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Cloud backup: the ultimate checklist to find the right provider

cloud backup
(Image credit: Photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash)

The cloud has become an essential component of most modern businesses, but its rapid and widespread adoption has posed problems related to organization and security. The safe transmission and storage of data are paramount, at a time when threats to cybersecurity are more frequent and sophisticated.  

When choosing a cloud backup provider, it’s important to look at a number of factors: 

  • Hybrid backup solutions. Hybrid backup affords users an added level of safety by storing sensitive information locally on hard drives, as well as in the cloud.  
  • Device coverage. The average household or business has numerous devices to protect, including personal computers, smartphones, and tablets running various operating systems.  
  • Data access. Do you need software, or can you access your files online or through a mobile app? Flexibility is key in this regard, as you never know when and where you need access. 
  • System image backup and recovery. A system image is a snapshot of an entire disk, including the operating system, applications, preferences, and files, allowing a user to easily roll back to a prior state in case of data loss or corruption. 
  • Searchability and versions. Often, you only need to recover a single file rather than a whole directory, or just a particular version of a file. This is particularly useful in collaboration settings, when multiple users make changes to a single document. 
  • Encryption and security. Find out whether the provider’s software encrypts your data locally before sending it to their servers, and how the data is encrypted once there.  

Cloud storage for businesses

There are some extra considerations for businesses looking to store their data in the cloud. 

  • Multiple providers. Although there are factors of cost and operational efficiency to take into consideration, using multiple providers can reduce the risks of losing your data if a vendor’s systems go down or are broken into.  
  • Multiple storage tiers. Some of your data may require additional protection or services. Look for a cloud backup provider with multiple tiers so you can cost-effectively manage assets of different volume and sensitivity.
  • The existence of a Virtual Private Cloud (VPC). VPCs allow for a more secure and configurable cloud storage solution, giving you greater control over the cloud platform where your data is stored and accessed. 
  • Consider on-site private cloud options, that provide similar infrastructural and security advantages, without having to store your data off-site. 

Keeping your data safe

Here are some good tips for ensuring your data’s safety when moving to the cloud: 

  • Update existed service level agreements (SLAs). SLAs that were written and signed before the widespread adoption of cloud solutions need to be updated with new terms for accessibility, backup responsibilities, and ownership. 
  • Safe scalability. Ensure you can easily and safely increase your storage as needed, without any risks data as it’s being moved to larger and faster storage solutions. 
  • Redundancy is key. Make sure your backup provider has redundancy built into their storage solutions, with multiple versions of your data preferably kept in physically separate sites to avoid the dangers of natural catastrophe. 

Ronan McCurtin, senior sales director for Northern Europe at Acronis, and Sabo Diab, VP Global Marketing, CTERA Networks, contributed to this article.