December 16, 2013

Quick Tips for Cloud Backup

Backing up data is one of the most powerful capabilities of cloud computing. Cloud backup is easy, affordable, and doesn’t require physical hardware. There’s no reason to risk losing company information – especially with so many great options out there. Backing up your system online can save you from digital disaster by guaranteeing your information and allowing your business to run seamlessly. We’ll go into more depth in subsequent articles, but here are several quick cloud backup tips you can implement immediately.

Cloud Vendor Selection: There is an overwhelming amount of available vendors. In order to get the most for your money, it’s important to fully assess your needs. Will you be backing up everything, or just a selection of essential files? Will you need to immediate access to all of your data? Some services, like Amazon Glacier, offer great rates for massive storage capacity but don’t let users access files on-demand (there’s a waiting period while files are prepped for download). Vendors like DropBox offer instant access, but can be costly for large volumes of storage. To speed up vendor selection, try using our Smart Advisor Tool, which recommends providers based on your specific needs.

Establish a Backup Routine: Prioritize your backup regiment to accommodate the most important data. Some services, like Crashplan, offer continuous automatic backup for your entire system. Other services backup files using a predetermined schedule. Constant backup requires higher network performance but saves new files and changes immediately.  Although backing up all of your information is ideal, it may not be practical or cost-effective. A great option to consider is incremental backups. Incremental backups provide more frequent data points and are less involved and time consuming than entire system backups.

Make Data Security a Priority: One of the biggest apprehensions IT professionals have towards the cloud is security. With on-site, physical data centers, it is easy to maintain complete control over data security. For many, the cloud presents a risk because the data is stored in an offsite location. While it’s important to always maintain good internal security practices, it’s also good to remember that many cloud vendors offer extensive security features. SpiderOak, for example, encrypts data in both storage and during transfer. Their security is so strong that even someone with physical access to their servers can’t view the data contained in them.

Prepare for Outages: Many cloud service providers promise at least 99.5% reliability. Although that’s near perfect, it’s still advisable to prepare for the 0.05%. Make sure you take actions to ensure that unexpected disruptions don’t devastate your business. Some vendors, like Backblaze and IBM SmartCloud, offer built-in data redundancy. Another option is to use a hybrid system and maintain a local backup in addition to the cloud. In some cases, provisions can be established with vendors to guarantee financial compensation for revenue lost during outages and down time.

The specifics of cloud backup will vary based on the individual needs of your business. However, these cloud backup tips will make any strategy more effective. If you’re entirely new to cloud backup then consider these practices as you begin to establish your system. If you’re an experienced user, then use these tips as a quick check-up. If you have any questions about cloud backup, don’t hesitate to contact us!

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6 Comments

  1. Eric Perry

    Thanks Kyle!  Do you have any practical solutions for video back up?  Is there a piratical way to do it without eating up loads of bandwidth?  Projects can be as large as 50Gigs, and in a month’s time there could be up to 6 projects.  Backing all this up would eat up my entire bandwidth for the month.

  2. Brnfnk

    Eric Perry Many services, like crash plan, off the ability to ship physical hard drives with the data on them to conserve bandwidth. Though this is mainly used if initial backups are large. With 300 GB of data a month it might be better to make a local copy on an external drive and move it to another location. Then if you want to have the data stored in the cloud, ship a physical drive every 3 months or so (900 GB) though this might not be worth the effort or additional cost. To be honest you might be stuck for a while… but the future is bright. Google fiber will have no bandwidth cap, you just have to cross your fingers and hope they show up in your area.

  3. barryherne

    I like the point that in spite of the promise to take the data safe we should also take care of it. It means that you should backup the data in several palces at the same time. I use Acronis (http://www.acronis.com) and what I like about the tool is it allows to backup in many places at the same time e.g USB, HDD or the cloud.

  4. Eric Perry

    Thanks Kyle!  Do you have any practical solutions for video back up?  Is there a piratical way to do it without eating up loads of bandwidth?  Projects can be as large as 50Gigs, and in a month’s time there could be up to 6 projects.  Backing all this up would eat up my entire bandwidth for the month.

  5. Brnfnk

    Eric Perry Many services, like crash plan, off the ability to ship physical hard drives with the data on them to conserve bandwidth. Though this is mainly used if initial backups are large. With 300 GB of data a month it might be better to make a local copy on an external drive and move it to another location. Then if you want to have the data stored in the cloud, ship a physical drive every 3 months or so (900 GB) though this might not be worth the effort or additional cost. To be honest you might be stuck for a while… but the future is bright. Google fiber will have no bandwidth cap, you just have to cross your fingers and hope they show up in your area.

  6. barryherne

    I like the point that in spite of the promise to take the data safe we should also take care of it. It means that you should backup the data in several palces at the same time. I use Acronis (http://www.acronis.com) and what I like about the tool is it allows to backup in many places at the same time e.g USB, HDD or the cloud.

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