Five FAQs about cloud and online backups for SMB owners

Five FAQs about cloud and online backups

Stephen Perkins

The importance of maintaining crucial business information through data protection is an obvious priority for many companies. What may not be as obvious are the data storage methods any organization can pursue to ensure that its most invaluable data is properly protected.

For SMB owners who don't live in the technology bubble, online backup and cloud-based services could be a confusing topic. After all, there are many different systems to choose from and they will vary depending on owners' needs. Disaster recovery expert and Web Host Industry Review contributor Shawn Fichter recently highlighted five common questions regarding cloud-based data backup.

1. What are they?
Cloud and online backup are often used interchangeably, which means replicating a company's data to a cloud-hosting model. Think of it as a digital storage locker for important data, but accessible via the Internet and offsite locations. Alternatively, a hybrid approach can be implemented that consists of a local backup device like an external hard drive, as well as duplicated data stored at an offsite location.

2. How about other backup options?
There is one other common data backup method, tape-based, which, in lieu of cloud-based and online systems, is archaic and prodigal. It works by writing data to tapes, albeit at a crawling pace compared to conventional methods. The equipment required for tape-based backups is expensive to maintain. Furthermore, in the event of a disaster, it would take longer to retrieve – if tape backups are stored offsite – and restore data than cloud and online backup models that store data digitally.

Keep in mind, companies with large amounts of stored data through online backup will experience a waiting time, but will still enjoy faster speeds and more flexibility.

3. What are the benefits?
Simply put, online backups are "data insurance policies." In the event of a natural disaster, even if a local backup method is destroyed, cloud-based backups provide infrastructure located offsite. The importance of having data storage at two locations cannot be overstated enough.

4. What should be backed up?
If companies have gigabytes upon gigabytes of data, storing only mission-critical information should be considered. When working with a service provider, businesses should tier their backup needs. This allows data to be separated based on its importance, but will depend on a company's individual requirements.

5. What should not be backed up?
Any data that is imperative for the survival of a business must be stored. For sensitive information, companies should verify that a service provider abides by stringent security policies because data integrity is the most important aspect of any backup strategy.

Categories: Cloud Backup, Online Backup