Cloud backup is a crucial secondary backup location. This is absolutely necessary to protect your data in the event of Ransomware and most importantly, natural disasters such as fires or flooding. Do not think it will not happen, because a fire destroyed one of our own client’s building. It was only the Cloud Backups that ensured that their data could be retrieved and restored. It is your insurance policy.

Usually, the Cloud retains fewer copies of your files and should not be casually used for recovery due to slower internet speeds than your local network. This should only be used to retrieve data in case of a major emergency or disaster. Think of it as your offsite vault.

Some business owners are concerned more about the price than the retrieval process, which is a faulty perception. In the event of total catastrophe, how long can your business survive without your data? Over 60% of companies experiencing a total loss of client data declared bankruptcy within 5 months – another 23% did not make it 12 months.

Cloud Backup Options

These are the most common, but new ‘Cloud Companies’ pop up every day, with greatly varying degrees of reliability and ‘staying power’.

  1. Cloud Storage: AWS and Azure. These are typically very expensive, and they charge not only to upload, but also to download. (called Egress charges).
    You will often pay double without being aware of it until recovery is needed. It will be a shock, but if you need it, you will pay anything to keep your business alive, so you will end needlessly losing a lot of money.
  2. Cloud Backup Software: such as Carbonite, ibackup, idrive, Crashplan, etc. These are usually cheap and in the cloud so many think it’s the right way to go. But they are file backups, and that presents unforeseen problems when you need it the most:
    1. To retrieve the data, you need the proper hardware to retrieve your data into. The majority of small businesses do not have the necessary hardware (servers mainly) that are immediately accessible for retrieval, so typically, a 3rd Party service used.
    2. Those services would require you to send an external drive over to copy the data onto. This process would take somewhere between 7-14 days - if you’re is lucky. Again, can your company survive 14 days without your data? How much business do you stand to lose?
    3. NO Cloud Backup: This will not protect against issues with your local backup (data can get corrupted, or hardware can fail on the backup server, etc..) and will not protect against Ransomware or natural catastrophe. This is not an option at all, but a lack of options – it’s a disaster waiting to happen.
    4. External Drive: Backing up your data onto a drive, then physically taking the drive offsite: In theory, this could work but there are several issues here:
      1. It is tedious, requiring a lot of manual work. Someone needs to plug in, copy, plug out, remove, move it somewhere, rinse and repeat – human error is the #1 cause for any errors/issues in IT , and this method not only screams human error, but will undoubtedly limit the frequency with which your data is backed up. It should be every day (some companies backup to the Cloud twice a day). How often will you take people away from the core nature of your business to perform this function. If backups were automobiles, this is a horse and buggy.
      2. Usually the staff that deals with this task (maybe the owner or another trusted party) are not IT professionals and thus do not have the proper skills and tools to properly transfer the external drives – they usually just put it in the car as they drive and those road bumps shaking the external drive will eventually break it. At least put it on the seat and not in the trunk.
      3. Often the storage place would be geographically close – someone’s home, most likely, and if the office gets hit with a natural disaster, it is very possible that the house with the offsite copy will get hit as well.
      4. Will recovery be reliable? This is the most important factor. You backup and backup, but if the retrieval process is also not routinely tested, no one ever verifies the backup integrity, leaving it to chance whether it is going to work or not when needed.

    The Solution

    Cloud backup with a reliable provider with a solid track record that does not charge for retrieval, with automatic uploads and automatic data verification, and preferably with the ability to run the production server from the cloud backup, bringing you back up and running in less than 15 minutes.
    Solutions as such are inexpensive, just because they deliver the right solution, does not make it expensive.

    That is the only solution that will protect you against natural or man-made disasters, hardware failure, corrupted local backups, compromised data integrity and major catastrophic downtime. Very importantly, it also protects you against hidden fees.

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