By now, you are hopefully familiar with the questions you need ask when selecting a virtual data room provider and the benefits of using a virtual dataroom. In this post we would like to give you a high level insight of questions to ask your potential provider regarding data back up.
An ill-timed service interruption can torpedo a transaction, especially if there is a delay in retrieving backed-up data, or worse, if data is lost. Data back-up is more involved than merely copying files to a disk or tape. Some of the factors to consider are:
1) How frequently are back-ups performed?
If the provider only backs up once every day, for instance, that can create a major headache if there was a good deal of work done between the most recent back-up and whenever the outage occurred. Ideally, you want a provider with back-ups scheduled throughout the day at regular intervals – the more frequent, the better.
2) How long is backed up data retained?
Often, a long forgotten back-up can come to the rescue in situations where important data has been lost. There are just as many examples when an old back-up that was erased or overwritten could have saved the day. In addition, there may be legal considerations at some point where the backed up data could be necessary.
3) What technology/process is used for the back up?
Having the backed-up data stored on some type of physical media is essential to ensuring the data can be restored even in the event of catastrophic disaster, as physical media can be stored in containers designed to keep them safe even in flood or fire. One thing to consider is media life expectancy. For instance, tapes and other magnetic media have an average life expectancy of 10-20 years, whereas gold-plated optical disks have a life expectancy of around 100 years.
4) What type of encryption methods are used and how are passwords stored?
The AES 256 standard is the current industry leader for data security, and you want to select a data room provider that meets or exceeds this level of encryption quality. It is also important that passwords are stored in a secure manner, in such a way as to be inaccessible to unauthorized users. Military grade encryption does you no good if the usernames and passwords are stored in a clear-text file on the server.
5) Is data backed up to more than one server?
Equipment failure is a fact of life, and it is important that a mishap for your Virtual Data Room provider doesn’t become a disaster for your corporate transaction. Redundancy in backup servers is standard practice for most data management firms, however it is prudent to verify this practice is being enacted. However, redundancy does you no good if the back-up servers are all located in the same room that gets hit by a tornado, fire, earthquake, or hurricane. A quality Virtual Data Room provider will have at least one back-up server in a different geographic location to protect against such disasters.
6) How soon can things be normalised in the event of a failure?
While there are certainly unknowable variables affecting the duration of downtime, certain elements can be put into place by your virtual data room provider to ensure minimal interruption of service. The ability to immediately connect with an alternate back-up server is probably the most effective means of minimizing downtime.
Data Room backup policies are designed to mitigate the loss and risk of confidential business data while being able to recover/re construct the files in case of a unprecedented failure. Data Room Providers follow numerous strict protocols to ensure a high level security for your sensitive information.While your virtual data room provider’s back-up procedures would hopefully never be needed, taking the time to examine this aspect can save you from major disaster later.