Business Guide to Cloud Backup

Business Guide to Cloud Backup
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For all the wonders of the cloud, its backup capabilities may be the most no-nonsense offering. And while ensuring you have copies of your business-critical data is smart for organizations of all sizes, small and medium companies may particularly feel the benefits of the cloud, with its budget-friendly services, ease of use and sheer mobility.

David Mayer, vice president of product management software, Insight, a global IT solutions provider, looks at it this way: “The benefits of cloud-based backup come down to two scenarios, first being cost. Hard drive space, which is the primary component needed for backup, costs pennies per GB. The economy of scale that these massive cloud providers are able to achieve from a purchase perspective is pretty amazing.”

“Secondly, cloud backup provides automation capabilities, which requires a lot less human intervention and is less error prone, particularly compared to backups of the past.”

MORE: Best Cloud Backup for Business

Why cloud-based backup is a no-brainer

First, to be clear, backing up your business is still a no brainer. And smart companies have always backed up their data, even if it’s through costly hardware such as tape backup units. The cloud hasn’t changed the importance of data backups — its business insurance, after all. What it has changed is the affordability of the process, by eliminating expensive hardware components and providing enhanced automation.

Cloud-based backup has changed the game in a few ways:

  1. Less fixation on infrastructure: The principles of backup are still there — but you’re no longer bogged down by the physical side of it by cutting out the need to procure and manage onsite infrastructure.
  2. It’s fast. Cloud-based backup is fast, accurate and easy to control.
  3. It’s affordable. Cloud-based backup has brought the core principles of data backup to the masses.

How to get started with cloud-based backup

It’s predicted that cloud-based backup is going to continue to go mainstream as businesses get more comfortable with the idea of shelving their tape drives for long-term data retention in the cloud. IT professionals are becoming more confident regarding cloud security — and the cost savings remain a major incentive to make the move.

Mayer noted several features to evaluate when choosing a cloud backup provider. You’ll want to look at:

  • Automation capabilities: Many third-party add-ons or partners provide a host of automation capabilities, which can really simplify the process. Take note of the ones you feel would be most beneficial to you.
  • Self-service functionality: Is less human intervention important to you? Consider how many self-service capabilities are offered by your vendor. For example, see how easy it is to set up and run a backup — or if it’s 100 percent automated.
  • The restore process: Plan for the worst. Test for yourself how fast it is to do a restore should something go wrong — or, how difficult it is to perform.
  • Data privacy and security policies: Check out these policies, both for the automation add-on and the destination of where data is going. Policies will vary by provider. Remember, providers do their own backups as well, so you should comfortable with who else has access to your data and what they are doing with it.

The risks of not having a backup plan

“Companies should think of a backup as an insurance policy.  If something goes wrong and a backup plan isn’t in place, an organization can lose valuable time and even business. For this reason, I highly recommend backing up no matter what size of company,” Mayer said.

Ask yourself: what would happen if your business went down tomorrow and you had no access to your critical records? What is your tolerance for risk? Use your answers to plan for your business’s unique risk tolerance.

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