This is probably not the first time you’re hearing something like the above quote and definitely not the last. Though such statements reflect the passion and confidence of successful people, they’re not the most practical, especially when it comes to business.
Any business, as you already know, is impacted by many internal and external factors, a lot of which are, unfortunately, beyond your control.
Let’s say for example, you were running a successful business in New Orleans until on August 29, 2005 Hurricane Katrina struck your business and you lost a substantial part of your equipment and infrastructure.
Obviously, you had no control over Hurricane Katrina or its path, yet your business was affected. This example is just one of the many events and factors that happen around you without your control and yet can destroy your business.
In fact, it’s not just one-off natural disasters like Katrina you need to look out for, but also everyday events like hardware failures, hacker attacks, changing laws, unpredictable consumer preferences and many others.
While it’s not possible to insulate yourself against all these failures, you can definitely minimize the impact by taking measures like choosing a good backup plan.
So, what exactly is a backup plan? Why do you need it for your business?
What is a Backup Plan?
In this digital world, data, software and hardware are a vital part of every business. In some cases, these are essential for the very survival and continued operations, so it’s important to give it the best possible protection. This is where backup comes into play.
Backup is the process where you store all your important files, including software, in a secure location, so you can access them or make a copy when your local copy gets lost for any reason. Obviously you need to store them in a separate location so whatever hits your main system doesn’t get the backups, too.
In this sense, your backup is like an insurance plan. You can fall back on it in the event of a loss, system failure or any other disaster.
Types of Backup
Backup has always been a part of business, though the process and tools have gotten better with technological advancements.
A few decades back, businesses used magnetic tapes, floppy discs and compact discs to store their data. While it worked well for sometime, it was not the most efficient solution, especially in the wake of a natural disaster because these discs and tapes were kept in the same physical location.
As data volumes grew, companies needed more storage that what existing systems offered, so floppy discs were replaced by hard disk drives. Some of these were sent to and stored in a different location to prevent loss due to natural disasters and the like.
However, this was a cumbersome process, to say the least, as large hard drives had to be physically transported to a different location; it wasn’t particularly cheap, either. Advancements in technology, especially the development of the cloud, eventually phased out this old way of doing things.
Today, you can do an online backup right from your local system and everything is stored securely in a server farm far from your current location. Your data is even replicated across multiple sites for extra protection. At the same time, you can access your data whenever you want and from any place.
This makes cloud backup one of the best and the most efficient way to backup anything and everything you want. All that you need is a subscription to a business backup service and Internet connection to move all that you want to your cloud storage.
Benefits of Cloud Backup for Businesses
Here are more reasons why cloud backup is a great option for anyone, but especially if you’re running a small- to medium-sized business. We already have a list of the best backup for businesses, but here’s some criteria to whittle it down further.
Cloud Backup and Cost
Affordability is one of the most compelling reasons to choose cloud backup. You no longer have to invest heavily in renting a space and pay for utilities to backup your data and applications.
With the cloud, you can simply subscribe to a service, usually at a nominal monthly or yearly fee, and start moving your data to this site. Some of these plans start as low as $3.99 per month and there are no other costs associated with it.
Imagine how much you get to save when choosing an online backup plan as opposed to physical data storage facilities.
At Cloudwards.net, we understand the limited budgets that most SMBs have and this is why we have come up with a quick chart to help you get the most value for your money.
Cloud Backup Is Instantaneous and Automatic
Cloud backup happens instantly and automatically with no action required whatsoever from your end. This way, you can continue doing your work and the files will be synced with the backup system automatically in the background.
When disaster does strike, you can get your data back pretty quickly as well, meaning that you’re not losing time or money and customers may not even notice something is wrong. Again, getting a backup plan is basically another kind of insurance against all kinds of problems.
Access Your Files Anywhere, Anytime
With cloud backup, you can access data anytime and from anywhere, provided you have an Internet connection. Most of these storage plans come with their own smartphone apps and this means, you can stay on top of your data all the time.
This means no more running to the office to get a piece of data or to work on a software tool, as you can now get whatever you want right from where you are. This round-the-clock access is what makes cloud backup so convenient and popular.
Storage at a Remote Location
As mentioned before, another key advantage of cloud backup is the fact that you can store your files in a different part of the world. Even if there’s a hurricane or earthquake in your city, you can rest assured that your data and applications, at least, are still safe and sound.
Cloud Backup Is Simple and Convenient
To sum up everything we said before, cloud backup is a convenient, cheap and easy way to make sure that you don’t lose your files and with them your business.
You can backup your files right from your computer. All that you have to do is simply move your files to a folder in your local system and the cloud service will take care of syncing it automatically with their storage. There’s no other work needed from your end.
Insurance really doesn’t get easier than this and you don’t even need to fill out any forms.
Image-Based vs File-Based Backup
So, now that you’ve probably decided to set up a backup for your business’ data, let’s take a look at the ways in which you can do so.
In general, there are two kinds of backups: file and image level. File level backup is ideal for backing your files and folders. In some cases, it can also be a good option when you want to backup a database.
Image-level backups, on the other hand, help to protect your entire system at once. Unlike what you may think, it has nothing to do with pictures: image-level backup creates a mirror image of everything on your system using the same file system order. This way, you can search and access what you want within minutes after downloading it; it’s like you’re sitting at your old computer.
In addition, image-level backups give you access to fast recoveries locally and remotely using something called a continuous recovery model. Both backup methods have their pros and cons, so choose the one that’s the right fit, based on your needs and what you want to backup.
While choosing a backup plan, consider what needs to be backed up. What disaster are you preparing for? What do you want to protect?
Answers to these questions will help you devise the right backup strategy. For example, if you’re concerned about someone wiping all your files, a file backup makes sense. On the other hand, if you want to protect your entire system, image backup is a better choice, as file-level backups will take a long time to set up and restore. For more ideas regarding this topic, check out out best image-based backup article.
When to Backup?
There is no hard and fast rule when it comes to backup, as it’s all just common sense. You have to imagine that a disaster can strike you at any moment and when this happens, all your critical data and systems should be safe.
With this in mind, you’ can decide how to set up your backups. In general, a continuous backup is a good idea because it ensures that your latest data is also safe all the time.
A continuous backup is not really continuous, but constantly monitors your data, identifies any changes and backs up the changed data right away. So, you only incrementally upload what’s new or changed. An added advantage is, your bandwidth is not clogged, as you’re not backing up the entire system every time.
If you don’t want to have a continuous backup, you can manually upload the files or setup a schedule for backup. It’s all about what you want.
Is This the Right Time to Move to the Cloud?
A report by Gartner shows that cloud services will grow to $244 billion by 2017 and a substantial part of it will be driven by SMB. In fact, research conducted by BCSG shows that already 64 percent of small businesses have an average of three cloud solutions in place for their everyday operations. These numbers are all set to increase to 72 percent over the next three years.
It goes to show how cloud is catching up the business community. Cloud adoption is happening at a frenzied rate because companies understand the many benefits that come with it.
A small note here before we end. Backups are not confined to just software and data, you can backup your hardware too, using a RAID setup or NAS to create even more redundancy. Check out our backup strategy for 2017 to see how the Cloudwards.net editorial team handles this.
For software backup though, we highly recommend a reliable and affordable cloud service; check our backup reviews for an overview.
It’s important you back up both your hardware and software to get a high level of redundancy and a foolproof and fail safe disaster recovery strategy.
To conclude, cloud backup is becoming an integral part of operations for many SMBs and rightly so, considering its many advantages. Probably the most significant reason is the protection it gives your data and applications in whatever may happen and at affordable rates.
Using any of our best cloud backup providers gives you flexibility, reliability and access to data at any time, so you can make the right decisions from anywhere. It is sure to ease the life of your employees as well. Little wonder then that many small and medium businesses are adopting cloud backup in a big way.
Are you ready to embrace cloud backup to leverage its advantages? Tell us your thoughts in our comments section. Thank you for reading.