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5 dangerous cloud backup myths

Article by The Final Step on Aug 16, 2016

There’s a lot of information out there about cloud backup and how it benefits (or harms) modern businesses.

But while this pool of knowledge is invaluable for professionals, the information contained within it is not always accurate. We specialise in backup and keeping data safe. We’re using that expertise here to debunk some of the most dangerous cloud backup myths.

Myth 1: Cloud backup is quick and easy to set up

Sign up for a cloud backup service and hoist your data up into the cloud. No mess, no fuss. Sounds easy, doesn’t it?

The reality is that efficient cloud backups are complex and they require careful setup. You need to have a firm file storage process already in place to ensure that you’re backing everything up, not missing anything out (especially files that are stored in odd locations like system folders or people’s desktops) and only storing information that needs to be backed up.

You also need to think about where and how your cloud backup service provider is storing your data, and whether this meets your compliance requirements. How a provider stores and archives your data may have legal implications for your business, especially if it is regulated. For example, you may need to store your information in the UK or within the EU to comply with data protection regulations. It may also affect any future attempts to switch providers, extract archived data or implement a disaster recovery plan.

Myth 2: Cloud backup is expensive

This might have been true in the year 2000, but times have changed. A cloud backup can be more cost-effective than other data storage and backup solutions, like on-premises servers and degradable magnetic tape, which have been the backup method of choice for most organisations since the late 20th century.

Having a cloud backup means you won’t have to put money down on things such as:

  • Storage and rack space
  • Software installation
  • Redundancy hardware
  • Tape drives and tape libraries
  • Archiving and retrieval software
  • Maintenance, re-indexing…The list goes on.

In addition, most cloud backup and storage services (like Microsoft Azure) run on a pay-as-you-go subscription model. These subscription models are usually flexible so you can control how much you spend, depending on your requirements. A cloud backup will only cost as much as you need it to. You don’t need to buy more backup capacity than you need.

Myth 3: Cloud backup is automatically secure

It’s true that some cloud backup services are incredibly secure. However, not all cloud backup services are born equal and some are less secure than others.

Some cloud backup service providers, for example, guarantee reliable service but don’t always guarantee availability of data beyond a certain timeframe. That is, you can be sure that your data is backed up in the cloud, but you might not always be able to retrieve it in the event someone leaves your organisation, a folder gets deleted or some other disaster occurs. You may find that your data is only kept for 60 days by default, and you need to make alternate arrangements for archiving.

Losing your data is a security risk. You need to know how long your data is being stored for, how it is archived and how you can retrieve data from earlier backups.

Myth 4: One backup is enough

Most cloud backup services store your data in several dispersed locations to reduce the risk of data loss. This is called geographically-redundant storage, and it ensures that your data is safe and retrievable in the event a data centre is damaged or incommunicado.

But the notion that having one backup is enough is a myth. You can never have too many backups.

In addition to a backup in the cloud, you should have one local back up on an external hard drive. This will further protect you against data loss and allow you to restore your files if, for some reason, your data in the cloud is inaccessible.

Myth 5: Two backups are enough

While having multiple backups is good, it’s still not enough to protect your data. You can have two, five or ten backups and they’d all be useless if you can’t restore your files from them.

This is why you should do test restores. If you don’t test your backups then you risk being unable to recover your files in the event of data loss.

According to Symantec, 48 per cent of test recoveries run by companies fail – a compelling reason to test systematically and test often.

If you’re considering a cloud backup, make sure you have the right information before you choose a provider. Separate truth from the myth, do your research and find a backup solution that fits with your IT policy.

Hat tip to Kate Ter Haar for the featured image.

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