Cloud Disk Image Backup
Summary: An image backup creates a complete backup of a hard drive and/or attached data drives. If an image backup needs to be restored, your operating system, programs, and files will be the same as the last time the backup took place. With an image backup, the restoration is “all or nothing” and individual files cannot be restored.
Use-cases: Servers and computers that are mission-critical and need to be restored exactly how they were before data corruption.
Recovery time: Recovery time ranges between 1 to 3 days depending on the size of the drives that are needing to be restored and the bandwidth of the location where the data is being restored. For customers with low bandwidth, the recovery process and be run from Small Town Tech’s location.
Costs: Cloud image backup costs $0.20 per GB per month. For example, a hard drive that has 100GB of data will cost $20 per month.
More details: Small Town Tech’s Pro+Tech endpoint management software is powered by NinjaOne and utilizes integrated backup software. The data is stored in the United States by Amazon Web Services (AWS). Ninja Backup encrypts data using AES-256 encryption in transit and at rest. Encryption keys are generated using FIPS 140-2 Level 3 Certified hardware security module clusters.
Due to the typical disk space that is backed up, STT recommends internet speeds of 100mbs download and 15mbs upload speeds.
This VHDX file is treated the same as other backup files in that it is broken up into numerous chunks, which are then encrypted and compressed. These chunks allow the agent to determine what parts of the disk might have changed and only store those changes (deltas/incrementals) in subsequent backups.
The files that are excluded from image backups depend on the VSS providers on the machine. By default, when creating a snapshot, the default Windows system provider will exclude Windows temp folders and other cached data that isn't required for a restore.
If the system contains other providers, such as those installed by Exchange or MSSQL after the image backup is performed, they are notified that a backup has been completed and they will clean their own temporary files. It is important to note that they are also notified when a backup begins, which forces them to flush important files to disk fully so that a restore will contain all data needed for the application to continue to run.
Any application that has heavy disk access likely provides its own VSS providers. By default, the Pro+Tech Backup agent is aware of the providers and includes them as part of the backup process to ensure that they are notified properly. This allows them to exclude certain temp files and flush files to disk as needed.
Revisions explained: Pro+Tech Cloud Image Backups are forward incremental delta backups. When an image backup job runs, it is one of two types of backups - full or delta.
- Full backup - a complete image backup of the partitions designated in the backup plan is run.
- Delta backup (Block-level) - only data that has changed in comparison to the last time the backup plan was run is backed up, which then builds upon the most recent full backup job (and any other delta backup jobs run since then).
- A full backup job is run on the device, and the job results in 100GB of data stored.
- Each subsequent delta backup job results in 25GB of data stored.
- After three delta jobs have run, the total data stored for those deltas will be 75GB (25GB + 25GB + 25GB).
- 75GB is 75% of 100GB, so the next backup job run on the device for this plan will be a full backup.
Cloud File Backup
Summary: File backup creates a backup of user files and other files determined by the client and STT account manager to be important. File backup only backs up the file that is selected and does not back up the operating system and programs.
Use-cases: Cloud file backup is used for computers where programs and operating systems can be reinstalled easily and quickly. For example, in the case of a hard drive failure, a new hard drive would be installed and the software would be readded through installation files maintained by the customer(or by STT if previously agreed to) and the data files would be restored and reconnected to the programs.
Recovery time: Downtime is relatively low compared to image backup but can range from 1 day to 3 days depending on hardware and software availability. Windows installation can take up to 24 hours and software installation depends on the installation file source. The restoration of files is quick because only critical files are backed up and the data usage is lower than an image backup. Files from one computer can also be restored to another working computer with a lower recovery time because there is no software or operating system installation.
Costs: Cloud file backup costs $0.20 per GB per month. For example, a hard drive that has 20GB of user files will cost $4 per month
More details: Small Town Tech’s Pro+Tech endpoint management software is powered by NinjaOne and utilizes integrated backup software. The data is stored in the United States by Amazon Web Services(AWS). Ninja Backup encrypts data using AES-256 encryption in transit and at rest. Encryption keys are generated using FIPS 140-2 Level 3 Certified hardware security module clusters.
File backup stores 30 file revisions for up to 30 days which means a file that has been modified can be restored from a previous state if data corruption occurs or a client wants a previous version of a file.
Depending on the plan configuration, a list of folders to scan is prepared by the Pro+Tech Backup agent.
The list of available files is collected and the agent attempts to determine if record already exists for these files. If so, it attempts to determine if they have changed since the last successful backup (a.k.a. whether they require a delta/incremental backup).
The agent stores a list of "events" that keep a historical record of action taken on a new file from a backup perspective.
- If a file is found for the first time, a "file created" event is recorded.
- If the file has been deleted, a "file deleted" event is recorded.
- This same process is repeated for each possible type of event (modifications, file moves, etc.).
- Depending on the file, VSS might be invoked in order to retrieve the contents of the file (for example, if the file is locked).
There are separate pipelines for large and small files to allow for some pipelines to process small files while others work on larger files.
Network Attached Storage (NAS)
Summary: A network-attached storage is a device that has hard drives to store data on the local network.
Use-cases: A NAS is perfect for affordably storing image backups and can be used as a shared file server. Both uses can be done simultaneously on the same NAS.
Recovery time: Backup recovery times for both file and image backups are greatly reduced because they are not subject to the limitations of your internet service provider.
Costs: Initial costs are high but have very few recurring ongoing costs. The cost of the NAS is dependent on the device requirements. Devices can range from $500 to $5000. Hard drives are an additional cost and NAS devices usually operate in RAID configurations that require a minimum of two hard drives. The size and cost of the hard drives depend on the amount and type of data being backed up. Generally speaking for image backups, you will need at least as much space as the individual hard drives space being used by the end-points that are being backed up. Hard drives do occasionally fail and although the RAID configuration will protect from data loss, the hard drive/s will need to be replaced so there are potential sporadic and ongoing costs but with the possibility of failure, the cost is relatively low.
More details: NAS devices are subject to network-wide cyber attacks and are vulnerable to workplace disasters such as fires. Pro+Tech can be used to monitor the backup status of some NAS devices.
Frequently Asked Questions
What service does Pro+Tech Backup use for data storage?
Pro+Tech Backup uses AWS to store data.
How does Pro+Tech Backup compress files?
Backup data is compressed and encrypted on the agent machine as it is uploaded. The compression rate averages between 2:1 and 5:1 for most files.
How is encryption handled by Pro+Tech Backup?
Pro+Tech Backup encrypts data using AES-256 encryption in transit and at rest. Encryption keys are generated using FIPS 140-2 Level 3 Certified hardware security module clusters.
Does the File/Folder backup retain NTFS/share permissions?
No - file/folder backup does not currently retain NTFS permissions.
Does Pro+Tech Backup support virtual machine backup?
A virtual machine can be backed up if a Pro+Tech agent is installed on the individual VM. However, Pro+Tech Backup does not currently backup VMs from the host.
Does Pro+Tech Backup have the ability to back up Office 365 or Sharepoint?
No, not at this time.
Does Pro+Tech Backup have the ability to back up SQL / Exchange / Quickbooks / similar databases?
Pro+Tech Data Protection does not have a dedicated integration with any database software programs at this time. For some database programs (such as SQL and Quickbooks), one could use the program's native backup option and then backup the resulting file(s) in a file/folder backup plan. Please check the vendor documentation for the database software in question to determine whether it can be backed up natively, and/or what the vendor recommends as best practices for backing up the database.
Are mapped network drives included in backups?
No, not at this time.
What happens if a backup job is interrupted by the computer shutting down or being rebooted?
The backup will resume uploading from the last file it stopped on, but will not resume uploading partially uploaded files. For example, if the job had sent 100/300 files and is currently in the middle of uploading file #101 when the system reboots, we will restart the upload process for file #101 when the backup job resumes.
What happens when a device is offline when a backup is scheduled to start?
The backup plan will run when the device comes back online.
How does Pro+Tech Backup handle files that are open and being edited on the device at the time when a backup job is running?
Whatever data was included in the most recent save for that file will be backed up when Pro+Tech Backup reaches the file in question.
Is there a maximum size for individual image backups?
5TB is the maximum size for an individual image backup.
Does Pro+Tech Data Protection support backups or restores of software RAID controllers?
No, backups or restores of software RAID of any kind are not supported at this time.
Does Pro+Tech backup hidden folders on a device?
Yes, hidden folders are backed up.
Can external hard drives be backed up?
No, backing up an external hard drive is not supported.
Can bandwidth be limited during business hours?
Yes, bandwidth can be throttled to a speed that meets your network needs and the schedule is customizable.
What folders are included in Pro+Tech File Backup plan by default?
The following folders for each users will be backed up; Desktop, Documents, Pictures, AppData(Local), Appdata(Roaming). The Public Profile Desktop, Documents, and Pictures are also backed up. ProgramData and Common Start Menu are Backed up by default.
Can Pro+Tech Cloud File backup be customized to back up other files and folders on the hard drive?
Yes, a technician will work with you to build a custom backup plan.