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Technology Tip

Technology Tip
Dave Pelland has extensive experience covering the business use of technology, networking and communications tools by companies of all sizes. Dave's editorial and corporate experience includes more than 10 years editing an electronic technology and communications industry newsletter for a global professional services firm.

Protecting Your Data With Cloud Backup Services

Protecting Your Data With Cloud Backup Services

With the number and sophistication of ransomware and other attacks on company networks and data increasing dramatically, choosing a backup service to protect your small business data is more important than ever.

For most companies, customer and financial data is critical to the daily operations, profitability and, ultimately, sustainability of their business. If data is lost or locked, or a company can’t operate its computing devices for any period of time, the business is likely to suffer financial and reputational damage.

These potential losses can be mitigated, however, if the company can restore its data and resume operations with the help of a current, online backup of its critical information.

While IT and security pros have been stressing the importance of backup since the earliest days of computing, the need is stronger today with the growing use of ransomware that scrambles a company’s data while hackers demand an online ransom to decrypt it. Having a recent, preferably overnight, backup can allow your business to resume operations without having to give in to a hacker’s demands.

Cloud Advantages

Choosing an online backup service offers a number of advantages over a disk-based backup method, such as copying data to an external hard drive on a regular basis. While copying files can be good idea occasionally, a cloud backup is safer and more effective for a number of reasons including:

  • Backup consistency: Once the backup software is installed on your network, it automatically runs in the background to copy any new data, encrypt it and upload it to a remote server. Because this takes place automatically, around the clock, you’re always uploading the latest data without having to remember to run an easy-to-overlook manual backup.
  • Geographic diversity: After your data is uploaded to the cloud, your backup provider will typically make another copy that is stored in a data center that is geographically far away from your business (and your first data backup). This means that a natural disaster that effects the location of workplace is less likely to also destroy your backup copies.
  • Enhanced recovery options: If your computers or server are damaged, you’ll be able to download your applications and data to a new machine and get back to business.
  • Improved compliance: If your company is subject to financial services or healthcare industry data protection regulations, a strong backup can play an important role in helping your company meet its compliance obligations.

Choosing a Provider

There are a number of providers offering online data backup services designed to meet the needs of small businesses, so comparing features is important before entrusting your valuable company data to an outside provider. Some features to consider include:

  • Geographic redundancy: Will more than one copy be created, and will those copies be stored in different locations?
  • Regulatory compliance: Does your provider meet any storage and recovery requirement imposed on your industry?
  • Ease of use: How easy is it to configure and run your backup?
  • Continual backup: How often is your data actually backed up? Continual backups offer the most effective protection.
  • File versioning: Can you recover previous versions of a file if your latest copy is corrupted or you’ve deleted data you want to get back?
  • Physical data recovery: Can your service copy your data to an external drive for faster recovery?

By evaluating these considerations and choosing a cloud backup provider, you can protect your critical company data without the time and trouble of manual backups.

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