Cloud backup for small businesses
If you’re a business owner, preparing for the unexpected is critical. If you run a small business, one of the important decisions you have to make is in regards to the backup and recovery of your company’s critical data.
On one hand, you can take risks and hope that no disaster ever hits, exposing your business, or you can realize that disasters happen in all shapes and sizes from files getting lost, to an actual natural disaster happening literally in your own backyard. In this case it’s best to have a backup plan implemented so if any files do get lost or damaged, you can access and restore the backups with full confidence.
In the old days, traditional backup and recovery used by small businesses included physical tapes needing to be moved off-premises. This approach had many challenges such as being time-consuming, slow recovery and inconvenient. Fortunately, there is a new alternative which provides virtual IT services for small businesses, and that’s called Cloud Backup. Basically, small businesses can now backup, archive, access, and restore years of their company’s critical data – on demand – via the cloud.
What to look for when choosing your cloud backup
Businesses are investing in various forms of cloud backup to protect their data from accidental loss and improve speed of recovery in the event of a disaster.
Also, cloud backup offers a number of advantages including lower costs, speed of recovery, stored information security, multi-location accessibility to stored information, no physical transportation and minimal risk of lost data due to theft, human error or geographic disasters. Here are some things to look for when choosing a cloud backup service:
Storage space – How much cloud storage do you need? The amount of space offered is directly related to service costs, so it’s best to determine how much space is needed so you can stay within budget.
Scalability – Approximating exactly how much cloud backup storage a business needs is not an easy task. Multiple factors must be considered, such as the number of employees and computers, the volume of data and the type of business. This is why it’s important to find a service that offers scalability and agility so that your backup can grow as your business grows.
Disaster recovery – The reality is that unforeseen events, such as cyber attacks and natural disasters, can shut down servers and make your data inaccessible. While downtime is not always preventable, what’s important is to make sure the cloud backup you choose provides an effective and efficient disaster recovery plan to get you back online as fast as possible.
Uptime – The entire goal of a cloud backup is to make sure your data is available whenever you need it. A vendor’s uptime depends on its tier – Tier 1 services offer 99.671 percent availability, and Tier 4 offers 99.995 percent availability. Although the differences in these percentages look insignificant, the technology in place is what really counts. To illustrate, Tier 1 services are basically server rooms that host data backups, whereas Tier 4 offers advanced power capabilities and temperature control to reduce the chances of downtime and ensure the optimum level of availability.
Frequency – Working and updating your information all day means you need to make sure that the latest versions of your files are always backed up. Thus, it’s important to know the frequency at which your data is backed up to the cloud and how it’s done. For example, some services back up files as you make changes, and some offer hourly, daily, monthly or other fixed backup frequencies, while others let you set your own schedules.
Compliance – As a small business, your customers privacy is always a priority. The cloud backup provider you choose should offer regulatory compliance to ensure the highest level of protection, such as the Payment Card Industry (PCI) standard, to protect financial information. And if you deal with particularly sensitive data, the provider should also be compliant with specific industry regulations, such as the U.S. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
Security – How safe is your data in the cloud? Cybercriminals are becoming increasingly sophisticated, so ask vendors how your data is protected.
What you have to keep in mind is that cloud backup not only protects your business, but it can also save you a lot of time and money in restoring your operations. So, what are you waiting for?
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