Things can and probably will go wrong at some point, even if you do our best to prevent a disaster. This philosophy also holds for our computer software and hardware, although in this case, we must prepare for accidents and other malfunctions that might cause us to lose data.
Does your business have a backup plan for when the unexpected happens?
Natural disasters don’t pick and choose their victims, they just happen. Earthquakes, floods and landslides are all capable of separating you from your important business data. Thieves, intruders and malicious hackers aren’t as blind as nature, but they won’t hesitate to do damage to your business for their own benefit. Your employees might also accidentally delete files, which benefits no one.
Because your business doesn’t operate in a vacuum, it’s difficult to completely prevent all of this. When prevention fails, it’s best to have a good backup plan to deal with the new issues.
What Is a Backup Plan?
Simply, a backup plan is a strategy that defines how you’re going to backup your data. It might involve storing data on your computer, but also on an external device and a remote location, such as the cloud. That’s the 3-2-1 backup rule, anyway.
You can also create another more specific backup plan that only deals with backing up your data to the cloud. If you do that, you can easily implement the 3-2-1 backup rule by using services that provide hybrid backup.
Hybrid backup enables you to backup data to both an external device and the cloud at the same time. If you want to know more about it, read our hybrid backup for SMBs guide and consult our best hybrid backup for business roundup for services that offer it.
Types of Backup
The cloud wasn’t always the way businesses backed up their data. Decades ago — ancient history, in IT terms — businesses used magnetic tapes, floppy discs and CDs to backup their data. It was a decent solution for a while, but not the most effective one because these devices were kept in the same physical location, which made it easy for disasters to damage them.
When companies needed to expand their storage capacity to meet their increased demand for data, so they turned to hard disk drives. Some of these drives were shipped and stored in a different location to prevent loss due to the aforementioned natural disasters and other accidents.
However, this was an inconvenient process, to say the least, because companies needed to physically ship large hard drives to a different location. Plus, it wasn’t cheap, either.
Technology continuously advances, so the need for such archaic methods has largely phased out. Today, you can backup your data to a remote data center from the comfort of your office.
This makes online backup one of the best and the most efficient ways to backup anything and everything you want.
All you need is to choose and subscribe to one of the best business backup services. However, if you’re old school, read our article about the best offline backup software.
Benefits of Online Backup for Businesses
We’re going to talk about the reasons why online backup is a great option for your business as well as your personal data. If you’re convinced you need a backup service, you can jump straight to our business backup reviews to familiarize yourself with specific services.
Storage at a Remote Location
As we mentioned before, one of the key advantages of online backup services is the fact that you can store your files in a different, remote location. Even if there’s a fire or a hurricane in your city, you can rest assured that your data will be waiting for you after you deal with more immediate issues.
When you transfer your files to a data center that belongs to an online backup service, your data will be replicated to multiple servers, similar to a RAID setup. Servers are often located in different data centers, which makes your data redundant and enables you to access it regardless of potential downtime in any one data center.
In addition, data centers employ various security features to ensure the safety of your data. Those include fences, patrols, 24/7 surveillance, key-card access, cooling zones, fire suppression systems, backup generators, raised floors and more. If you want to know more about the methods in use, read our article about data center security.
Data centers are also more energy efficient, which means they consume less power and some of them derive it from sustainable sources. For more information about that, read our article about green cloud storage.
Access Your Files Anywhere, Anytime
Even though your data is in a remote location, that doesn’t mean it’s inaccessible. With online backup, you can access your data from your computer or by using the service’s web client. Plus, most of the backup services come with their own smartphone apps, which means you can manage your backup on the go.
Some services even let you backup your smartphone data, and we recommend that you do so, especially if you use the device for your business needs. You can find these services in our best online backup for mobile roundup.
All this makes it possible to get your data without running to the office because you can now get whatever you want right from where you are. This constant access is what strengthens the popularity of online backup services.
Online Backup and Cost
Reducing costs helps any business, so it’s best if you don’t need to invest heavily in renting a space and paying for hefty power usage bills, thanks to the demand of running and cooling your own servers.
Online backup services do that for you and thus help you save money. Some of these services, such as Backblaze for Business, charge as little as $6 per month for unlimited backup for one computer. If you want to know more about it, read our Backblaze for Business review. You can find other affordable alternatives in our cheapest online backup list.
Instantaneous and Automatic
Once you create your initial backup plan using a service, you won’t have to constantly manage your backup. Instead, it happens instantly and automatically because backup services enable you to turn on continuous backup or set a schedule for your backup.
This way, you can focus on your work while your files are copied to the cloud automatically in the background.
When a disaster happens, you can retrieve your data pretty quickly, as well, meaning that you won’t be wasting time and money, and customers may not even notice something is wrong.
Online backup services also make sure that the cloud security of your files is adequate so you don’t become a victim of cybercrime. Chances are you might, if you don’t have protection, because in the past year, ransomware attacks have more than doubled, according to ZDNet. Plus, hackers might steal your login credentials or read your sensitive data.
That said, cloud services have your back because they use methods to thwart these malicious actions against you. Private encryption will make sure only you can read your data, two-factor authentication will protect your credentials, while versioning will help you retrieve your data if you get hit by ransomware.
One of the most secure services is CrashPlan, and you can get the details of its security in our CrashPlan review.
There are some services that have special features. Those might include photo analyzing, file sharing and syncing across multiple devices, which is basically copying files and any changes to them to multiple devices.
File sharing and syncing are features borrowed from cloud storage. If you’re not clear on the difference between cloud storage and backup, read our explanation.
If you need file sharing and syncing, take a look at our IDrive for Business review. For AI-powered photo features and the ability to search through your backed up photos using various criteria, BigMIND Business is a great choice. Read more about it in our BigMIND Business review.
Image-Based vs. File-Based Backup
In general, you can make two kinds of backup: file level and image level. File-level backup lets you pick and choose files and folders. Image-level backups, on the other hand, replicate your entire system, which means you could recover all your data and applications if disaster strikes.
Both backup methods have their upsides and downsides, so choose the one that’s the right fit based on your needs and what you want to backup. If that involves image backup and you need ideas on services providing it, check out our best image-based backup article.
When to Backup?
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all rule because it’s all just common sense. You have to envision a likely scenario that might make you lose your data so you can protect it in a timely manner.
With this in mind, you can rely on continuous backup, which ensures that the files you add or change are backed up. Continuous backup also uploads your data incrementally so you save on time and bandwidth.
That said, keep in mind that continuous backup might use a lot of computer resources, at times. If you want to avoid that, use a backup scheduler instead. First, though, make sure you know the critical times you need to backup your data.
Online backup has many advantages over traditional backup strategies and features that might help your business in other ways. The most significant upsides are disaster recovery, cost reduction and easy access to your files. You also get software security methods to protect your data, backup automatization and more time to do your actual work.
What do you think about backing up files to the cloud? Are you still hesitant, or are you ready to switch to online backup and benefit from its advantages? Tell us your thoughts in our comments section below. Thank you for reading.