Last updated on December 15th, 2022
Recently, I’ve had a few queries about security and backup options for businesses.
A few emails have landed in my inbox with questions about how to backup your projects, how you can save your business from disaster if your hard-drive corrupts or all of your hard work is suddenly gone.
The solution to these issues is not that simple.
For a lot of business owners, they get completely lost whenever you start to talk about hard-drives, IT systems, and cybersecurity.
Their eyes kind of glaze over and they struggle to follow along – and I don’t blame them. Data management (see also, ‘What is Data Scrubbing and How to Use it for Your Business?‘) is one of the most difficult aspects of running a business for a lot of people.
So, I took to researching backup options for businesses to help protect them from data losses.
One potential solution I found was the Synology Active Backup For Business solution – but I also found a lack of reviews or articles around it.
It seems that not a lot of businesses are talking about Synology’s Active Backup For Business solution. So, I had no choice but to try it out for myself.
Here is my review of Synology’s Active Backup For Business solution.
First, let’s talk about the main source – Synology.
Synology (or Synology Inc) is a Tawainese company that specializes in network attached storage (NAS) appliances.
If you’re not entirely sure what NAS is then don’t worry – I will talk about that in more detail later but for now, I want to just discuss Synology and who they are.
The company was first founded back in early 2000 and for a long time, has been a leading name in the NAS industry.
The two founders, Cheen Liao and Philip Wong, both left Microsoft to develop this project with ideals of data projection and management at the business’s very core.
Synology was built around the idea that every business should be able to manage and protect their own data, no matter where that data was accessed from.
From flash to disk and even to the cloud, Synology has striven to accommodate the world’s needs for data storage and growth.
As a result, Synology now has more than 6 million installations within the IT industry.
Synology And NAS
If there’s one thing Synology is known for, it would be its DiskStation. The DiskStation is a system which powers Synology NAS – but there’s that term again, NAS. What is it exactly?
NAS refers to a device that is basically a storage box for a business’s data. It can be connected to a network where authorized users and clients can access, store, and retrieve important business data.
They’re extremely popular with small businesses thanks to their flexibility and easy scalability. They are so popular that the global NAS market is estimated to be around $21.75 billion with the market projected to grow over the coming years.
Basically, owning a NAS device is like having your own private cloud network for your office – so it’s easy to see why so many small businesses choose to add them to their office’s systems.
Synology started out working with their own line of NAS devices including the DiskStation for desktop models, the FlashStation for all-flash models, and also the RackStation for rack-mounted models.
This gave people and businesses a range of options when it came to NAS devices so Synology’s products can be used for both home and business use.
But today, Synology is more than just a company behind a line of products. They also sell solutions to businesses focused around issues that can affect their data management, surveillance, and networks.
As a result, they have become a well known name with small businesses.
Can You Trust Synology?
Overall, I think that Synology is definitely a company you can trust to help you handle your data.
I know that a lot of businesses are hesitant when it comes to outsourcing data management because they’re worried about potential threats and leaks – and that’s completely understandable.
I myself research companies and brands extensively before considering them as a potential outsource for aspects of my business.
So, I went through the same motions when researching Synology and I was satisfied with what I found.
If you had to trust someone with your business’s most valuable data, many businesses would recommend Synology to you.
They’re one of the oldest names in the NAS business and trusted by thousands of businesses – so they are a legit company to work with, and one definitely worth considering.
What Is Active Backup For Business?
So, Synology passed my test when it comes to trustworthiness and brand image. They have a great reputation to back them up and so, I felt comfortable researching the backup solutions they offered businesses and to put them to the test.
The solution I will be discussing in this review is their Active Backup For Business solution.
Synology’s Active Backup For Business is a data (see also, ‘What is Data Onboarding in Business?‘) management and backup system that is designed for offices and small businesses.
It’s also a centralized backup solution, but the feature that gets people really worked up is the no additional license fees (but only if you already have a Synology NAS unit, but I will discuss that in detail later).
It’s designed to allow different backup and recovery types so businesses can backup their data from different platforms – basically making the backup process more flexible and convenient for smaller businesses.
According to Synology, their Active Backup For Business system is currently helping over 320,000 organizations around the world secure over 800,000 on-premises workloads.
How Synology Active Backup For Business Works
Some of you may already know how a backup solution with an NAS device usually works but I want to go into more detail about it here so everything about how the Active Backup For Business from Synology works is covered.
First, you start with your Synology NAS device. This device can be kept on-site at your business’s main office (or satellite offices, or your home office) and be used to backup digital assets and data from your computers and servers onto one central device.
There’s no third parties involved so you’re not handing your data to any other company – a great security feature from Active Backup For Business that I know a lot of businesses will value.
You download the Synology Active Backup For Business agent onto the computers you want to backup, then use the interface to send the data over to the NAS device.
The system works by making one big initial backup for all of your selected data, and then you can do numerous mini-updates to backup any changes or additions to your data you have later made.
And that’s pretty much it – it’s not that hard to use Active Backup For Business and you don’t have to get any third parties involved.
You just need a Synology NAS device, a sturdy internet connection, and the Active Backup For Business agent on your computers and servers ready for duplication.
When the time comes to redeploy your backup systems, you just do it at the click of a button. You don’t need to reconfigure your systems, so you can quickly get your systems back up and running after a failure or breach.
Why You Need A Data Backup Solution
But why should you even consider getting a backup solution in the first place?
A report from Forbes published in the middle of 2022 revealed that half of small businesses are worried about the future.
However, the main concern for 35% of businesses was inflation, and out of the other concerns highlighted in the report, data loss or security breaches were not mentioned – unless you count the 5% who reported that their main concern was ‘equipment breakdowns’.
The thing is that data security and backups should be a larger concern.
Small and medium sized enterprises are the target of 31% of all cyber attacks. This means that businesses are at constant risk of being hacked and losing valuable information and data.
The global cost of cybercrime is estimated to be $6 trillion and this figure is expected to rise with each year. What this means for small businesses is that each breached record costs them $164 – so a small business could end up losing thousands of dollars worth of data.
In fact, one report from the IBM and Ponemon Institute found that the average data breach cost for small and medium businesses was around $2.98 million.
Not only are businesses at risk of cybercrime, but they can also lose data due to hard drive failures. Apparently, the US sees 140,000 hard drive failures per week and this can put your business’s data (and all your hard work) at serious risk.
So, even if your business doesn’t fall victim to a security breach due to ransomware or malware, your hard drives could just up and fail – and you lose all of that data in a split second.
Yet despite all this, most small businesses are not prepared for any potential data losses. Less than 10% of businesses back up their data daily, although 86% do back up their data each month at the very least – but in my opinion, this isn’t enough.
Imagine losing a month’s worth of data and how much that could cost your business? How much would that set your business back in terms of growth and progress?
A 2020 report found that 40% to 60% of small businesses without a data recovery plan end up going out of business, and 93% of businesses that do suffer a major disaster with their data and don’t have a recovery plan end up closing down within a year.
Another investigation found that 60% of companies close down within just six months.
Basically, not having a good backup data plan for your business could mean the end.
This is why solutions like Active Backup For Business are worth looking into and considering. Data loss, whether it’s from security breaches or hardware failure, can be devastating for businesses and looking into a data recovery plan can help keep your business up and running.
But finding the right solution is not that easy.
So, is Synology’s solution of Active Backup For Business the right solution for you and your business?
Synology Active Backup For Business Features
I’ve talked about Synology and the Active Backup For Business solution, and why it’s important for small and medium businesses to set up a data recovery plan. Now, I can move onto the review itself.
Here, I am going to dive into what Active Backup For Business actually has to offer so here is a clear run through of the features available through this system – and how it could potentially help protect your business.
Overall, the Active Backup For Business does not offer a lot of features. It’s a very basic data management system that allows you to quickly and easily backup your data without having to go through a third party – it’s just as simple as that.
Despite this, here are the main features of Active Backup For Business and what I think of them.
Great Graphic Interface
When it comes to using a new system or software, I always look at the graphic interface.
The graphic interface of a system like Active Backup For Business is super important because it can entirely dictate the user experience.
I’ve met a lot of small businesses or websites that are run by people who are not that tech-savvy and a busy, difficult to use interface can ruin their efficiency when it comes to backing up their data.
If the interface is cluttered and information is not easy to find, then it can be frustrating to use and reduce your own productivity.
However, I’m glad to say that Active Backup For Business comes with a very easy to read and use interface.
Everything you need is clearly displayed on screen including:
- What devices (PCs, physical servers, file servers, etc) you have protected and how many of each,
- A calendar to display when your previous back-ups over the last month,
- A storage status so you can keep track of how much space is left on your NAS device,
- And much more.
All of these are super helpful when it comes to handling your backup data. I’ve seen business owners forget to do their data back-ups, or are caught out when their NAS device is suddenly at full capacity.
Active Backup For Business tackles these issues by offering valuable information for users all on an easy to ready interface.
It’s clean, it’s user friendly, and great for beginners and novices alike. Everything is clearly displayed in its own segments, framed and headed with the important information right underneath.
There’s no need to go digging for information, or endlessly scrolling through page after page to find the information you want – everything is there on the home screen.
On the left, there is a sidebar menu where you can select one of the options to dive into each section with more depth. But, I found that the home screen displays such an easy to read summary of each section that you can check the system’s performance at a glance.
Around 61% of the US workforce waste their time performing menial, repetitive tasks but checking the status of your NAS device for your backup system does not need to be one.
Thanks to the great, user-friendly graphic interface of the Active Backup For Business system, you can just quickly look over the status of your backup data and then move onto more important tasks for ultimate efficiency.
Speaking of efficiency, using a Synology NAS device and Active Backup For Business allows you to centralize your data management.
What this means for small businesses is that you can control your data backup system all from one single console; management, monitoring, even deployment can all be done from one system on one computer.
This is great for single-person run small businesses who need to control every aspect of their business from one single computer.
Centralized management makes it much easier to monitor and manage your data backup system if you are a solo entrepreneur or have a very small team.
You have complete control over your backdrop data management and you don’t have to go from device to device to backup data or redeploy.
Another handy feature is the automated backups. You can set up automated backups so you don’t have to rely on your memory or reminder notifications to back up your data each and every day.
You can control when these automated backups occur and how often. As a small business owner myself, and someone who has worked on projects solo, this is a huge lifeline.
Not only does using a centralized management system offer better efficiency (and by proxy, lower costs) for businesses, but it also offers improved security.
According to Verizon’s 2022 Data Breach report, 82% of data breaches were caused by human error – so the less people who can interfere with your backup system, the safer the data is.
No Additional License Fees
Now, I want to talk about the claim that opting for the Synology Active Backup For Business system means that you avoid any license fees.
It’s a feature of Active Backup For Business that generates a lot of excitement online but it’s not what it seems at first glance.
License fees are a hidden cost of backup solutions as they are a recurring cost that basically acts like a ‘subscription’ to keep you paying for your backup solution system.
I’ve seen a few businesses get caught out by these licensing fees. It can be frustrating to keep remembering to pay each year, and can crank up the costs of your backup solution.
What this means is that a lot of licensed software is going unused by businesses – and wasting a lot of funds.
However, Synology claims that there are no additional license fees with their Active Backup For Business system.
Instead, it’s an up-front investment fee for one time only, and then you get that backup solution for just one price.
This means there’s no hidden costs, no recurring license renewals – and this is something that really excites a lot of customers. After all, no more yearly fees? It has to be a win, right?
There’s just one issue that I think counts as a drawback from this.
Sure, you don’t have to pay a licensing fee every single year and that’s great – but you still need to purchase a NAS device from Synology themselves.
You cannot use Active Backup For Business on any other kind of NAS device; it can only be used for Synology NAS devices like the DiskStation and other NAS products they offer.
What this means is that you need to put away the funds to pay for a Synology NAS device as well as the cost for Active Backup For Business. This can result in a pretty hefty lump sum to pay up front resulting in a few hundred dollars – something that new businesses may struggle to afford.
However, it’s also important to note that the Active Backup For Business pays for itself in the long run. If you stick with it for the rest of your business’s life, then it could turn out to be the more affordable option rather than spending cash every year on license renewal fees.
The lack of a recurring license renewal fee that so many other backup systems require is a pretty big plus for a lot of business owners, as they don’t have to worry about keeping up with their licensing fees and having to budget them in.
However, it’s important not to get caught out by the requirement for a Synology NAS device when you first sign up – that can be a pretty nasty surprise if you’re not careful.
Limitless Backups – Or Is It?
Another claim on the Synology website is that the Active Backup For Business offers limitless backups. Again, this isn’t entirely true as you are restricted by the storage space available on your Synology NAS device.
There are a total of 100 different Synology NAS devices which are compatible with Active Backup For Business.
Each one has a different limitation in terms of storage space and power, so prior to buying the Active Backup For Business system, you need to work out how many systems you plan on backing up so you can purchase the right Synology NAS device to meet your needs.
In terms of backup storage space, this is your ‘limit’ as you do not have a limitless amount of storage unless you continue adding more Synology NAS devices.
However, you are not limited in how many individual back-ups you can do. Some data backup systems limit you to a set amount of back-ups or devices, but the Synology Active Backup For Business does not.
You can just keep going until the space is completely full and then, you can upscale to additional solutions.
Luckily, Active Backup For Business does come with deduplication which means that duplicated files are not backed up on the NAS device.
For example, if you are trying to back up around 50 computers and each one has an identical file, then only one version of that file will be saved on the NAS instead of 50 for each computer.
This can save you a lot of storage space and when it’s time to redeploy your backed up data, you still get all the files you need.
If you are not sure how much NAS space you will need, then Synology does have a survey on their website where you can fill in how you intend to use your NAS device.
From the information you give, Synology will recommend some of the applied models you can use the Active Backup For Business solution with.
The Pros Of Active Backup For Business…
After using Synology’s NAS devices and Active Backup For Business myself, I found a lot of different things that I liked about this data backup system.
The main advantage I found was the boost in efficiency. It was a great peace of mind knowing that my files and systems were backed up and better produced from data breaches and hardware failures, but what really impressed me was how quickly it was all done.
The interface made navigating the system and setting up activities a breeze. It was clear and incredibly user friendly, and this will be something I know a lot of business owners will appreciate.
I personally hate using busy systems with tons of menus and headings, where I have to spend ages trying to find one small piece of information.
The interface of Active Backup For Business shows all the necessities on the home screen so you can quickly glance at it and move on if everything is running smoothly.
When it came to backing up my data, the first ‘big’ backup did take a little long but that’s understandable considering that I was backing up a lot of data from computers and servers.
After that, the minor updates were relatively quick and easy. Thanks to the deduplication feature which means that duplicated files are not saved more than once, this saved me both time, money, and NAS storage.
I think that efficiency is vital for businesses and sometimes, backing up your data can take a long time.
This could be why so many businesses don’t backup their data at all or so infrequently – but using a management system like Active Backup For Business can help you protect your data quickly and easily.
Another big advantage of Active Backup For Business is the price.
Now, I haven’t touched on price that much because it can vary depending on which model of Synology NAS you want to use, how many you want to use, etc. However, I think that thanks to the lack of licensing renewal fees, small businesses can really benefit this system.
In the long run, it is more affordable than using a system that contains too much storage for your business and requires annual fees.
I personally prefer paying one larger lump sum knowing that I will have years before I need to upscale and add another NAS device. This means that, for many small businesses, using Synology Active Backup For Business could be the more affordable option.
…And The Cons
Nothing is perfect, and there’s a new gripe I have with Active Backup For Business which I should highlight here.
First, you need to make sure you get the right NAS device. The CPU and power really does limit its performance and I know that a few businesses may get caught out because they bought the wrong model NAS device for their business needs.
However, you will also want to make sure that your internet connection is steady and stable. Dips in the connection can cause the backup process to slow down or drop entirely, and this can be really frustrating.
If the internet connection in your office is already causing problems, then that is a problem you need to get fixed before you opt for Active Backup For Business – or you are just going to end up tearing your hair out over failed backups and errors.
While running these backups myself, I did now and again see a delay in the service connection but these instances were few and far between. The process quality can be a bit spotty but I found that this was not a regular occurrence – but it is something I just wanted to highlight.
Should You Get Active Backup For Business (Final Thoughts)
Whether or not you get Active Backup For Business as your disaster recovery plan for your data and servers, is completely up to you.
When using it myself, I was really impressed with the quality of the system and my experience with using it.
The system was easy to set up and use thanks to the great interface, the quality of the processes had their blips but generally were fast and reliable, and I don’t have to worry about renewing license fees or any third parties which can leak data or become a route opening for cyber crime.
Overall, I am happy with my experiences with Synology and its Active Backup For Business system. Small businesses, particularly those run by a single person, could really benefit from this system in my opinion.
The centralized management system, the ease of use for backing up data and redeploying it, all makes it much more efficient for a single person to save their projects and fix any issues.
I must stress that I am not telling you that you need to get this backup system solution immediately. No solution fits all business needs and perhaps, the Synology Active Backup For Business system is too small for your business.
Perhaps you need something with more power, more storage – and that’s fine.
There are plenty more options available out there for you but the Synology Active Backup For Business should be enough to meet most small business needs for protection and security.