Five factors to Consider When Choosing an Offsite Cloud Backup Service Provider

You’re probably wondering what to look for if you’re a small or medium-sized business looking to make the switch to an offsite cloud backup model. To determine if cloud backup is the right solution for your small business, consider these five points before making the move to a offsite cloud service provider (SP):

Benefits versus Cost: Cost plays a big part in most decisions and cost will come up when you are considering moving your backups to the cloud. To start the process, I would suggest choosing three service providers (SP) that you feel comfortable with and performing an analysis of their costs compared to their benefits. Factors that should come into consideration are, length of time the SP has been in business, does the SP offer a no-obligation trial, does the SP have any hardware/security accreditation and most importantly does the SP keep at least two copies of your data in two different locations?

Redundancy: Redundancy, which is now practically standard at this point, is also a very important requirement. Backend redundancy gives you an extra layer of protection by keeping at least two copies of your data in two different physical locations operated by the service provider (SP). This protects your data in case of the unlikely event that the SP’s data center experiences a catastrophic disaster such as natural disaster.

Bandwidth Limitations: It is not a well known fact that many low cost service providers (SP) will limit their upload/download speeds making your backups/restores slower during peak backup times. Some SPs even go so far to limit the file size that you can upload! To avoid these restrictive SPs, I suggest reviewing the SPs Terms of Service, which is usually available on their web site, or posing them the question.

Data Encryption: Data encryption is a requirement for anyone looking to utilize a cloud backup service provider (SP) because you will never want your data going over the internet without being encrypted. Without encryption your sensitive data could be read as if it was in plain text! The majority of SPs use standard encryption algorithms. With this being said there are still two important questions that need to be asked. The first question to ask is if your data is encrypted BEFORE going over the internet and does your data rest encrypted in the cloud. Both questions are important to ask as they will guarantee your data’s security.

Local Backup Copies: Most offsite backup providers allow you to keep any number of backup generations in the cloud that you wish, as long as you pay for them, but what about local backup copies? Local backup copies are useful for fast restores and as a second protection point. Ask your service provider of choice if local backups are offered and at what price.

Date: 1/27/2011
Posted By: Ben Puzzuoli

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