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FAQ

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Remote Offsite Data Management - RDM

PRVNAS provides RDM services to our clients who understand just how valuable their data are.  These are the FAQ we have received from them.  Please read them all, or move on to an area of special interest to you.

Importance       

Data Criticality       

Availability of Service        

Reliability, Safety & Privacy

Ease of Use

IMPORTANCE

Why is RDM so important to our company, we only have five people here?  Just how much critical data could we possibly have?

RDM is very very important, if not a necessity in this day and age of networks, viruses and worms.  Small businesses are at a higher risk of data corruption, deletion of files, total hardware crashes that make retrieving that data next to impossible.  Small businesses just don't have the resources that the Fortune 500 companies do.  Any data loss from a small business could and many times does cripple the business into closing its doors since most have no idea what to do afterwards.

What’s all this talk we hear about disaster recovery and remote backup?

In a disaster, simply, you lose all of your data and probably a lot more, not just a file or files.  And if your backup files are in the same location as the disaster, hope dims.  Most of the backup providers market their software in a manner inspired by fear, PRVNAS feels that reality is best.

An example: Jane is usually the first person into the office and finds out it’s been broken into, or burned down, etc.  Valid points, but the risk of loss from theft, fire, or natural disaster is far less than the risk of data loss via accidental deletion, corruption, viruses and worms.  We have also have seen where a terminated employee played havoc as well.

DATA CRITICALITY

What is critical data?  Isn't it everything on the hard drive?

Critical data is not your entire hard drive, unless you want it that way.  Typically it’s data like office files, database files, email, address books and contact lists.  These data, when deleted or corrupted, affect a business the most and cannot be restored via reloading from a software vendor’s disk.  We can guide you, but it is your decision since you know your data the best, to determine which file(s) are critical for backup.  

AVAILABILITY OF SERVICE

I see your hours are from 4pm to 7am EST time.  Why is that and what happens if I need a restore outside of those hours?

Those are our normal hours because that’s when almost all of our clients’ choose to back up,
but,

     - We always have staff available to support you when needed.

- We can also train you on how to use our software so that you can restore a file or folder yourself.  Some clients are not comfortable with this, so we are always only a call away.

Your offices are in GA and TN, does that mean you only do business there or do you have clients elsewhere?

We have clients on a global basis.  We use remote tools to help install and configure our RDM client if travel from our offices is not feasible.

RELIABILITY, SAFETY & PRIVACY

When’s the last time PRVNAS was unable to restore a client’s file?

We don’t know.  It has not happened.

OK, so you backup our data on your servers.  What keeps you from losing it?

(Perhaps the most asked FAQ.)  PRVNAS has a 4 stage backup process including offsite transfer to another server farm outside our location.  We know of no one else that does this, period!!  We go to great lengths to provide the solid service that we feel is needed in the market today.

 

What is your privacy policy?  I keep getting all these fine print documents from my bank and credit card company?

We’re so glad you asked, and cutting through the legalese, (please see our contract for that, but it’s pretty close to what you see here.)  PRVNAS will not divulge, in any way, your name or contact information to anyone or anything without your express written consent to a request from us.  And the only time we will ask is to have a client volunteer as a reference for a potential client.

  

Our data is transferred over the internet, doesn't that make it possible for a hacker to grab it and mess with it and send it back to your server?

NO.  We use the internet, but we also use government standard 128-bit encryption and have the ability to go much higher if needed.  This makes your data next to impossible to hack.  As far as a hacker grabbing the data while “in stream” to us, messing with it, and sending it back to us, just isn't possible.  For one there's the encryption where even if “they” did get some part of a data packet they can't read it.  In fact it took a major university 62 weeks just to crack a 10,000 byte file (quite small) with standard DES encryption. 

When your data is transferred, our servers ONLY accept the data backup stream from your computer name, user name, password and address. 

We have a DSL line, but we normally turn our machines off when we leave for the day.  Doesn’t leaving a machine on leave us more vulnerable to a hacker?

Perhaps, but more vulnerable is a matter of degree.  Since you already have a high-speed Internet connection, with the RDM service PRVNAS assumes that you’ve installed the appropriate firewall software and taken precautions for unauthorized access to your system.

PRVNAS performs security services as part of our offerings, just as we offer RDM.  We would be happy to review your security setup.  For clients who’ll be installing a high-speed line in order to take advantage of RDM, we recommend a security review.   

How often does your client backup our data and how long is that data available on your servers?

Our standard method for our clients is a full backup on the install date.  Incremental backups are done Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday.  Full backups are done Wednesday and Saturday.  NOTE: Some databases need full backups, as “incrementals” don’t work.  Don’t worry, anything needing daily backup, will be.

We have a restore window of 60 days.  That’s right, 2 months worth of data is restorable.  We know of no one else that does this or even has the resources to do this.  Plus, most do a full backup only once a week.

We backup to a zip disk, tape drive, or a CDRW; isn't that enough?

Sometimes yes and sometimes no.  We know from experience that it doesn't take much to break the internal mechanics of a zip disk, making your data useless.

Tape backup is useless more often than not.  (Why?  You ask.)   Well, 60% of the time the backup software isn't even set up right to backup the critical files.  Tapes are very easy to break not to mention the sinking feeling when you do try to do a restore and your tape drives just eats your tape into swiss cheese.  PRVNAS and everyone that works here have at some point in their career worked for a large company and have seen just how UN-reliable tapes really are. 

Most large companies use what is called a redundant backup.  Redundant backup is where they use tape and then use remote backup software; this gives them the extra peace of mind when something goes wrong.  (Note the "when" not if comment.)

CDR-CDRW is pretty good and much better than zip disks and tape, but they can still break or get corrupted from heat.  More times than not if used with the backup software, then close to 75% of time the software wasn't setup correctly to backup the right files. 

 

Our receptionist does our tape backups every night; so why do we need RDM?

Now please don't get us wrong, we love our receptionists but we wouldn't put that responsibility on them.  A true story.

After talking with a prospect we advised them that it would be in their best interest to look at what was on the tapes to make sure it was backing up their database that had cost upwards of 650,000 dollars over the past 2 years.  We popped in last night’s backup.  To their surprise, next to nothing was even on the tape and no trace of their database.  They just stood there kind of like deer in headlights. 

We asked to see the tape from two nights ago.  In it went, and again nothing.  OK let’s try 3rd night’s backup we said.  “Umm… we only have 2 tapes.”  Funny thing here was that we’re sure we looked at them like we had lights in our eyes.  We had to verify that they only had 2 days worth of a backup so if something was missing prior to that, they couldn't get it back.  They simply told us that they needed our service and wanted a complete backup done right then.  Needless to say we took care of them just like we do for every client we see.

 

OK, we’re good with the whole data-over-the-internet thing, but how about your company and employees?  Can't they see our data?  Read through it and such?

ABSOLUTELY NOT!!!  We cannot see your data on our servers; it’s encrypted at your site before you send it.  We know we’ve got your files, but PRVNAS has NO interest whatsoever in their content.  Even if we were to peek, and only at your written request, all we would see is a weird grouping of letters and numbers.   

EASE OF USE

If we need to restore like just one or two files or maybe a folder would we have to do a complete restore like we do with tape?

No, nope, No way.  Our RDM software allows you to pick a single file, files, or folders, or a combination of them for restoration.

 

Do you use the same backup software that your clients use?

Yes we do.  We’re human too, and delete files on our laptops and desktops from time to time that we need to restore.

 

What happens if we do have, say, a hard drive crash?

You will need someone to reinstall the operating system (OS), such as Windows 98 or if you’ve got a MacIntosh computer,  ?????.  If you’re outside our market we suggest finding a repair shop to do this.  (You should make arrangements with more than one shop NOW, if you have not done this already)  If you’re in the GA/TN market we can do the reinstall for a nominal fee and then restore your data after the new hard drive is installed. 

Also if you’re in the GA/TN market you can opt to go with another one of our services called HDGhost.  This is where we come into your office and literally get a complete copy of your hard drive and keep it offsite here at our server farm.  The average time it takes to reinstall an OS with all the software that you had on it before your crash is anywhere from 3 to 5 hours.  With the HDGhost service we can have you up and running in about 30 minutes after the new hard drive is installed.  At that point we simply do a restore from the last night’s RDM.

What about the overtime expense for one of our people to run the backup?

There won’t be any OT due to RDM.  Our software is setup to run the backup unattended at a time of your choice and to send the pre-determined file(s) and folder(s) of your choice.   

 

 

 

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