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What is Cloud Backup?

Traditional backup solutions have always relied on physical storage of information, where files are copied onto physical disks or hard drives which are centralized in one place. Cloud backup, on the other hand, saves data to multiple remote and distributed computing resources. Users can then access their stored data online from any computer through secure, encrypted login portals. When cloud backup was first introduced, consumers’ main concerns were around security, but the rapid pace of development and refinement in the industry has raised security standards enormously. Cloud backup is rapidly becoming the leading-edge data management and storage solution across all sectors.

Key Benefits & Features of Cloud Backup Solutions:

Cloud backup is a flexible, user-friendly solution for businesses of all sizes. A good cloud backup solution will:

  1. Offer fully automated and regular backups, saving you time and effort and ensuring a regular schedule of data storage.
  2. Lower data storage costs by eliminating the need for expensive in-house facilities and hardware.
  3. Streamline your allocation of precious IT resources.
  4. Supply a user-friendly interface that enables both backup and restoration services with just a few clicks.
  5. Eliminate the risk of physical disks being lost or stolen, especially in transit.
  6. Supply data synchronization and version management across devices and platforms.
  7. Provide disaster-resistant protection. Fires, accidents, or natural disasters can destroy local storage, with catastrophic results for your business. The distributed nature of the cloud means that no one incident can undermine your backup.
  8. Handle large volumes of data. As the sheer amount of data generated by today’s world grows, storing complete backups locally becomes increasingly difficult and expensive. Cloud storage has the potential ability to automatically scale with your needs.
  9. Facilitate instant restoration of backups and individual files, regardless of location.
What to look for in a Cloud Backup Provider:

Compatibility – You chosen solution should be able to operate across all devices, platforms, and applications regularly used by your business.

Storage and scalability – Do you know exactly how much backup storage space your business needs now and what your needs will be in five years? It’s not always possible to predict where your business will go in the future, so make sure that your vendor can provide expanded capacity upon request. Price points are often tied to the amount of space you use, and packages range from 1 GB to unlimited space. Choose what makes sense for your business, but also look for room to grow in your plan.

Flexibility – If you do decide to change vendors, is it going to be a problem? What are their migration services and restrictions? Are there proprietary technologies that will make moving to a new provider unnecessarily complex? Industry standards are now emerging and can supply helpful safeguards: ask about your vendor’s knowledge of and compliance with standards such as the Cloud Data Management Interface (CDMI).

Retention period – The integrity of any backup system relies on strong restoration procedures. Version control is a serious issue when dealing with certain kinds of data, so check that your vendor can supply the necessary level of versioning and retention of deleted files. How long do they keep older backups and how easily can they be accessed and restored at short notice?

Security – The level of security provided by leading cloud backup solutions is generally excellent, but there are a few things to look out for. Protection against cybercrime requires vigilance and high technical standards. Secure Socket Layer (SSL) and a minimum of 265-bit encryption (both at rest and in transit) are must-haves.

Compliance – Customer privacy is paramount, so ensure that your solution provides regulatory compliance. The Payment Card Industry (PCI) Standard is an important layer of protection when handling financial and payment regulation. If you deal with legally privileged, medical or otherwise sensitive information, you’ll need to be sure that your provider is also compliant with any specific legal or industry regulations.

Uptime – You want to access your data anywhere, anytime, whenever you need it. It’s part of the big appeal of cloud backup, after all. Providers are ranked by availability and range from Tier 1 (the lowest) to Tier 4 (the highest.) The equipment behind a Tier 4 vendor will be substantially more robust, with full redundancy and fault-resistance, ensuring that you’re never faced with inconvenient and costly downtime.

Speed and performance – Slow backup is no backup. Choose a provider that does not impose bandwidth restrictions, and look for a solution that offers delta blocking (aka incremental backups). This means that only new files or parts of files that have changed since the last backup are included, allowing for much faster completion. Make sure that any open files will also be backed up.

Pricing structure – Cloud backup and storage is a very affordable option, but there is still a wide range of price points and huge variation in services and fees. Most packages base their fees on the amount of data you are dealing with, the frequency of backups, and the number of requests you make for restores. Keep an eye out for setup costs and the fee structure for data overages. Some providers will charge individually for each file access, including reading, writing, and opening, so be aware of your own lookup and update schedule when you choose a plan.

Support – These days, the integrity of data is the foundation of your operations. Entrusting this function to a third party requires a high level of trust and cooperation. You don’t want to be left waiting in an emergency, so check that your vendor offers a high level of responsiveness, service, and support around the clock. Make sure that multiple channels of contact are open to you at all times.