Saturday, October 1, 2016

Should You Back Up Your Data to the Cloud?

By: David Schuchman
Princeton Technology Advisors, LLC
      Innovative Solutions for Your Growing Business

Cloud-based backup solutions enable companies or individuals to store their computer data and files via the Internet using a storage service provider rather than storing the data locally on a hard drive or tape backup. While the cloud backup solutions are robust and efficient, you need to be aware of the disadvantages, as well as the advantages to make an informed decision to determine that the technology is right for you.
On-site backups are hard drives or other backup devices that are directly connected to your computer or network. You maintain all responsibility and control of the backup media and environment. Cloud-based backups are servers that connect remotely to your computer or network via the Internet. The storage service provider maintains responsibility and control of the backup media and environment.

Advantages of a cloud-based backup solution, which you must validate and verify with each storage service provider you consider, are:
  • Backups of backups: Your data is always stored off-site and is redundantly copied to other servers in different locations. If one location goes down, your data can be backed up, or retrieved from, elsewhere on the backup network without a service interruption.
  • Security: Data is encrypted by the backup service provider’s software program on your computer or network before it is sent to the cloud, so thieves on the Internet cannot access it.
  • Virus protection: The backup service software detects any virus or infection before data is sent. If a virus is found, that file is not copied to the backup service. You will be notified that the corrupted file has not been deleted from your computer. In this case, you won’t lose any data, but that data won’t be backed up online.
Disadvantages of a cloud-based backup solution are:
  • Cost: Cloud-based backups can be more expensive than on-site backups often requiring monthly or annual fees based on the amount of data stored on the storage service provider's servers.
  • Capacity: Cloud-based backups may not be best for large backups such as a large number of files, or very large files such as data bases. Since some Internet providers limit the amount of data you can send and receive in a month. You must be careful to avoid large backups that cause you to exceed their stop-limits or trigger over-utilization charges.
  • Speed: It can take a long time to back up large backups online, even with a broadband connection.
  • Out of Business: If the storage service provider goes out of business, you may never be able to recover your backed up data.
You may be able to mitigate the disadvantages of the cloud-based backup solution with a robust back up strategy. The cloud-based storage service provider can assist you with understanding the options they recommend and support. Make sure you understand how they can mitigate the disadvantages for both backing up and recovering your data.

Both on-site and cloud-based backup storage options allow you to protect your data. Each type of backup solution has advantages and disadvantages. You need to be aware of the disadvantages, as well as the advantages, to make an informed decision to determine whether cloud-based backup storage is right for you.

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