Unless you have been living in a cave for the last 5-10 years, you are probably well aware of backing up your data to the cloud.

Cloud backup comes in a variety of flavors, and each has its pros and cons:

  1. Consumer grade cloud backup. It’s cheap, and it protects your important personal files from loss. But it can take days to back up the data, and even longer to get it back. Often it only stores the most recent copy of your files. If the backup runs after you get hit with encryption malware, you can be out of luck.
  1. Business grade “files only” backup. Like consumer grade, with a couple of important differences. It stores multiple versions of files, protecting against encryption malware. The servers will download faster, and the vendor can overnight a disk drive to you with your data on it, so you can get back up and running quickly. The downside is it does not preserve your server configuration, making a catastrophic failure a nightmare to recover from.
  1. Virtual machine backup. This will upload changes to any computer in their entirety, often allowing it to spin up a copy of your computer or server in the cloud. So it can not only preserve your data and settings, it can also give you a temporary place to run your business computer systems, until your computers and premises are back in operation. This tends to be more expensive, but being out of business is infinitely more so.
  1. Hybrid cloud backup, if you combine cloud backup with a local copy stored on a computer at your location, you can guard against data loss, and the backup computer can run your server as a virtual machine, while it’s being repaired. Performance may lag a little, but you can resume network operations within minutes of a server failure.

Those businesses with the greatest sensitivity to downtime should consider option 4. The rest should probably go with option 3. Whatever your budget and tolerance for risk, make sure you at least have option 1 or 2 in place. Be aware that waiting for your system to be set back up can be very disruptive, and quite expensive. A good backup starts to look cheap after an extended outage.

When selecting a vendor, ask if they back up your data to more than one location. If the answer is no, you are vulnerable to their data center being subject to the same disaster that you encounter, especially if the data center is in your local area. Pick a vendor that synchronizes data across multiple, geographically dispersed, data centers.

It’s important to get backup right, as going it alone can be hazardous to your company’s health. It’s best to pick a reputable IT firm to help you set up reliable, cost-effective backups. BinaryNetworks is ready, willing and able to help, and guide you to the solution that is right for you.