If you rely on computers or devices to run your business, it is important to backup your data, and often. But what happens if you don’t have enough space on your hardware? Or what if your computer crashes, or your tablet or cell phone is stolen or damaged?
The answer is simple: online or cloud backup services. And here’s what you need to know:
1. What is cloud backup?
Cloud backup, or online backup, enables you to store your data and files on the Internet on a “cloud”. This means that if something goes wrong with your equipment – your computer, device, external hard drive or backup tape – your data won’t be effected and will still be accessible.
2. How does cloud backup work?
Cloud backup is simple: copies of your data/files are sent via the Internet to an off-site server where they are stored. Third-party service providers usually host these off-site servers and charge a fee (based on capacity, bandwidth or number of users) to store your data.
Irrespective of where the off-site server is located, you can run backups or archive your files as long as you have an Internet connection and access to a cloud backup service. Cloud backup systems use a software application that can be set to run on a schedule according to your business’s backup needs.
3. Is cloud backup secure?
Yes. Security is a critical part of cloud backup services, especially when storing sensitive or personal information. When you backup to the cloud, your data will be encrypted before it is sent to the off-site server for storage.
4. Is cloud storage the same as cloud backup?
No, free cloud storage like DropBox, Google Drive and OneDrive are not the same thing as Cloud Backup, it might be one of your backups but you can’t assume that it is always going to be there.
5. What kind of data should I backup to the cloud?
That depends on your business needs and business recovery plan in the case of a failure or disaster. A lot of users choose to archive their non-critical data in a cloud.
When deciding whether to store critical data in a cloud, the following checklist will help you to assess whether a cloud backup service aligns with your business’s technical and financial needs:
- How soon will you be able to access your data in the case of a disaster?
- How closely does the cloud backup service match your recovery time objective (RTO)?
- Can the cloud backup service give you access to files while others are still being recovered in the background?
- How often can you schedule a cloud backup?
- Will the cloud backup software integrate easily with your current software?
- How user friendly is the cloud backup software?
- Will the cloud backup service save you time and money?
- Will the cloud backup service only backup files that have been changed/updated, saving you storage space?
The good news is that these days, issues like space limitations, mechanical failure, theft or even natural disasters don’t need to leave you stranded. Cloud backup is a secure and efficient way of protecting your data, and ultimately your business, that will have you floating on a virtual cloud!