Better Backup

Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:37 pm

About 10 years ago, John Guetzke, president of Waukesha-based Guetzke & Associates Inc., was using a tape system to back up the data saved to his company’s computer system and server. To work the system, an employee inserted a tape into a machine and turned it on. The light turned on. The machine started to make a noise. However, there was no way to know if it was actually working, Guetzke said.

"We found out our tapes were not working," he said.

At the same time Guetzke realized his backup tapes were not actually recording data, the employee in charge of the tape system suffered a heart attack.

"In the six weeks he was off, we had three different account temps dump the system three times, and we physically lost all of our data," Guetzke said.

Backing up data in case of a disaster does not always mean preparing for a natural disaster or the breakdown of hardware, said Bill King, vice president of Waukesha-based Centurion Data Systems Inc.

Centurion offers a managed data backup storage service. Centurion supplies a server for its clients at its office at 711 W. Moreland Blvd. The server automatically backs up data from a client’s site during off business hours via an Internet connection.

"There is no question that I prefer the managed method," Guetzke said.

Guetzke has worked with Centurion for about 10 years.

"Centurion offers leased servers so we don’t have to deal with data backup," said Joe Ausavich of Milwaukee-based Carl Krueger Construction Inc. "Every night, all of the data stored on my server goes off through the Internet connection to two off-site locations. So if a comet landed on our roof, there was a fire or if someone broke in and stole my server, Centurion would have an identical copy of our server up and running within two hours if I called them."

Ausavich has worked with Centurion for about six years and originally worked with the company on backup tapes.

"Every day, I would put one tape in and take one out. When I would go on vacation, someone else had to flip the tape around," Ausavich said. "The tapes were unbelievably expensive, about $50 a piece, and they did not last very long."

"A few years ago we used tapes as well," King said. "We made the effort to make sure the system was working properly but became frustrated and wanted something more reliable."

The Waukesha office of Centurion decided to back its own data up at its second location in Lincolnshire, Ill., and then began soliciting the service to its clients, King said.

"As problems arose with the tape systems of our existing clients, they seemed frustrated," King said. "We said, ‘Here is another option. We know it is good because we use it ourselves.’"

The monthly cost of the managed service starts at about $75, King said. The $75 covers up to 10 gigabytes, and every gigabyte over is an additional dollar.

The managed service also provides security of data, the reliability of a system and an information technology (IT) consultant when purchasing new systems or hardware.

"I have 25 computers and not much work goes on when the computer system is down," Ausavich said. "Our estimates, our invoices, everything is electronic now. So if the system is not working, you might as well not have hammers and nails."

Restoring a file when working with a tape system can be cumbersome because companies have to manually go through each tape to find a file, King said. With Centurion’s data backup, all that is needed is information inputted into a search to locate the file on the server.

"If the server goes down, there may be a few days of downtime," King said. "What we can do is redirect users to the other server and a tape cannot do that."

Business customers are not responsible for the backup server because it is a managed service, King said. And if a business is growing and the server becomes obsolete, Centurion can take it out, bring in a new one and eliminate the cost for the company.

"Originally, data backup consisted of tapes and a lot of wishful thinking," Ausavich said. "With Centurion, I have an immense feeling of security and know that my data was done right."

Elizabeth Geldermann is a reporter for Small Business Times. Send technology news to her at or by calling her at (414) 277-8181, ext. 121. Technology news can also be sent to: Elizabeth Geldermann, Small Business Times, 1123 N. Water St., Milwaukee, WI 53202.

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