If you ask the towkays of many small and medium enterprises in Singapore if they had some of their most important data backed up, chances are they would give a blank look (“what’s backup?”) or say they have a network drive that they save everything in.
The reason why they haven’t put their customer contacts, invoices and blueprints – the very lifeblood of their businesses – in more secure places is often cost, or the lack of know-how. In particular, small companies often don’t have the manpower to plan for business continuity, should a fire or flood hit the office, or even if a user accidentally erases data on a server.
This is where Singapore backup firm Kronicles is proposing to come in with its backup service, which offers both local and remote backup of customers’ most important data.
Unveiled today, this “backup as a service” is offered from S$5,000 a month (down to under S$2,000 after Singapore government tax rebates for using innovation) and uses Quantum tapes to keep up to three copies of the most recent data.
What’s unique about the Kronicles offering is that it offers both on-site and off-site backup. For the remote link, it does not use your regular broadband line but taps on a dedicated StarHub link – yes, that’s included in the price as well.
The first line of backup is a tape-based device it calls the POD, which is installed at the customer offices and keeps a copy of the files that a customer uses for a month. Using the local network, it holds data that is fast to back up, and should the need arises, fast to recover as well.
At the end of each day, the files are then copied – securely – to a remote site over the cloud to a StarHub facility in Yishun, Singapore (for customers here). If there is a fire or a flood, and the POD is damaged, the data can be restored remotely.
The reason why this is possible is because the next-gen broadband network here offers extremely fast upload speeds, compared to previous broadband options that offer very little in the way of uploads, so companies can transfer their backups quickly in the evening.
At the end of each month, a copy of the tape is saved and given to the customer for his own safekeeping. Alternatively, this can be stored at a Certis Cisco site. This is usually for regulatory purposes, such as if the taxman decides to check on accounts, for example.
The key here, as with many new cloud-based services, is the subscription model. There are no upfront equipment costs or worries about maintenance, which will delight SMEs too lean to hire an entire IT department.
Put another way, this is enterprise-grade backup sold at SME-friendly prices. Kronicles (Singapore) CEO Piti Pramotedham told reporters today it has so far signed up three customers pre-launch, and there’s also been a lot of interest from “mid-market” players eager to outsource their backup functions.
It hopes to expand to Southeast Asian countries like the Philippines later this year. It also plans to roll out its service with local telcos and keep the backup data in-country for faster backup and recovery.
More details at the Kronicles site.