No matter what you may have learned in business school, all owners of small to medium businesses (or SMBs) sooner or later come to find out that the on the job training of actually owning an expanding enterprise is the most intense education that one could possibly ever receive on the subject. For example, as your business continues to grow, the amount of data that it owns will also grow, with the critical nature of said data often becoming more and more obvious in the process. That’s where many owners of SMBs come to realize the importance of data intensive online backup solutions to protect their growing companies from catastrophic data loss.

Modern-Day Online Backup - Data Intensive Solutions for Growing Businesses

Luckily for SMBs everywhere, signing up for online data backup services has never been easier, or indeed less expensive. After choosing which service your company is going to utilize for this purpose, all it takes nowadays is to log onto the online backup service provider’s website and then, in turn, decide which sort of coverage your company requires, with most online backup service providers featuring “pay-as-you-go” pricing models that allow the customer to pay only for the space that they need. After that, the user must simply download and install a very lightweight software program, also called a ‘client’, to whichever computers contain valuable files that need to be backed up, so that all the company’s machines will be protected from data loss. Once the client is installed it then scans the files and configures which ones will be continuously (or at scheduled times) backed up to the online backup company’s servers.

However, the ease and efficiency that modern-day online backup affords the companies it protects does not end there. Most online backup service companies now provide data de-duplication techniques that make it so that the amount of space that your backed up files take up on their servers is kept to a minimum, effectively lowering storage costs while simultaneously cutting down on the time it takes for the data in question to be backed up in the first place. Furthermore, a variety of new, more advanced levels of data encryption serve to further ensure those backing up their company’s data online that their valuable files will be totally inaccessible to anyone outside of their company, both during transmission and while stored on the online backup company’s secure servers.

However, the flip-side of this is also true; another important advantage brought about by backing up online is making sure your company’s data is as accessible as possible to others outside your company with whom you wish to collaborate or share files with. This includes being able retrieve, modify and re-save files from multiple off-site locations, using either the aforementioned client software, or a browser-based interface that enables specific users to access certain files without being signed up with the online backup service provider at all. Companies that utilize their online backup in this way can rest assured that their data will not fall into the wrong hands in the process, knowing that whomever they deem worthy to access their data must be thoroughly authenticated before they gain permission to do so. In addition to this, your company will also be able to keep track of who has accessed or modified any file using easy-to-read activity logs provided by the online backup client software.

Yet another advantage to using data intensive online backup services is the ease with which one can find and retrieve a file from the remote backup server. Indeed, once your data is backed up, online backup companies can be used as a virtual search engine for your company’s data, with metadata and other indexing methods being created automatically as you back up, making the finding of any file now easier than ever before. And, where years ago many online data backup services only featured scheduled backups of your company’s data, modern-day technology has brought about advanced features like KineticD’s patented Continuous Backup System that ensures that the copy we have of your company’s data is always up-to-date.

In fact, in the event of any type of data loss, your company’s files can often be almost automatically recovered using a simple cleanup wizard provided by the backup client. Once the client notices that there are files on the backup company’s servers that have gone missing from the local machines being backed up, all it usually takes is just a few clicks of the mouse to have the file automatically restored to the local computer’s hard drive. In addition to this, many online backup companies can provide a service called ‘bare metal restore’ in which, in the case where a hard drive has simply crashed, the entire contents of the dead hard drive, from the operating system up, can be copied right onto a new piece of hardware, effectively saving your company from having to waste any of its precious time reinstalling programs and operating systems before being able to retrieve their important files (not to mention, of course, avoiding the staggering costs of data recovery services!).

So, there you have it; while backing up online helps your company keep its data safe and sound, it now also brings about scores of additional conveniences from file sharing to advanced search techniques. We here at KineticD pride ourselves on providing one of the most advanced data intensive online backup platforms around, allowing for continuous data backup and file sharing from any number of computers (or other mobile devices for that matter, from smart phones to iPads), advanced file versioning techniques and much more.

If you haven’t heard already, the internet has finally gotten a little too big for it’s britches, so to speak. Indeed, the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (or IANA) is getting down to the final number of addresses left under the old system, which is called IPv4. In fact, we have now been told that the last address will be used up by the first of July! However, fear not, for there is a new system that will be slowly replacing IPv4 called IPv6 which will, once fully implemented, allow for an exponentially larger number of addresses.

So, first off, what is this going to mean for businesses world wide? Well, it is important to keep in mind just how crucial an IP address is in the first place. After all, we all take for granted that we get assigned one every time we create an account with an ISP, but if you didn’t have one, or the one you had ceased to function properly, you could find yourself unable to communicate with your clients, suppliers or anyone else, which would, of course, be disastrous for any business. So, obviously, anything that has the potential to disrupt this all important channel of communication is cause for concern.

What Is the IPv6 Switch Going to Mean for Canadian Businesses?

For this reason it is important to realize that in order to keep up with other businesses it is imperative that you get an IPv6 address as soon as possible. It will eventually be the new standard, and you don’t want to get left behind. And, the most crucial element to making sure that you stay ahead of the curve is not that IPv6 is faster, or that IPv4 addresses won’t work anymore once IPv6 becomes more popular, it is that as IPv4 addresses eventually become more and more scarce there is the very real risk of errors and vulnerabilities that may arise as information is passed between the two different types of addressing systems. Indeed, as the transition comes about, you could find yourself in a situation where other businesses and suppliers become harder to connect with. Antiquated software programs may have difficulty communicating between the two networks, with internet troublemakers potentially enjoying a field day as they easily exploit these new vulnerabilities. While these may sound like doomsday predictions, they are a very real danger that does indeed potentially loom up ahead.

What does this mean for the Canadian business community in particular? Well, as in all nations, planning ahead and switching over as soon as possible should be of the utmost priority. Right now some of the biggest ISPs in Canada are getting ready to create new systems that are IPv6, but they are unable to comment about how they are going to address any potential hazards that may come about from this upgrade. Even as this is happening, the fact that most of our internet providers here in Canada are either non-Canadian or global companies doesn’t help our ability to beat the worldwide average either. Of course, we are just in the initial stage of this transformation, with only eight percent of networks world wide having switched to IPv6, with Canada currently having roughly the same small percent of change as most of the rest of the developed nations of the world, mostly due to companies being sluggish to invest in the new technology until they feel that they absolutely have to .

However, some signs of global competition have already started, with Eastern Asia and parts of Europe starting to break out of the pack and increase their expansion rates of IPv6 networks. So, no matter what the outcome for Canadian businesses these “growing pains” that the internet is going through are going to cause, it is starting to appear more and more important for us to look to the future and begin at least considering how to go IPv6 ASAP.

Source: The State of IPv6 in Canada, 5th January 2011, Accessed at https://bgpmon.net/blog/?p=382 [5th March 2011]

Either in school or our places of work, we’ve all been through a fire drill at least a few times in our lives. Often, this exercise in disaster preparedness is considered to be nothing more than an annoying inconvenience to those who’s schedules it may disrupt. However, anyone within a school or business responsible for the safety and lives of its students or employees understand the importance of this often seemingly disruptive event, and makes performing it diligently and properly a top priority.

Of course, when it comes to protecting your company’s data, the same principal applies. Indeed, being prepared in case of hardware failures, human accidents or natural disasters that would bring about data loss must be of the highest concern for any company that wants to maintain itself in the long run. Bearing this in mind, it is important to keep up with all changes and advancements in disaster recovery (or DR) practices and services.

Optimize Security by Using Third Party Disaster Recovery Services

The face of disaster recovery, how it’s implemented, etc., are indeed in a state of flux. While in the past it was considered sufficient to simply make sure that you had an up-to-date backup of your data somewhere, either in the cloud or stored on tapes or hard drives, it is now understood that if you want to truly be prepared you have to take many more steps to be considered completely ready for data loss disaster. Examples of these steps include training your employees so that they know what to do in the event of an IT disaster, and planning ahead with the use of risk assessments as well. However, luckily for businesses, the face of IT disaster recovery has been streamlined quite a bit by cloud computing and virtualization. Higher levels of disaster recovery infrastructure are now much easier to bring about because companies can take advantage of third party services in the cloud to not only store their backed up data, but also to assist in almost all the other aforementioned areas of DR as well. After all, why not leave as much of your DR concerns in the hands of experts?

So, how does one go about making sure that they choose the right IT disaster recovery specialists for their business? Well, first off, it is important to figure out what sort of disaster recovery services your company requires in the first place. Luckily, most cloud DR specialists offer many different levels of DR services to match your businesses’ individual needs, including making sure that their infrastructure matches your company’s IT environment. For this reason you should only have to hire one DR specialist company for all of your DR needs.

Another thing to remember when choosing which DR service provider to go with is the importance of thoroughly examining the fine print and privacy details that are presented by the DR company in question. After all, this is your company’s data we’re talking about here, and security breaches of your company’s classified files would just be another kind of IT disaster! Also, as soon as your disaster recovery specialists begin implementing their services for your company, you must be sure to schedule regimented recovery tests so that you know that they are indeed doing their job.

So, there you have it; while the face of IT disaster recovery has become more complicated and multifaceted, it can also be rendered much easier, efficient and effective, as long as you make sure to choose the right DR specialist for the job.

There is no doubt about it: understanding how IPv6 address blocks work is now becoming an increasingly important thing for a vast array of professionals. Indeed, from cloud based data storage providers and the owners of the businesses taking advantage of said cloud based data storage, to the IT and data management specialists on both sides of this equation, it is now becoming vital to understand what the implementation of IPv6 address blocks are going to mean for you and the companies in question, as well as how they work.

The Basics

So, what are the important differences between IPv6 and its predecessor IPv4? Well, first off, IPv6 utilizes a brand-new method when it comes to notation, where colons have replaced dots. In addition to this change, hexadecimals have replaced decimals and have also now expanded to eight groups in total. An example of this sort of address block (in it’s unedited form) would be 6673:07d4:7e52:0000:0000:0000:0000:0001/128

Now, under IPv6, leading zeros can be eliminated, so 07d4 can now be transformed into simply 7d4. In addition to this, adjacent zeros can also be gotten rid of, leaving us with 6673:7d4:7e52::1 with the 1/28 in the first version of the block being a network mask that delineates the host account.

Tunnel Brokers
In understanding the implementation of IPv6 blocks, it is important to know about tunnel brokers. The IPv6 assignment policy qualifies certain companies worthy of receiving an assignment, with the smallest distribution amount being 32, with larger distributions only being possible once the company has maximized its usage of the original distribution. These tunnel brokers become increasingly important to you if your ISP does not give you a whole address block, which often times they will not.

The Final Steps
Okay, so you have gotten your IPv6 block, now what do you do? Well, the next step here is to, either by hand or automatically, set up your IPs. At this point it is imperative that you have iproute2 on your system. After this, it’s time to make sure that your connection is working by pinging your gateway, and after that you must configure the DNS. Last but not least, you will designate the entries for all IPv6 hosts that you will need.

So, there you have it, the basic differences between IPv4 and 6, and the proper way to set up your IPv6 blocks. And, speaking of IPv6, did you know that ROBOBAK’s cloud-based online backup software is now fully integrated with IPv6? Learn more about this by clicking here.

We’ve all noticed the trend over the past couple of years or so; more and more online backup companies sprouting up all time, with many of them claiming to offer unlimited backup services. Well, it appears that the “unlimited bubble” has broken, or at least begun to show signs of leakage. Indeed, last January the largest offsite backup vendor, one of the most popular online backup services around with over one million clients, decided to pull the plug on its unlimited backup service. What would cause one of the originators of unlimited backup to “back up” on what they were previously offering their customers?

Is There a Limit to Unlimited Online Backup?

The official word from the vendor was that people were abusing the system, storing mega-large files that they couldn’t store themselves, specifically referencing high definition video as one of the culprits. This, they claimed, was effecting their smaller group of higher paying premium customers in an adverse way and thus losing the company money. So, the question is, will this be a trend?

Well, in light of this event, a few other well known players in the online backup game have recently released statements assuring users of their unlimited backup plans that they will indeed be continuing to offer the unlimited service that they have always provided. However, this has nonetheless brought about the question of whether or not offering unlimited online backup is a sustainable practice, especially considering that the large vendor is such a major player in the online backup business. After all, while offering unlimited backup can be extremely attractive to customers, it can also apparently bring about a situation in which supply simply cannot keep up with demand.

On the other hand, of course, restricting the amount of data storage available to users of online backup can definitely bring down the appeal for backing up in the cloud for a whole demographic of computer users. Sure, most office computer users and home computer users who do not do much other than go online, look at photos and edit word documents only need around two or four gigs of storage space to successfully back up their entire systems, but what about the folks who edit music or video, or who decide to digitize their entire music collection? With limited backup many users have to choose which files they are going to back up, which in turn makes the process of backing up online more cumbersome, robbing online backup of one of its essential elements, convenience.

No doubt about it, unlimited storage is a great selling point for backing up your data online, and online backup companies all have a huge potential market that has yet to truly be tapped. While backing up in the cloud has certainly gained in popularity, only one percent of computers are currently backed up online. But, if these companies are going to continue to offer unlimited storage capacities to customers they are going to have to heed what happened to the largest vendor and provide it in the right way. Offering unlimited online backup at too low a price can obviously create a scenario where people will abuse the system, so pricing structures have to be tiered to correctly reflect the amount it costs the company to store these larger quantities of data.

In this modern era rife with the myriad efficiencies of computers, smart phones and other digital devices, the fact that some people still tout the value of using tape technology for anything is truly baffling. Indeed, it would seem to be a true “no brainer” that the use of hard drives and other modern digital storage devices would have fully eliminated the outdated technology of the tape long ago. But, alas, this is not the case.

Why is this so? Well, for one, some people actually think that tape backup is safer and more secure than the more modern methods of using hard drives, but this is simply not the case at all, with cloud-based backup technology being far more reliable than that of the obsolete digital tape. One reason people might be under this incorrect assumption is the fact that almost all computer users have had a hard drive fail at least once in their lives (this is, of course, the whole reason we back up our data in the first place), and so they think that tape backup is somehow less likely to fail.

Why Are People Still Using Tape to Backup?

However, while people access the hard drives on their computers constantly, the only time they usually test their backup tapes is in the case of a data loss catastrophe, which is usually a relatively rare occurrence, so they almost never check the tapes to see if the data is corrupted. In addition to this, the fact that cloud backup allows for your data to be transferred to another physical location automatically means that your data is protected from the big disasters as well, like earthquakes and fires, which tape backup cannot guarantee at all.

Others might tell you that they think that tape backup is less complicated and easier to use than off-site cloud backup. They probably feel this way because tape backup is an older technology than cloud backup and so, sadly, this antiquated method is what they are used to using, with the ease of use and efficiency of cloud based backup simply being unknown to them. However, objectively evaluated, the use of tape backup systems is a much more cumbersome process, requiring the dedication of far more time and energy, with the risk of data loss always just around the corner unless you stick diligently to your schedule and constantly monitor your backup systems.

Cloud backup, on the other hand, can be almost entirely automatic if you want it to be, ensuring that your backed up files are always as up-to-date as possible, often times even allowing for open and unsaved files to be backed up as they are worked on. Furthermore, in the event that you need to retrieve any lost data, cloud-based systems allow you to search through your backed up files to find and restore the most important ones first, rendering the idea of tape backup being easier to use even more absurd.

Finally, others still somehow believe that tape backup is more cost effective. This is extremely hard to believe, primarily due to the inefficiency of tape backup users having to own, maintain and oversee the operations of all their own backup equipment. Indeed, it is far more financially efficient to outsource the data backup operations of any given company to another specialized party, who have the resources and expertise to perform backups as efficiently and cheaply as possible, effectively passing this savings on to the cloud backup user. In addition to this, those who take advantage of cloud-based backup also end up saving their company time, which is, as everyone knows, money, leaving their IT guys with more time to worry about other important aspects of their business. And, with many cloud backup companies having customer service available around the clock, as well as providing a “pay-as-you-go”-style utility model, their company only has to invest in more storage or features as it needs them, saving more money by avoiding high priced investment in purchasing their own backup systems.

So, there you have it, just some of the reasons why cloud-based backup systems are the most intelligent choice for any business. Indeed, with cloud backup being far more reliable, cost effective and easy to use than tape backup systems, the choice between the two should be an easy one to make for any wise business owner.