With only eight full-time employees (as of November 2010), Backup My Info! is nevertheless creating quite a stir. Founded in 2002, it's become a premium managed service provider specializing in online data backup and recovery. More than 500 customers (including personal favorite The Daily Show with Jon Stewart), use Backup My Info!'s data backup and recovery service, spanning professional service organizations such as banking, financial, insurance, accounting, hedge funds, and law firms. The service recently took bronze in the Windows IT Pro Editor's Best Awards for Best Backup Product.
I recently spoke with CEO Jennifer Walzer, herself recently honored with the 2010 Stevie Award for Women in Business (Best Entrepreneur).
"No one thinks a disaster will happen to them!" Walzer exclaims. "They might think about backing up their data, but they don't pay enough attention to the restore. They say, 'I'll just throw some software at the problem,' but it's not really about the backup—it's about the restore. If you're not thinking that way, you're in trouble. The key is to start thinking about recovery—then think backwards! Establish a game plan. Determine the first thing you need to back up—whether that's email or the financial database or whatever—and work backwards from there. Unfortunately, the reality is that no one wants to think about a disaster until it's too late. But companies have just one shot!"
Backup My Info! is focused on delivering a premium online backup and restore service for IT consultants and their clients. Unlike service providers that offer a “set it and forget it” approach to online backups, all of Backup My Info!’s people, processes, and technology are dedicated to proactively protecting clients’ important corporate data.
"People think that they can just shove all their data into the cloud, and everything will be perfect," Walzer says. "That's not the case. We're what you might call a white-glove service. Before a client even signs on, we have a consultation, see how the environment is behaving, understand the client's world. And we plan how to best restore the data. Then, we set everything up, configuring custom retention rules. It's a hands-on approach, complete with proactive disaster recovery drills, and we make sure everything is getting backed up. That way, the client is prepared. If something does happen, we can restore it properly."
The industry is changing rapidly. Data is explosive. Companies have terabytes of data to back up. That being said, Walzer has determined that 90 percent of companies' data is no longer changing; only 10 percent is changing.
"We set up a rule that says, if a file hasn't changed in x amount of time, it's automatically moved into a retention vault. Only the data that's changing often is kept. The benefit of this tiered approach is that you're bringing back critical data first. It's such a simple concept, but no one does it!"
Catering to the 10-1,000-user environment (i.e., the SMB market), Backup My Info! has facilities in Canada, the east and west coast, filled with top-of-the-line NetApp focused hardware.
"No one is an expert at disaster-recovery planning," Walzer says. "Administrators are so busy with other things. Do they know how to recover SharePoint? Exchange Server? Who are they going to call on in the case of disaster? Microsoft? Symantec? Good luck!"
Walzer acknowledges lingering concerns in the backup-as-a-service realm. "People just don't know where to start. They say, 'Let's just back it all up!' Well, obviously, that's costly, from a resource perspective. There's also the perception that you're just handing over all your data, and so that's why we provide the white-glove treatment and maintain constant contact with the client. Most of all, I'd say, our biggest competition is inertia—the guy who doesn't want to do anything, who keeps saying, ‘It'll never happen to me’."
All Walzer is saying, frankly, is that that's a dangerous way to go forward.
Find out more about Walzer at the Backup My Info! website, where you can also access her bimonthly New York Times column called "You're the Boss."