A storm is coming – will your business data be safe? We often talk about how cloud storage can help people protect and store their personal data, but if you’re running a business proper online backup is even more crucial. It doesn’t really matter whether you’re a solopreneur running a business from home or an executive at a major corporation.
Whatever the size of the business, the issue is the same: how do I safeguard the data I need so that my business doesn’t go under if it disappears? Cloud storage could help solve this issue.
A Laptop Disaster
To illustrate the pressing need to safeguard business data, here’s the true story of something that happened in my own business about five years ago. I was running a writing business, including working with a writing team, from my home office. One evening I went to my laptop and pressed the power button – nothing.
This was the same laptop that had been working fine just an hour earlier. Even back then I was fanatical about backing up, but faced with short deadlines, this one time I’d forgotten – and it only takes one time to result in disaster. I lost two days’ work and dented my pride – and was quick to put a more robust backup plan in place.
Preparing for Disaster
But what happens in a bigger business? In my case, a couple days’ work was about 20 articles and some important emails, but in a bigger business that could be thousands of financial and business transactions, creating an accounting and customer service snarl-up that it could take months to unravel, not to mention the terrible effect on customer relations.
And that’s just with a computer failure – what would happen in the case of an actual natural disaster? With the spate of storms in the last couple of years, many businesses have discovered that using the right online backup and cloud storage solution has made the difference between getting back in business and sustaining huge losses.
Cloud Storage Benefits
Take the case of last year’s hurricanes. As we’ve pointed out in an article before, many businesses found that not only were the buildings where they were located unable to withstand hurricane force winds, but their electronic equipment couldn’t cope with wind and water either (not really a surprise, if you think about it). That’s why cloud storage is a better option.
Here are some of the advantages it offers. Firstly, widely dispersed data centres – which means that your data is safe even if local conditions are not. Most cloud storage providers have their network storage in lots of different national or global locations, to provide quick access wherever their customers are. That means those same customers benefit from having multiple backups of their data.
Secondly, well protected data centres – since the success of cloud storage providers rests on their ability to maintain access to data, their data centres are robust – very robust – which means they are made to be virtually disaster-proof. Many stayed online throughout the last few major storms, which meant the businesses that relied on them could keep on trading. With disaster losses often running into millions and billions (whichever currency you use) that’s nothing to sniff at.
Cloud storage offers other business advantages too. Instead of spending lots of money to buy your own servers and maintain your own data centre, your business could take advantage of the scalable nature of cloud storage services. You pay only for what you need, keeping costs manageable. Check out our list of top business cloud storage providers as a starting point.
And if the worst happens and your office computers are compromised, the fact that your data is still safe means the minute you get access to a new computer, you’re up and running again. And let’s not forget that since people can login from anywhere, employees can keep your business ticking over from home even if your office is inaccessible.
So how can you make sure that your business or home business benefits from cloud storage and backup? If you’re a big business, consider using cloud applications and not just cloud storage – using a platform hosted externally makes it even more likely you will be able to carry on with business if the worst happens
use an automated backup service so everything is up to date till the minute you lose access, minimizing data loss (and if you’re really paranoid, use multiple backup and storage solutions). Keep security tight – even though people can access from anywhere you don’t want to make it too easy
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Check on the numbers and locations of data centres for your cloud service providers and assess what their backup and storage protocol is. Finally, don’t wait until there’s a disaster to find out if your cloud storage solution is working – test it well in advance to make sure that the next natural disaster isn’t a disaster for your business.