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Cloud backups: The difference between life and death of data

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Richard Stand
Securicom’s Richard Broeke says looking to the cloud for backups does more than save time and money.

Over the past two years the uptake of pure cloud backup by smaller businesses has burgeoned as the idea of saving company data to the cloud has become easier for companies to digest, and bandwidth has become faster and cheaper.

Securicom’s Richard Broeke says looking to the cloud for backups does more than save time and money. It could mean the difference between life or death of data.

“The loss of business information can cost companies a lot in more ways than one. Data is the lifeblood of any business; from the documentation of products and solutions, related intellectual property, customer records and financial statements to contracts, processes, and procedures.

“Losing all of that would mean starting from scratch and could take months or years. It is also costly to manually trace and record records, or in most cases recreate it. We have seen incidents where recovery efforts have run into hundreds of thousands of rands. With a cloud backup service that supports versioning, this can be completely avoided, even in the case of a ransomware infection,” he says.

In the average small business, traditional backups – if they are done at all – involve the manual back-up of key desktops and folders to either an external drive or a centralized file server. Typically, they are done weekly, monthly – or when somebody remembers. Rarely, backups are performed on a daily basis. This method does not support versioning and any backup simply overwrites the file with the latest copy. Local backup methods also usually have a limited amount of storage and so only one copy/version of the file is typically kept.

With threats like ransomware, data is infected and encrypted on mapped network drives as well as USB-connected storage devices. This means that backup locations are held ransom as well and encrypted data won’t be recovered.

With cloud backup services that offer versioning, it is possible to restore to a previous version of the file prior to the time is became encrypted. Issues of capacity are also eliminated with cloud backups because they are built to scale and can accommodate much larger volumes of data.

Cloud backups can be scheduled to take place automatically and with bandwidth now faster and more affordable, data can be sent to the cloud at the speed that it is created and the impact on cost is becoming a less of a factor.

Of course, companies should carefully evaluate providers before adopting any service. “Trust is a big issue. Consider if you can trust the cloud provider with a copy of your data. What are the chances of them failing and losing your data? And, are they secure?

“Professional cloud service providers will have strong policies on who can access their customers’ data and under what conditions. They will also have robust security in place to protect datacenter. Choose wisely,” he says.

Another consideration for smaller companies when choosing to go to the cloud of keep backups local is bandwidth.

“If I you have 50GB of new data a day, sending that data across an internet connection to the cloud could become expensive. Bandwidth performance is also crucial. You don’t want to wait three days to send 50GB to the cloud.”

All things considered, Broeke believes that cloud backups are for the most part the better option for small and mid-sized businesses.

“If you have a trustworthy and secure service provider and your bandwidth can handle it, the cloud is safer, more reliable and could mean the difference between saving valuable data or not in the event of a failure or infection.

“Companies should be looking at backups more holistically and include additional cloud services such as clean email, endpoint protection, patch management and user awareness,” he concludes.

Staff Writer

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