laptops, they will surely turn to IT Managers to recover data right away.

Questions continue to build up when thinking about company growth and the impact on IT.

We just hired another five people and the server is almost full. When will I have both time and budget to spin up another one?

IT Managers are typically not lacking in projects; they are often short on time. Budgets certainly matter but time management is also a problem — there already isn’t enough time in the day.

Many of these IT issues can be mitigated if they are tackled early on. The right backup solution is simple, silent, and affordable. A low-touch solution can give IT Managers back two precious resources, time and budget. They can move on to other projects while their backups run automatically in the background, not interrupting their users. The best plan is something that scales as the company grows from its first IT manager through IPO.

A good example of a company that future-proofed their backups is PagerDuty. At the time of their first IT hire, they accurately assessed their current and future backup needs. Here is their story.

PagerDuty server rack

Case Study: How PagerDuty Future Proofed Backups

The first thing Matt Spring, IT Manager, noticed when he joined PagerDuty was that they worked in the cloud. While everyone carried around a laptop or perhaps had a desktop system, there were no file servers, no database servers, no mail servers, no servers of any kind located in the office. At first glance, it seemed everyone simply connected to the internet and used cloud-based applications, but as Matt soon discovered many people were also using Mac-based applications as well. Matt instinctively knew he had a backup problem and he had to act to ensure the organization would not lose important data.

The backup problem that Matt faced is one encountered by companies that use both cloud-based and PC/Mac-based applications in their environment. For example, a company might use a cloud-based HR system, but Office applications on their laptops and desktops. While Matt had some confidence the cloud-based data was backed up, the local data on the company’s laptops and desktops was not being backed up.

As Matt was building a list of backup vendors to consider, he included Backblaze. He was familiar with Backblaze because he had been following their Hard Drive Stats blog posts. He appreciated the company’s transparency and included them in the list. His primary criteria for selecting a backup service were:

  • Able to be installed with little or no user involvement
  • Automatically back up all the data on a laptop or desktop with no user intervention
  • Affordable

After a review process, he chose Backblaze Business Backup.

As PagerDuty grew, so did the number of laptops and desktops, and Matt and his team ensured that Backblaze was installed on all of them. This was especially important to PagerDuty as some of the newly hired employees worked in locations across the globe. Matt could send them a system provisioned with Backblaze and from the moment the new employee started working, they were being backed up to the Backblaze cloud.

One of the features that Matt likes is how Backblaze scans the users’ system looking for data to back up versus having to pick and choose folders and files. He points out how he once restored an Office autorecovery file from Backblaze when a user forgot to save several hours of work before their system crashed. He commented that, “no other cloud backup system that I know of would have automatically backed up that file.”

Over the years that PagerDuty has been a Backblaze Business Backup customer, they’ve had several instances where they needed to restore data. Every restore has been successful.

As a bonus, most users find the restore process easy enough so they can restore their own files, but Matt and his team have from time to time done complete system restores to replace a failed or lost system.

“No other cloud backup system that I know of would have automatically backed up that file.”

— Matt Spring, PagerDuty

Recently, Matt and his team upgraded for free to the most recent release of Backblaze Business Backup. This release included Business Groups. This feature allows administrators to organize users into groups for billing and management purposes. For example, groups might be created for administrators, executives, and staff. Groups can also be managed or unmanaged. Contractors and interns could be in a managed group where IT controls the restore process, while company employees could be in one or more unmanaged groups, as desired.

Matt Appreciates the Flexibility That Business Groups Provides

As PagerDuty continues to grow, Matt expects the organization to be more and more dispersed, with even more employees and contractors spread out internationally. While this presents many challenges for IT, one thing Matt already has covered is having the data sitting on the company’s laptops and desktops automatically and securely backed up to the Backblaze cloud.

If you are interested in learning more, you can read the PagerDuty case study. Or, if you would like to back up all of your end users’ data today and future proof your backups, we invite you to try out Backblaze Business Backup.

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