Over 70% of business operations are now in the cloud. For businesses, digital transformation is not without its challenges. Sure, storing files in their digital forms means saving on printing and file storage expenses. It also allows businesses to be more agile since business details and critical information can be accessed from anywhere and at any time. However, the growing dependency on digital solutions also means more risk.
The particular risk we are going to talk about in this article is the risk of data loss due to anything from file corruption to complete hardware failure. The only way to mitigate this risk is by having a comprehensive backup plan.
Before we get to cloud backup, let’s take a look at on-site backup solutions. For years, businesses have been using external drives, storage servers, Network Attached Storage or NAS units, and other backup solutions to safeguard their files. This type of backup is easy to establish and can be very affordable.
Backing up files to on-site backup options is also easy. You can either connect the backup drive directly to the computer that you want to back up or send files over ethernet to the backup server or NAS. Once files are copied, you are all set. However, backing up multiple machines become a challenge when this is your only backup routine.
Backup management solutions were introduced to solve this challenge. The same storage server or NAS can now be used to maintain incremental backups of all computers in the network. The process can be automated too, so there is no need to spend hours copying files manually. That said, an on-site backup is still a risky option.
Possible failures lurking around the corner include:
- Hard drive failure that affects the storage server or NAS
- Network failure resulting in corrupt files
- NAS and server hardware failure, which usually results in catastrophic failure of the entire backup system
- Accidents and natural disasters harming the backup drive physically
While on-site backup is very practical, it is not the safest solution. With an on-site backup in place, it is time to take a look at another solution.
Business Cloud Backup
Cloud backup is the better way to go in today’s modern world for a number of reasons. For starters, cloud backup services don’t rely on a single piece of hardware or a physical server. Instead, service providers use clusters running in the cloud, which means there is no single point of failure. This is an added protection to your critical files.
UK cloud backup is also extremely fast due to proximity. You don’t have to worry about uploading large files and downloading them again in the event of a disaster. Local connections can download and upload data with little to no latency. That lower latency also makes real-time cloud backup solutions for businesses possible.
The best cloud-based backup service also supports on-site backups. This means you can back up your machines to a local server or NAS and then have the backup images synchronised with the cloud-managed backup service. Both backup routines operate in tandem, so you can recover files from any backup image and still get the latest version.
Cloud Backup Services Small Business Features
There are more reasons why cloud backup is the way to go, starting with the fact that most cloud backup services for small business now supports file versioning natively. Up to 30 versions of your files are stored in the cloud, giving you the flexibility of reverting to any past version at any time. If you accidentally edit an important business contract, an unedited version is a download away.
It is also easy to integrate cloud backup services with other services that your business already uses. If you want to back up customer history from Salesforce, you can connect the cloud backup storage account and automate the process from within Salesforce. The same is true for other business solutions on the market.
To make UK cloud backup solutions even more appealing, there are also features like native collaboration tools and advanced access management. The latter is important since it allows you to carefully manage access to certain files, folders, or the entire backup image. You have to be extra certain that the backup solution you use is secure.
Storage space should not be an issue. Many cloud backup storage UK companies now offer unlimited storage space. Those whose service plans include limited storage space offer terabytes of storage for virtually nothing. Cloud backup has gotten so affordable that it makes more sense for businesses to store backups in the cloud than on-site.
Choosing a Cloud Backup Service
In order to get started with backing your files up in the cloud, you have to complete two important steps. The first step is choosing the right provider to work with. There are a lot of cloud backup services for small and medium enterprises; not all of them are created equal. Some offer more features, while others highlight reliability and availability.
Which cloud backup solution you should use? To answer this question, you must first understand your backup needs. You can find the best IT support company in London to help you assess your entire system and figure out the backup requirements for it. You can also complete the process yourself but getting help minimises possible mistakes and keeps the process effective.
When comparing cloud backup solutions, try answering these questions:
- Do you get enough storage space for all your machines?
- Does the backup routine run automatically?
- What are the tools provided? Are native clients for your operating systems available?
- What about incremental backup and file versioning?
- Is encryption done with a private key?
- Is encryption done on your machine or in the cloud? Or is it both?
- What about failsafe and measures for protecting your files?
For example, a good cloud backup service provider may offer multiple redundancies and off-site backups in different locations. No matter what happens to the primary cloud cluster, you will always have access to your files.
Other features that are also useful include physical backup – sending hard drives to be backed up to the cloud – and recovery. The latter simplifies disaster recovery. You don’t have to download backup images and can instead have drives shipped to you physically. This means you can work with IT support in London and get your business up and running again quickly in the event of a disaster.
The 3-2-1 Rule
When it comes to maintaining business backups, the 3-2-1 Rule is the best one to follow. The Rule says that you need to have at least three backups of your business files, at least two backup storage types for maximum security, and at least one off-site backup. A cloud backup helps you meet all three when combined with on-site or hybrid backup solutions.
Of course, choosing a suitable cloud backup solution is only the beginning. The next step to take is establishing a backup routine, starting with setting up a cloud backup to be part of your information security policy. The process is usually as simple as installing the native client of your backup solution and defining the folders to back up.
If you are not sure about how to complete this process – or if your backup routine requires more complexity – enlisting the help of IT support in London is once again the way to go. Rather than experimenting with critical business information, leave it to professionals to establish a good backup routine for you.
Once the initial backup has been completed, you can use all devices and forget about backing up your files completely. Cloud backup solutions are designed to be maintenance-free and require no human input. Backup runtimes are executed periodically depending on how the backup solution is configured. You have the option to go as far as backing up files every time you save a new version.
To complete the set, establish policies on both backing up files and restoring them. A disaster recovery policy will help your business recover from catastrophic data loss in as little as a few minutes. Fast disaster recovery means sustainable business operations; no need to suffer from loss of income or deal with angry customers after a data loss. You also don’t risk losing years of operational history, customer relationship data, and other immensely valuable business files that put you apart from your competitors.