Backed Up

BSF was recently featured in Leadership Magazine with the following article:

“Leadership speaks to Tony Holmes, CEO of Backup Storage Facilities (BSF) about the vital service his company provides.

What is backup storage in the first place? And who needs it?
Simply put, backup storage is a process in which valuable business data are duplicated and housed securely so that the business is able to retrieve these data quickly when needed. In today’s world of accumulating digital information, it is crucial for ALL businesses and government entities to have a backup strategy in place.

The bulk of today’s business information is captured, transmitted and stored electronically, no matter the type of business. This does however expose a business to many new risks. Sensitive client information could become exposed if a company is not stringent with its data management policies. If a company uses a pure cloud backup storage solution and is faced with routine load shedding, this could lead to some of its data not getting backed up or could even lead to backed up data becoming corrupt. This can and often does expose companies
legally.

Nowadays, in the digital era, there is a growing incidence of electronic sabotage. In fact, the easiest way to attack a competitor is through electronic sabotage. A quick internet search will reveal hundreds of such cases of sabotage.
Businesses must find relevant solutions to protect their most important asset – data.

Backup Storage Facilities says it is a leading specialist in the backup, transportation and security of both electronic and hardcopy data. Please tell us a bit more about this, and what it entails.
The first thing I will point out is that we are in fact specialists. From the time we started out in the 80s, we strove to become deep specialists in all we undertake. In fact, there was no industry standard when we started out. We created the industry standard for the first time in South Africa. When competitors started emerging locally, they used our service delivery modelas a benchmark. Through decades of mastering our craft, we are clearly South Africa’s leading
Leadership speaks to Tony Holmes, CEO of Backup Storage Facilities (BSF) about the vital service his company provides specialists in the delivery of storage solutions. Even our fleet management and operations have become best practice through the use of international-grade policies. In areas where we didn’t possess strong in-house specialization, for example in the area of electronic storage, we partnered with the world’s best provider to become the sole distributor in the country —thus maintaining our position as the leading specialist in SA.

Where do you obtain your client base from? What sort of businesses make use of your services?
We are equipped to serve companies of all sizes and industries. We work hard to stay abreast of deep industry requirements across all major industry categories. This allows us to offer our customers a very professional service. Because of the service BSF offers, a lot of our new customers arrive through word-of-mouth referrals. In fact, BSF doesn’t actually have sales reps. Sure, we have Storage Consultants who work closely with customers to help them solve their storage problems. But we have never actually sold aggressively. We thrive on delivering a professional
service in line with customer needs and always above customer expectations. This wins us more customers routinely.

BSF says it tailors custom and costeffective storage solutions to each organisation’s needs. What does this involve? Please tell us about the storage infrastructure that you use.
A lot of businesses are tempted choose one backup medium, like cloud storage for example. To be frank, doing this is short-sighted and costly. Businesses can save a lot of time and money by differentiating among their different
data sets. A lot of line-of-business data can be saved cheaply and effectively using magnetic tapes. Not all electronic data needs to be backed up to the cloud. Why waste your bandwidth and pay a fortune each month?

Often, cloud backup providers insist that all data should be backed up to the cloud. They do this because this is the only product they can sell. In order to offer an affordable magnetic tape storage solution to customers, you have to own and  operate a physical vault and operate a fleet of vehicles. Most small companies cannot afford this. In fact, the bulk of them are merely “resellers” of cloud storage, meaning they have zero capital investments locally. By comparison, BSF owns and runs a massive vehicle fleet, has a physical footprint across all major South African cities and manages government-grade security vaults. By offering every storage type imaginable, we are able to tailor a storage solution composed of cloud storage, media tape storage and even paper storage.

Do you store physical as well as electronic data? If so, what sort of data would this involve?
BSF stores any and all business information, in any format. Electronic data can be stored either using media storage (tapes) or using cloud backup. Of course, we offer paper storage too.

It is your stated aim to become more than simply a service provider. How are you going about this?
Our policies are created squarely with the customer in mind. We are led by the single decision to serve the customer optimally. We have made significant investments in our company so that we could become true and unbiased  advisors to our customers.

We don’t want ever want to reduce BSF to a company that has to “sell” products. We set up our business so we can offer everything there is to offer in the field of storage – this allows us to truly behave as a trusted advisor to our
customers.

Please tell us more about the security measures that you have put in place to protect your clients against date theft and sabotage.
There are more than a hundred company policies on this topic alone. Let’s just say it is REALLY hard to get at our client data. A small sample of our policies are outlined below. As a note, no other storage company in SA is able to
adhere to our stringent standards.

All staff and visitors have to be police and credit checked before coming to our premises.

None of our vehicles and buildings are marked with branding. This is bad for marketing but great for security.

Our vehicles are always manned by two staff members. When en-route, a vehicle is in constant contact with the base. This means that all vehicles are live monitored and tracked.

Our cloud back-up solution uses militarygrade encryption.

You refer to an emergency turnaround service. What is this service, and how does it work?
We guarantee a 90-minute turnaround service. Funny enough, we are able to return a customer’s data before most users even know it went missing! And we have a 99.99% success rate. We are the only service provider in South
Africa to offer this.

How long has the company been in existence? How did it all begin?
The company has been in existence for 28 years and was started by Charles Hex who recognized a need for company data to be stored in a safe facility. Charles Hex was an engineer who specialized in computer programming. He
recognized that if company data was lost, the consequences for a company could be dire.

You place a big emphasis on customer service. In what ways do you go the extra mile for your customers?
We are operational 24 by 7, 365 days a year, in the case of any emergency. Our service is tailor made to suit each customer’s specific needs. We collect backups at a time suitable to our customers—not at a schedule suitable to us, as  the rest of our competitors do. If we not there on time, we will not charge the customer. We use highly secure steel canisters locked and sealed by the customer to ensure privacy of data. The site of the main vault is unlisted and
unmarked. Access to this site managed through a military-grade security protocol.

What sort of training does your staff undergo?
We are one of the few organizations with a full on-site training facility for our staff. We have a dedicated staff trainer in our employ. Staff training is part of the usual weekly routine of all staff.

In fact, staff members who do not do some training inside a week are frowned upon. On-going training is a fundamental part of our DNA.”

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