Remote Backup Service Providers: Clarifying the Value Proposition

With this change from a technology once considered the domain of only the largest well-funded businesses to a high-profile, high-reliability service offering come many challenges for the consumer. An historical look at the data backup and management marketplace and the technologies that helped shape it helps to make some sense of the current trends in this business.
In an effort to make use of their idle server farms, wholesale online ‘Data-Mart’ companies have begun advertising remote backup services at ultra low prices, attempting to capitalize on the new-found popularity of the service. Data Storage and Online Data Repository companies are also on every virtual corner, hawking wildly varied products that initially confuse even industry veterans. Many of these companies are actually in the advertising sales business, and feature data backup as a sort of loss leader, hoping to attract visitors – and thereby advertisers, to their sites.

The value of computer data is higher today than ever before, yet many online remote backup companies seem convinced that businesses are interested in a ‘lowest common denominator’ backup solution. Corners are being cut, misinformation rules, and marketing dollars are flying. In a forest-and-trees analogy, price wars are blinding corporate America to the critical data management component they began looking for in the first place – service. Following is an exploration of the commercial computer data backup and storage market, historically and currently, within the context of the diverse service levels provided by different types of companies.