Podcast

Frankenbackup — SolarWinds TechPod 010

Old backup technologies never really die. In fact, they tend to grow, patching on new products and types of media until a company’s backup solution becomes a cobbled together “frankenbackup” (neck bolts not included). So how can tech and IT pros navigate this backup landscape and help their users? Join Carrie Reber, SolarWinds Backup Senior Product Marketing Manager, and Addie Derr, SolarWinds MSP content strategist, as they slay the backup monster with best practices, strategy, and efficiency. 

Episode Transcript

On this episode of SolarWinds TechPod, Tech Talks, SolarWinds Backup Senior Product Marketing Manager Carrie Reber… 

“…old backup technologies never really die…” 

…speaks to SolarWinds MSP Content Strategist Addie Derr… 

“…I have stuff everywhere, bolted and duct-taped together and held together with prayer and goodwill…” 

…about how to slay the multi-product backup monster with best practices, strategy, and efficiency. 

Addie:   My name is Addie Derr. I’m the content strategist for SolarWinds MSP and I’ll be your host this morning. I’m joined by Carrie Reber, senior product marketing manager for SolarWinds Backup. Hello, Carrie. 

Carrie:   Good morning. 

Addie:   Thank you so much for being here. 

Carrie:   Of course. 

Addie:   So today we’re talking about frankenbackup and I’m sure that could mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. So let’s make sure we’re starting off with everybody on the same page. So when we say frankenbackup, Carrie, what does that mean to you? 

Carrie:   One of the things I’ve seen over the years in talking to different customers is that old backup technologies never really die. They kind of become like an undead monster and they also tend to be patched together. You know, you think of Frankenstein with the bolts in his neck and he’s made up of all these pieces and parts. I think a lot of companies’ backup solutions are like that. They use multiple products, multiple types of media, and it just really becomes a cobbled-together mess. 

Addie:   Is that something that you think happens organically over time or why do you think companies sort of cobble together a solution like that as opposed to having a cloud-first solution, for example? 

Carrie:   Yeah, absolutely. I mean everybody’s got budget realities. 

Addie:   Sure. 

Carrie:   A lot of IT people have inherited something from a predecessor and you know, there’s a lot of technology that’s been around for a while, but it’s still serviceable and it’s inexpensive, so it’s easy to just keep it around as you’re adding the newer things. 

Addie:   That makes sense. That makes sense. So when we’re talking about different technologies cobbled together, let’s talk through some of what those are. I’ve heard you mentioned before tapes, a lot of people still use tapes. 

Carrie:   They do, which is surprising. I think a lot of people, when spinning disk and then eventually Flash came into play, I think a lot of the vendors assumed that tape was just going to go in the garbage bin of history, but it hasn’t. And a lot of that is because it is so affordable. It’s very inexpensive, but it’s also very vulnerable. If you store it at the wrong temperature, it can be degraded. What if you have a tape drive in a remote office sitting in a closet under a water pipe and the water pipe bursts. You know, if you want to get it off site, a lot of times what people will do is they, you know, especially in the old days, they’d load up those tape drives and hand it to a driver of a truck from a service that will take it away to remote storage. It seems kind of antiquated now. You’re literally tending your crucial business data to a stranger who’s going to drive away with it. 

Addie:   That sounds terrifying. 

Carrie:   But it was the only way for a long time, the only way for a long time and you know–as newer things come in like spinning disk and Flash, it’s new, it’s fast, it has a lot of advantages, but it’s more expensive. And so sometimes the old tape drives will get sent away to a remote office or a secondary site which is deemed less important and where the vulnerabilities associated with tape are an acceptable trade-off to the cost advantage. 

Addie:   And so besides tape and flash and spinning disks, what are the other pieces that people cobbled together to come up with a frankenbackup solution? 

Carrie:   Yeah. Well there was a big movement when virtualization first came out when VMware brought virtualization to the current architecture and it became a big thing and you saw a new generation of backup providers come into play who were virtual-first and that had a lot of appeal. If your data center is largely virtualized, that’s what you want. And it became very popular. It still is very popular. And that prompted the legacy providers to say, “Oh, we do virtual, too.” And they sort of patched it on. They took a different approach. The legacy providers typically needed an agent deployed to each server that was going to be protected. And if you have physical servers, that’s fine. It makes sense. But if you’re virtualized and you have maybe 10 or 20 or 50 virtual machines on one physical server–what if you’ve got 10 or 20 or 50 agents now? You know, not everybody found that appealing and so the virtual-first backup products would work at the hypervisor level and that was considered more efficient. So now you’ve probably got a special backup product for your virtual servers, but you’ve still got some physical servers out there, so you probably keep your old backup product for them. 

Addie:   And you have to manage that in two separate places. 

Carrie:   Yes, absolutely. Two consoles, two software products, two licenses, two vendors. 

Addie:   I would imagine that takes a lot more time. That opens you to a lot of risk. 

Carrie:   It does potentially, yeah. You have to have some specialist training and, in some cases for big organizations, they’ll have dedicated backup admins and you know, that’s nice, but to make it someone’s full time job for something that’s kind of mundane is not always appealing to everybody. 

Addie:   Sure. And that probably doesn’t scale either. Right? As you continue to grow and you’re backing up more things and you’re trying to create a program that is going to keep all of your information secure, right? 

Carrie:   Yeah. It just gets more and more complex. 

Addie:   Sure, sure. 

Carrie:   And then the next thing that came into play of course was the cloud. 

Addie:   Ah, the cloud! 

Carrie:   Everyone talks about the cloud! And so that caused both the virtual-first and the traditional backup providers to say, “Oh, we do cloud too!” and to adapt themselves for that now. And usually they would do that through partnership with a cloud provider, whether it’s a local cloud services provider or one of the big, you know, national and international public cloud providers. They often would give the customer the choice: Bring your own cloud, you choose. And that freedom of choice is nice, but it also brings more complexity because now you have another vendor, another support ticket to file, another layer that’s been patched onto your old backup product. 

Addie:   Oh wow. So what would you say the benefits are of bringing your own cloud versus using a third-party cloud provider? 

Carrie:   You know, everyone likes freedom of choice, so bringing your own is appealing in that way, but it’s a lot more convenient if you have a single vendor that provides everything: The software, the hosted storage–you’ve got one vendor, one invoice, one support desk to call. It just simplifies your life. 

Addie:   That makes perfect sense. So if I am an MSP and I have a frankenbackup solution–I have stuff everywhere, bolted and duct-taped together and held together with prayer and goodwill–and I want to move to a cloud-first solution, what does that process look like for me? 

Carrie:   Yeah. What you just described is more common than people would realize, because when I first described was almost an in-house IT scenario and one of the ways that some people solve that problem is by outsourcing it to a service provider. You know, just give the mess over to them, let them deal with it. 

Addie:   And let them handle it. Yeah. 

Carrie:   Which is nice for the for the company, but it’s not so nice for the service provider and they have the additional problem that some of their clients when they come on board already have a favorite backup product and they say, “I use product X, I want you to keep using it on my behalf.” And if you have 10 clients that have 10 favorite backup products, now you’ve got 10 backup products to manage and that can be a real hassle for the service provider. So you know, when you think about the cloud for them, they have special requirements with or without the cloud. They need things like a multitenant console so they can manage the backups for multiple customers without having to log into multiple instances. Ideally that single console would also cover different types of devices so they can protect multiple customers, virtual and physical servers, workstations, documents, you know, maybe even Office 365, all from a single console. 

Addie:   So let’s put our MSP hats on for a minute. Let’s say I have a frankenbackup solution. I have stuff everywhere, literally duct taped together. What does that look like? If I want to move to a more centralized solution that’s easier to manage and would be just save time for me during the day and would be a more secure solution? 

Carrie:   Yeah, I think a lot of MSPs might want to do this in an incremental fashion. 

Addie:   Okay. 

Carrie:   So they have all different types of clients. They have some customers who probably don’t even know what backup system they’re using. They don’t care. They’ve outsourced it. I often think of it being like me and a car mechanic. I don’t care what kind of spark plugs they use. I’m just relying on them to make my car run. And there are some customers who I think rely on their service providers to just make those computers work. You’re the expert. I leave it to you do it how you think is best. Those are the dream clients, right? And for them, yes, the MSP can use whatever product they think makes the most sense and it’s invisible to the customer. The others who do have a preference–there are several ways to deal with it. One thing that I have seen done successfully: A service provider that I knew a few years ago actually required, when they signed a new customer, they required as part of the contract, one of the last bullets was, “…and you will have your data protected by us, it will cost you this much a month. Non-negotiable.” 

Addie:   Oh wow. 

Carrie:   These are terms of us working with you because they knew when a device fails, when a hurricane comes through or a power outage, they knew that that client was going to be calling on them and expecting them to get them out of this situation and save the day and they knew that without a good quality backup product, this was going to be hard to do. 

Addie:   Sure. So I can imagine also there’d be a whole host of objections to that. 

Carrie:   You know, at first there could be because they would think, “Well, this is an added expense, I don’t really want to pay for it.” But I think one of the things that’s really changing people’s minds is all the headlines around ransomware. You know, every day you see someone in the paper, some city, some hospital, some financial institute that has been hit by ransomware. I just saw something recently where a major US city had to revert to paper for more than a week and it was just unbelievable to me. Do they not have a backup or did the backup get corrupted? That’s a potential problem. Some of them lie in wait and actually corrupt a few of your backups before they strike and become visible. Scary. But you know, enough of those headlines I think can reinforce the customer’s confidence in their service provider that, “You know what, you’re the expert. You’re going to help me, you’re going to save me from this.” And that’s really a good way to sell and say it’s worth the investment. You don’t want to be in the headlines. You don’t want to be relying on paper for a week at a time. 

Addie:   Sure. I don’t think anybody wants to rely on paper for a week at a time. 

Carrie:   That’s right. Yeah, that’s right. Yeah. So you know, they may not be able to get it all the way down to just a single product. I mean, in a perfect dream world, they would. But if there are some clients that are just absolutely stuck on using their product–fine, do it. But if a service provider is using five different backup products and they can even simplify it down to two, that’s real progress and it really translates into time and money savings for them because these valuable technical people on the service provider staff would be so much better used providing actual value to the customers in new things, instituting a new product, new projects, doing things other than just babysitting routine backups. The simpler we can make that, the less time that takes out of their day and their week, the more that translates to profitability for the MSP. 

Addie:   That makes perfect sense. So what advice would you have for an MSP who maybe they already have clients set up and they’re using multiple solutions and they want to get them towards the process of coming down to one? Are there maybe tips or advice that you would have to–as they’re continuing to have conversations and work through challenges with their clients that could sort of lead them to that conversation? 

Carrie:   Yeah, I think it has to do with them reinforcing, you know–obviously they have a close relationship with their customers and there’s an element of trust there. I mean the customers have hired them for a reason. 

Addie:   Right. 

Carrie:   And so if they can just recommend and say–you know, in some cases it might even be transparent. I don’t know that all of their customers will even know or care, you know, going back to that sparkplug analogy, you know, some of them won’t know or care. The ones who do care, I think on the advice of the service provider who is the expert, they can say, “You know, we’ve researched the market and what you were using when we first started working together was fine a decade ago, but we found something better. It’s going to protect you better, it’s more reliable.” And even if they can also affect it with pricing, obviously the service provider needs to build in their own profit and it’s up to them how they want to price it, but into that could be one way to make it more appealing to the customer and if they’ve found a cloud first solution that is cheaper for themselves, they have more margin to play around with. 

Addie:   Sure. So one of the other objections that they might get as a anxiety about the cloud, maybe they’re unfamiliar with it, they’ve heard the term tossed around, but they don’t understand what the benefits are. So can you talk a little bit about that? Why the cloud? 

Carrie:   Yeah, definitely. I think it’s important to realize that there’s more than one type of cloud. So when people hear cloud, what first comes to mind often is the large public clouds that are somewhat consumer-oriented, they’re very much for the Dev Ops community and those kinds of things. And people can be a little leery of that because they’re unsure: “Where’s my data going?” If they’re Canadian, is my data staying in Canada? If they’re European, is my data staying in the EU? They just don’t know. And so one of the nice things is if the MSP can offer something that’s backed by a private cloud, it’s purpose-built just for backups. It’s worldwide, there’s locations everywhere and they just have a lot more confidence, I think sometimes, in a private cloud that’s purpose-built for backup and where there is a little more certainty about where their data is and how it’s being segregated, how it’s being protected. And then I think, you know, that’s the burden is on the cloud provider whether it’s a backup product or a standalone cloud to provide that information an that reassurance. The other piece that people often don’t think about is with some cloud-first services such as ours, the actual application is hosted in the cloud. It’s like a SaaS application. So what that means is the MSP doesn’t have to stand up a server installed, download that, software and babysit that server now. It’s all hosted. And one of the nice things about a web-based console is the managed service provider can access it from anywhere. So if they’ve got, you know, a client that has a problem after hours and maybe their technician is at their child’s soccer game or something, who knows, they can actually do the recovery from right there on a mobile device. 

Addie:   Oh, that’s awesome. 

Carrie:   And with traditional backup that’s stored on an on-premises server, you’d have to get your laptop, VPN in, log in to that software, and do it from there. And it’s just a few more steps and a little more difficulty. But a hosted web-based console you can get from anywhere even on mobile devices. And that adds a real degree of responsiveness. So there’s two aspects for the service provider: There’s that convenience and ease of use even after hours and for the end customer, there’s just rapid response no matter what. That’s the benefit they see. 

Addie:   That’s awesome. And so because I’ve heard this question quite a bit before and I think our listeners are always interested in the answer: So if I am in Canada, right, and I’m using SolarWinds Backup–where’s my data? 

Carrie:   In Canada. 

Addie:   In Canada, it stays in Canada. 

Carrie:   Yup. Yeah. We have multiple datacenters in a lot of countries and we have multiple datacenters within the European Union and you know, that’s, that’s important. We understand data sovereignty matters to people and we want to keep it in the right place. 

Addie:   So as we’re thinking about–again, we have our MSP hat on–and we’re thinking about ways that the MSP can lay the groundwork for their customers to move to a cloud-first backup solution. Are there any other objections that you hear often that customers put up that maybe they want to stay with our current solution or they’re afraid to move. They don’t want to rip out and replace. 

Carrie:   You know, they might worry that their data will be commingled with someone else’s. And that’s absolutely not the case. Just because it’s in a single cloud doesn’t mean it’s commingled at all. In fact, the MSP can see in the management console all of their different clients, but they’re segregated logically into separate units. So they’re not ever intermixed. It’s just from a management standpoint, it’s in one place visually, but they’re drilling down into separate units. So, the other nice thing about the hosted management console is you can see at-a-glance the status of all the backups across all of your clients and there are these nice colorful charts at the top that show, you know, red, green, yellow, and if everything is green, you know in one glance that all the backups for all the devices and all your customers are good. If there’s a small segment that is orange or red, you can drill down with one click and see what the problem is and solve it. So it really saves a lot of time, but it keeps the data distinct and segregated. 

Addie:   That’s awesome. Another concern would be affordability. So can you talk a little bit about maybe the price differences and the um, maybe the cost benefit, right? Of having something like a frankenbackup where you’re relying on tapes, even, versus something like a cloud-first solution? 

Carrie:   Yeah, those little hidden costs really do add up. 

Addie:   Sure. 

Carrie:   Because if you have a traditional legacy backup product, the software is just the beginning. You’ve got to buy servers, you have to buy storage devices, you have to buy an operating system for that server. If you also, then, instead of that, if you go to an appliance-based system, those are quite popular and in the beginning that looks easy, but the downside is that now you’ve had to pay for an appliance and you have to expand it when it runs out of capacity. Sometimes there’s field upgrades, sometimes not. You have to replace them, you have to upgrade them. Now you, as the service provider, have this hardware sitting there that maybe Customer A has outgrown and Customer B isn’t ready for yet, but you have to pay for it. And that’s not appealing to a lot of people. 

Addie:   So when we’re thinking about capacity–can the cloud run out of capacity? Like I would have to buy more tapes, I’d have to buy another server, but what about the cloud? 

Carrie:   No, I mean that’s our job. That’s what we manage for the MSP. They don’t have to worry about that. We keep constant tabs on it and we also, our backup system is very, very efficient, more so than a lot of people realize until they actually dig in and start using it. So of course all backup products have deduplication and compression, but we take it to a whole new level because our product was designed for cloud-first. It was built to really optimize travel over the wide area network and really compress and de-duplicate the data down to a very tiny, tiny amount of data. So what’s going back and forth each day is very, very small. And what’s stored in our cloud is much smaller than it would otherwise be because we’re only storing the incremental differences really all the way down to the byte level. 

Addie:   Sure. 

Carrie:   And that makes the amount of storage space that we need in our cloud to serve our clients smaller than it might be for other people, but we keep a total eye on that we keep expanding as we need to and we ensure that that’s not going to be a problem. 

Addie:   And I would imagine too that that would impact the time of day that you can back up because if you’re not sending that much back and forth over it, you’re not taking a lot of bandwidth. You could back up often as opposed to only backing up maybe at night or once a week. 

Carrie:   Absolutely. Yeah. That’s a really good point. And that’s another thing that as we talk to customers who are new to our product, they’re often surprised because they have concerns that, you know, our backup window is overnight and the backups have to be completed in seven hours, what will we do? Can we do that? And they run ours and they find that it’s taken 10 minutes. 

Addie:   Yeah. 

Carrie:   And that’s a real surprise. I mean, obviously it varies by the amount of data that you’re sending, the amount of things you’re backing up, how often, how long you’re keeping them, you know, all of those things are variables, but, on the whole, the amount of time it takes is dramatically shorter. 

Addie:   That sounds super-efficient. 

Carrie:   You know, it goes back to how our product was designed. If you think about those legacy products, they were designed for a server that’s sitting right next to the tape drive in the same raised floor data center and so it doesn’t have to be very fast. It’s not going very far. It doesn’t have to be very efficient. And again, typically in those days you would have a nice long overnight backup window so it didn’t have to be quick. But in today’s world people expect to be, you know, almost more 24/7 business. And we also designed ours from the very beginning to go over the wide area network to a remote location. And so we built that into the specs from the very beginning and we didn’t release the product until we knew that it would perform acceptably, and even fast, in that new world and that new scenario so you can take an old product and try to speed it up, but it’s a lot more efficient to build it fast in the first place, which is what we did. 

Addie:   And that sounds really simple to use from the MSP’s perspective, like in terms of their management piece. 

Carrie:   It is. In fact that’s one of the goals, again, in designing the console, is making it easy enough that a fairly junior level person with not a lot of detailed training can intuitively use it. It’s a nice clean interface. Everything is at-a-glance and when you see a problem you click on it and drill down and you’re right there and it’s really handy. 

Addie:   And talk a little bit about–because I think this is really interesting–the different things that you can back up, right? Because we’re not just talking about servers and data, we’re talking about individual workstations. We have the ability to backup documents, as well. 

Carrie:   Yes. And that’s the nice thing that it’s all from one console, all from one product, one vendor, you know, of course you can protect both your physical and your virtual servers and workstations and important documents and the newest thing that is ahead will be protecting Office 365; that’s coming up shortly. So that gives an even more holistic view because a lot of people are starting to move from traditional exchange servers to Office 365. And of course you want to be able to protect that. And as an MSP you want to still keep that great relationship with your customer, protecting all of their data even as they move to something like O365. 

Addie:   Perfect. So Carrie, for MSPs who are just starting out, can you talk me through the literal process of moving from something like a frankenbackup solution to a cloud-first solution? So they have a client that says “I’m ready to go.” And then what are their next steps? Like what does that process look like? 

Carrie:   Yeah. So the best practice is really to have a little bit of overlap because you don’t want your customer’s data to be unprotected at any point, so it’s not like you’re going to just turn off the old one first. That is not your first step. You’ll definitely want to get signed up for something like, say, a cloud-first backup. f it’s one that is hosted in the cloud, you basically will sign up, get in there, familiarize yourself a little bit with it, and then one by one start adding servers, adding workstations, and transitioning gradually. One of the things that’s interesting about this type of product is the first backup does tend to be very large because the first time you have to send all the data. After that, it’ll be very small and that’s where the duplication and the compression comes into play. And so those first backups, the smartest thing really is to start with a few servers, move them over, get those first big backups done, and then move a few more; then a few more. And as you get them moved over and successfully backing up with a new product, then you turn them off in the old product until eventually you have it all over there and now you’re good to go. 

Addie:   And how long would you say that process normally takes? 

Carrie:   It’s hard to say because it depends so much on the size of your customers: How many servers, how many workstations. If you have one that’s really big and has a lot of data, you might want to do that later. Maybe start with some smaller ones so that you can make sure that you are using it correctly and that everything is working fine and that it’s nice and successfully done. And then if the bigger ones take a little longer, you’re okay because you know that things are going to work. 

Addie:   Sure. So, in talking about that–in migrating everything over to a cloud-first solution, if we have folks who are listening who are evaluating different providers, different partners, what are the things that they should look for that any cloud-first provider who’s worth their salt would have as part of their solution? 

Carrie:   Yeah. Well, one of the things to think about is that it’s cloud first; it’s not cloud only. 

Addie:   Ah, good point. 

Carrie:   So a good solution will also have some way for you to keep a local copy either at your facility or at your client’s facility because there may be times when the Internet is down or your ISP goes down. And what if you have to do a recovery of a device during that downtime? You do want a local copy. And so, you know, a good product would do both. It would provide a cloud-first, but also have a local way to store some of it. And that’s optional, you know. There is a thing called a cloud services gateway, which aggregates the local backups to a single device and then sends that to the cloud. But there’s some real problems and inefficiencies with that, which we can go into in a future podcast, but you know, a cleaner way is to send them directly from the devices to the cloud and at the same time send them to a local device. 

Addie:   Are there other things that they should think about when it comes to looking for cloud first? 

Carrie:   Absolutely need multitenant interface. 

Addie:   Okay. 

Carrie:   Because as a managed service provider, your time is money and the less time you have to spend opening and closing different instances of products and scrolling through lists of backups to see which ones were successful, which ones might have failed, takes up valuable time that you could much more easily be spending on something of more value to your client. And not to mention, you know–not to be crass–but things that are billable, you know, that does make a difference. If you’re babysitting backups and it takes a lot of your time, that’s time you could be spending doing something of more value that is billable. 

Addie:   And talking about billable and costs and things like that: There has to be some hidden costs of this that we’ve maybe not touched on and I’m thinking specifically about the actual limits of how many products any sysadmin can truly master and overworking them. 

Carrie:   So there’s two aspects to it. There’s over working them, but there’s also giving them interesting work to do. So if you have a really talented IT professional and their job becomes babysitting backups many hours a week, that gets really dull, it’s kind of tedious and they’re not going to have a lot of job satisfaction. They’re probably not going to be a very happy employee. You might have more trouble keeping them. But if instead you can put your most talented people on more interesting, newer, higher-profile projects that they will find more interesting and more stimulating, that’s a great personnel decision. And if you have a nice, simple, straightforward backup product, you can put a more junior person on that and they can do it just fine. And for them it’s still interesting because they’re just learning. They’re maybe at the beginning of their career and it’s a fine job for them to do. So that’s a big piece of it. 

Addie:   So I think a good way to close this out today is, after we’ve talked about frankenbackup and the pitfalls of that and the benefits of moving to a cloud-first solution and the kinds of things we need to consider there–let’s talk about some best practices for backup. One of the things I think is, is the 3-2-1 backup strategy and how that relates to a cloud-first backup strategy because I think a lot of people think cloud-first means cloud only, right? And that sort of disagrees that its core with what a 3-2-1 backup strategy is. So can you talk about that a little bit? 

Carrie:   Yeah, absolutely. So, that is a well-known best practice in the industry that we talk about a lot, the 3-2-1 backup rule, which means you have to have three copies of your data on at least two different types of storage media and at least one of those needs to be kept off-site. And a cloud-first solution really is a nice, elegant way to make that happen. So the three copies of your data, one can be production, the second can be the one that’s in the cloud, and the third can be an onsite, optional version of it that you keep on a local device. So there’s your three and if you’ve got two types of media, you already have it there. You have one that’s in the cloud and one that’s on your local device and one of them’s offsite because it’s in the cloud. So with one product you’ve gotten already your three, two, and your one. 

Addie:   And I would imagine, too, that with the piece that’s going offsite, there’s a lot of trust required with that. Right? So if I’m an MSP and I’m selling that solution that it’s also important for me from a sales perspective to really establish my trustworthiness as a partner. 

Carrie:   Definitely, that’s a big issue and that’s what’s behind a lot of people’s hesitancy about going to the cloud is they are concerned about things like security, encryption, physical security at the remote data centers. And those are definitely issues they should talk to their vendor about and make sure that they understand that up front. You know, things like 256-bit encryption–the data should be encrypted both when it’s in transit and at rest–and when it’s moving, one of the most secure ways to do that is via TLS 1.2 tunnels, which is where you make sure that it’s secure even as it’s moving. And the data centers that you send it to, there’s things like ISO, SSAE–there’s a whole host of standards–but those are really good questions to ask of your vendor and make sure that you understand exactly what standards they’re living up to, and that will help you feel confident and in turn then you can reassure your customers. 

Addie:   Sure. And correct me if I’m wrong, right, but that is, those security standards are considered to meet the standards for military use as well. So when we say secure, we really mean secure. 

Carrie:   Exactly. AES-256 in particular is one of those that they say is “military grade.” So a lot of people who are in-the-know security experts, when you say that, that’s shorthand right there for a whole host of things that they know is what they want. 

Addie:   Awesome. And, touching on the security piece as well, I would imagine the deduplication piece of it also provides an added piece of security, right? So if someone does get access to it, they’re not getting the whole thing, are they? 

Carrie:   Right, they’re only getting little bits and pieces, which–you’re exactly right–that would not be very useful to anyone. And another important piece of this and a good question to ask is who holds that encryption key? You as the managed service providers should hold it if choose to give it to your customer, that’s up to you. But it shouldn’t be something that the vendor has easy access to or that they can decrypt your messages. That’s just not a good practice. 

Addie:   Last but not least, I think it’s important to touch on efficiency. So you talked a little bit before about the process of establishing your backups and that first one is a huge backup, right? Because you’re backing up everything, but that’s got to make everything more efficient as you move further in that process and your backups that follow the first one are much quicker because of that deduplication, so that’s got to save you a lot of time. 

Carrie:   Yeah, absolutely. It saves you time. It saves your storage space. It saves really in every way, and again it goes back to that idea that the product was built for the cloud. It was built to send over the wide area network and so it does it very efficiently and with very, very small amounts of data and small file sizes. 

Addie:   Well, Carrie, thank you so much for being with us today. Your insight about backup was super valuable. 

Carrie:   It was a pleasure. I love talking about backup. 

Addie:   It shows! It shows. And thanks to everybody for joining us. For more information about SolarWinds Backup or any of our other products, please visit solarwindsmsp.com. For more information on the topics we covered in this episode, definitely check out our show notes and please keep an eye out for future podcasts that Carrie will join us for where we will also talk about more backup. 

Carrie:   More backup! 

Addie:   All of the backup. Thanks so much again for joining us, everyone, and we’ll talk to you next time. 

Thanks for visiting. We’ll catch you on the next episode of SolarWinds TechPod, Tech Talks. And remember, we want to hear what you think! You can subscribe, rate, and review SolarWinds TechPod wherever you listen to podcasts.