Considering the Cloud for Backup?

Many small to medium business (SMB) owners are turning to online backup or remote backup, generally referred to as cloud backup, as a top way to take advantage of cloud computing. According to a recent survey by the Computer Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), most companies turn to the cloud to cut costs and reduce capital expense. Because of the advancements in internet bandwidth, combined with the economies of scale from the cloud, remote backup can be a reliable, affordable and practical solution for most SMBs.

When you evaluate cloud backup, here are a some things to consider:

Security and Compliance

There are public cloud and private cloud options available to meet your security and compliance requirements. If you need to comply with PCI, HIPPA or other regulatory requirements you may need to rely on a private cloud solution. This means your data is physically separated from other companies storing their data in public cloud alternatives. If you require a private cloud solution expect to pay more.

Cost

This leads to us to the topic of cost of cloud backup. There are a wide range of affordable options for cloud backup. Most cloud backup solutions charge by the amount of data stored. This makes them easy to compare. Office documents and spreadsheets are easy to compress and take up less space, as compared to, images, photos and data bases. Depending on the amount of data you are backing up in the cloud, you may incur additional charges for bandwidth. You may also need to consider the costs of a network upgrade and additional internet connectivity, if you are expecting to backup large amounts of data.

Service Level Agreement

Make sure you or your IT professional review the service level agreement (SLA) for your backup vendor closely. Some cloud backup vendors will guarantee uptime and availability and refund any fees at a multiple, if they lose your data. Other backup vendors do not warranty in the event of a data loss. Expect to pay more for a solid SLA with your cloud backup.

Performance

The reason you backup your data is for recovery. Rapid recovery depends on the size of your data, proximity to the backup data store and bandwidth. File recovery or file sharing may not be as big an issue as a disaster recovery scenario. Some cloud backup solutions offer to ship an image of your entire system to rapidly restore your data, so you don’t need to recover across the internet. This may seem like it will take longer, but this may be as fast or faster than trying to recover large amounts of data across the internet. Premium services may provide complete business continuity services including dedicated hardware in the cloud to get you up and running even quicker.

Cloud backup is a great way to take advantage of the cloud. Depending on your business needs and budgets, there is a right solution for you. Contact your IT service provider to find out how you can leverage the cloud in your business.

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