South Africa's leading developer of accounting and business software solutions for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), Softline Pastel, is now offering all customers the ability to backup their data online to an independent, mirrored data centre infrastructure.
The facility, known as Pastel IronTree automates the full backup process and thereby eliminates human error. It provides a cost-effective way for SMEs to ensure that their data is current, secure, and accessible 24 hours a day, anywhere in the world.
"Research shows that while up to 91% of South African SMEs do have offline backup facilities more than 80% of those facilities are either inadequate or used incorrectly," says Pastel managing director, Steven Cohen. "That leaves the vast majority of SMEs in this country vulnerable to data loss and, therefore, not only to regulatory and governance but also operational crises.
"What we have done, by making an online option available, is give SMEs access to best practice data storage and business continuity processes and procedures - at the click of a button and at affordable prices."
The Pastel IronTree online backup service automates the regularity and frequency of backups, ensuring that data is always current. Sequential copies of data are stored, ensuring that it is possible to rollback further than a single day or month. Consequently, where corrupt data has unwittingly been backed up, it is possible to restore to a version of the data that was backed-up before the corruption occurred.
Data security, which used to be a concern when sending mission critical information over the Internet, has been addressed. The online backup facility, for instance, applies 3-layer encryption before transmitting data to the remote server. Once there, the data can be 'unlocked' only with a unique data encryption key. Also, because the data is stored off-site at a secure facility, when PCs, servers, or CDs at the customer's organisation are stolen, damaged, lost or corrupted for some or other reason, the data is not lost with them.
"For many SMEs, following the full, correct processes and procedures for backing up data feels too onerous - and the disk or tape drives and other hardware necessary to make on-site data backup happen correctly are often too expensive and need too much maintenance and management," Cohen says.
"Online, off-site back up, as we have set it up, is just so much easier - and far less costly than trying to acquire and then manage hardware, software, and processes in-house."
The Pastel online backup facility works over ADSL and other broadband networks, ensuring that backup is 'always on' and that data can be retrieved 24x7x365.
"We have brought this capability to the market now, because many SMEs have some form of broadband connectivity in order to be competitive," Cohen says. "There are currently 260 000 ADSL users in South Africa, with Telkom expecting that figure to increase by 11 000 a month from now on.
That sort of rapid growth is also bringing down the cost of ADSL connectivity. A 4 megabit per second line is now R413, which is less than a 512 kilobyte per second line cost two years ago.
"So, it is easier and cheaper than ever before to use a hosted backup facility. Given the enormous advantages of online backup versus the usually haphazard methods currently being applied off-line and in-house, it is counterintuitive to keep going with off-line methods."
An online backup installation wizard that is downloaded as part of the registration process will include a default setting for Pastel users.
Users whose data is not in the default location can easily modify the default settings to accommodate their specific situation. Future Pastel releases will include a 'backup now' button that will automatically locate the relevant data and upload the correct settings to the backup application software and data storage platform.
Pastel IronTree's new online backup facility is applicable in all industries.