What would happen to your company if it lost all its data? If your critical apps, website, database and all the essential information you need to run your business suddenly vanished. You may be tempted to say that it doesn’t bear thinking about. But it does, because it happens. Hard drive failure, acts of God, human error, hacking, all these things and more can result in data death and without a backup, there’s no chance of a quick recovery.
Backups should be non-negotiable. Without them, there’s a significant risk of business failure. With them, disasters can be overcome quickly, enabling your company to get back on its feet.
That said, not all backup solutions are the same. Today, many companies have shifted their backups to the cloud as a way speed up recovery, save money and benefit from improved services. In this post, we’ll explain why cloud backups are so popular and what to look for in a provider.
Cloud backups explained
Cloud backup is third-party service that enables customers to store data, remotely, on the internet. Businesses using the cloud can backup, manage and recover data much more easily than with traditional methods that require additional, on-site storage.
The cloud offers flexibility to cope with varying storage requirements, provides affordable pay as you go pricing and gives complete control over what data is saved and how frequently you choose to back it up.
10 features you should look for in a good backup service
1. Storage space
Cloud providers charge customers based on the amount of data storage they use. Whilst this works out less expensive than buying your own storage servers, you still need to consider what your likely requirements are. This will entail looking at the size of a single backup and then multiplying this by the number of backups you want to preserve at any point in time. This will help you compare the rates of individual providers.
2. Look for scalable storage
The amount of data you need backing up can vary. As your company grows, your storage requirements are likely to increase and, if you occasionally carry out large-scale projects, you might want a temporary backup of the data you are using.
A good service provider will let customers increase their storage capacity on a flexible â€˜as needed basis, enabling you to scale up with growth or to cover short-term needs.
3. High availability
What could be worse than suffering a data loss and then finding out that your backup server was offline when you need to do a disaster recovery? One thing can: discovering the server is regularly offline, so your scheduled backups didn’t take place and your critical data didn’t get saved.
It is crucial that your cloud backup provider offers a high availability service that is guaranteed to stay online. If it doesn’t provide 99.95% or higher, go somewhere else.
4. Vendor disaster recovery
You use a backup service to protect you in the case of data loss. But what would happen if the vendors backup server went down? Before choosing a backup service, make sure that it has its own disaster recovery plan in operation too.
Most service providers have multilocation backups which store several copies of your backups at different data centres. So, even if a fire takes out a complete data centre, one of the copies stored elsewhere can be brought online immediately. Make sure your service provider has this solution in place.
5. Backup frequency as required
Some businesses need to back up their data far more frequently than others. If you have a busy eCommerce business, for example, you may need constant backups so that you do not lose any very recent transactions if data is lost.
Some backup services give customers total control over the frequency of their backups and enable them to be scheduled at times which are most convenient. Others only offer a limited number of backups and at times scheduled by the vendor. Make sure you choose the option which best suits your company’s needs.
6. Backup security
The security of your cloud backups is highly important when you consider the number cyber attacks that take place. If you are passing that security to a third-party, make sure they have robust measures in place to keep your data out of the hands of hackers.
Ideally, they should have intrusion prevention, 256-bit encryption for storage and data transfer, Secure Socket Layer (SSL) or Transport Layer Protection (TLS) and use multilocation data storage. In addition, the physical data centres should also be well-guarded with security staff, CCTV and access control in place.
7. Data compliance
Data regulation is getting stricter all the time. If you hold personal information you are required to comply with the Data Protection Act and the new GDPR regulation. Even if your data is backed up by a third-party cloud provider, you are still responsible for it. Make sure, therefore, that your provider meets industry standards and follows best practice to help you stay compliant.
8. 24/7 technical support
Backups are essential if you need to recover from a data loss. However, if a disaster does happen, the technical difficulties in getting back online quickly can be challenging. It’s times like these when you need a service provider that does more than simply provide a backup server.
To give yourself the best chance of meeting your Recovery Time Objective, you need a provider that can assist with the technical issues no matter what time of day. To ensure this happens, choose a cloud backup provider that offers expert, 24/7 technical support.
Ideally, support should be available via telephone, online chat and email. This way, should one communication channel be unavailable, there are others you can still use to get the problem solved.
9. Read the T & Cs
Check any terms and conditions carefully before signing up to a backup service. A good cloud backup provider will give guarantees and SLAs to ensure you receive an effective service. Also, check if there are any limitations that might prevent your company carrying out backup operations in the way it needs.
10. What customers think
The quality of the backup service and how well it suits the needs of your company should always be your main priority. If you are unsure about a cloud backup provider, we always recommend looking at customer reviews as these often provide a useful insight into the quality of the company, the services it provides and the support it gives its clients.
From reading this post you should have a clear understanding of how critical it is to back up your data. You should also see how cloud backups provide a quick, flexible and cost-efficient way to back up, store and recover data in the event of a disaster. Hopefully, the 10 points we have raised will help you find the right provider to look after your data.