Learning how to decipher which is the best cloud storage backup for you and or your company is essential. One of the first steps you have to keep in mind when taking the decision of moving your data into a cloud storage backup system is a basic question.

Why are you moving your data into the cloud? Is it for archival purpose? Or is it for backup purposes?

Identifying The Two Types of Data Storage Archival & Backup

The two are not the same, and this is something you have to keep in mind when shopping around for a cloud backup storage solution.  For example archival methodology is used to store data that is essential for you to keep or that you wish to keep, and for the most part it is much cheaper to store it in the cloud than on premises. 

Businessman standing looking at detailed business flowchart in cloudy storm setting

This is quite a different story when using it as a data backup, which is data that is essential for the day to day business operation, because this data functions as the backbone to your daily business operations, and it is highly important for it to be easily accessible when needed.  

Make Sure You Know The Data Recovery Capability of Your Service Provider

This brings us the following point: data recovery capabilities of cloud storage providers. No two cloud backup storage is the same, or better yet, shouldn’t be the same. The recovery capability for the most part should be based on the usage you will be giving it. You need to take into consideration how long it will take to recover (restore) data.

How long does your service provider take to make your data available? How long does the physical transfer take to transfer the data after the data becomes available? Choosing the amount of data to backup and the frequency will determine to some extent the amount of time needed to transfer the data.

This is crucial information, due to the fact, that this will determine the amount of time that you will need to get back to your day to day business operations.

Data Encryption.

Once you have identified the main reason why you are moving your data to cloud make sure your data is encrypted.

Be sure that your data is encrypted before transferring it to the cloud or if it is going off site. Make sure you don’t skip this step. It is important to protect your data.

Plan B

Always be ready for plan B! Protecting you data is very important, but making sure you are able to recover it as soon as possible when needed even more! So, it’s important to formulate a contingency plan, and two clouds are better than one!

Businesses need to keep in mind that data loss is a real thing, and we are not talking about data leakage or data theft. We are talking about a data wipe out!  If you are not prepared for this it can put you out of business really fast. So, how do you avoid such losses? Well, simply consider the 3-2-1 contingency plan.  This simply means 3 copies, 2 physical locations and 1 off-site. 

In other words local data is backup to the cloud, as well as backup locally. Cloud data is backed up to another cloud provider, and locally, local backups are stored off site.

Why should you consider the 3-2-1 Methodology? Well, take for example Gmail: four times in the past two years Gmail has been inaccessible. In December 2012 Netflix was offline due to a failure at Amazon Web Services, and Prior to that another Amazon EC2 issue in April, 2011. So, you can imagine the damage and loss of profit this can do to your business if your data wasn’t easily accessible or if you didn’t have a contingency plan. This can potentially cost you a whole lot of cash if not ready for possible technical difficulties.

Another example of data loss, well in this case complete data loss is social bookmarking site Ma.gnolia in 2009.

They went out of business in two years, and let’s not forget Linkup! In 2008 they had a data loss of 20,000 customers! They went out of business immediately, and believe it or not these are not rare cases. It is baffling to see that something as simple as making sure you have a 3-2-1 plan in place can save your business, as well as give you peace of mind at night. Perhaps if Ma.gnolia and Linkup had a plan B in place they would still be around. So, let’s take that as a lesson learned.

Your data storage strategy is vital to your business. So, why over look double security when storing your data in cloud? Backing up cloud based data is highly important, but often overlooked when it comes to mitigating data loss incidents or data access issues. 

Although, there are tons of options to backup data onto the cloud… it is a quite a different story when talking about options to backing up data that already is living in the cloud. 

Cloud storage backup is more and more gaining popularity as SaaS, but we must not lose site of the obvious. Backing up data should involve more than one copy in more than one place. You should never put your eggs in one basket, because you will leave your business vulnerable to the unknown.  

So, if there is one final thought you should take from reading this entry is that there is nothing wrong with backing up your data from one cloud to another.

Conclusion

The idea of “Cloud to Cloud” backup is relatively new, but it’s something that can be your life line when push comes to shove. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to your cloud service provider, and make sure you always have a secondary plan in place.

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In other words, a backup to your backup. Sounds a tad bit strange, but if you think of about it, it’s not much different than making sure you have an extra copy of your report that you have worked very hard in writing.

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