Saved by SaaS: Data backup via software as a service

Data backup via software as a service means so long to tapes -- if you've got the bandwidth.

Goroschko was concerned about the feasibility of remotely backing up several hundred megabytes of data daily; the corporate office alone would be handling that much. In addition, since the company has mobile employees, it operates almost around the clock, so off-site backup had to share bandwidth with 10 or 11 workers.

"One of the things we liked about the Mozy system is that it can throttle back or control how much bandwidth is used," Goroschko says.

The software allows Physicians Endoscopy to set the hours and amount of data sent. "That wasn't a feature we thought about ahead of time, but it turns out it was the feature we couldn't live without," Goroschko adds.

Today, all of Physicians Endoscopy's facilities except one are doing remote backup through MozyPro. The IT department has a Web-based master account that continuously provides the backup status of each location.

In some cases, backup SaaS comes as a feature of another type of Web-based application. Health First discovered this when it began using a remote application so nurses could schedule their shifts electronically. Although the health care system's internal IT group takes care of backing up other data for the three hospitals it serves in east central Florida, the scheduling application is backed up by Concerro Inc.

"Once we were aware that this is how this service is delivered, it was frankly a relief," says Jan McCoy, chief nursing officer at Cape Canaveral Hospital, part of the Health First system. "With the hurricane situation we have here, it's good to know the data is protected and we have it when we need it."

But old habits die hard, and even with someone else handling backup concerns, some companies still rely on the manual approach. Physicians Endoscopy hasn't completely given up on the tape-based method, although it has scaled it back to once a week. Says Goroschko, "We're of the strong opinion you can never have too many backups."

Shein is a freelance writer specializing in technology and business. Contact her at eshein@shein.net.

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