Cloud Backup

What is cloud backup? It is an online backup backing up data to the cloud, not locally, and it is an application of cloud computing. But then, what is the cloud? And what is cloud computing?

The cloud is the good, old computer network we know as the Internet. Cloud computing means utilizing the computing power of servers connected to this network, their purpose being to deliver applications.

And, getting back to define cloud backup, it is a backup done on cloud storage. Cloud storage is a certain amount of highly available space the service provider allocates for your use. You can access that disk space using a Web browser, while the disk, physically can be anywhere in the world.

Advantages of a Cloud Backup solution

- No need to maintain a backup storage infrastructure locally.

- High availability storage. The providers use state of the art online storage, using enterprise grade hardware/software redundancy schemes.

- Secure storage. Data is encrypted, so if you have sensitive data you can still use cloud backup, as the provider guarantees data safety through encryption.

- Accessible from anywhere in the world using the familiar Web browser interface.

- No overhead, only a small piece of software (client software) needs to be installed.

- Automated solution. After installing the client software, and doing the initial setup, you are done. Backups are done automatically according to the schedule you choose. If the Internet connection goes down, operations will resume automatically after the network is up again.

- Highly scalable solution. You can start small, and if you wish, you can go for unlimited storage.

- Versioning. Generally, the user saves only the most recent version of a file, mostly to save disk space. With cloud backup, storage is not restricted anymore, and the service provider will keep multiple versions of the files, for a period you choose at setup.

The online backup should use a schedule setup in such a way that it runs when you are not using your computer. You can also backup files in real-time: as soon as a file is changed is automatically backed-up. Real-time backup task is a great way to save bandwidth, and usually is designed for a smaller amount of data. The scheduled backup can be used to backup any amount of data.

-With the local backup, you must have access to the backup media in order to restore your data. With cloud backup however, you have many restore options, including restoring data from anywhere simply by using a Web browser to access the backup files.

Disadvantages of Online Backup

- You cannot access the data when Internet connection is down, so you definitely need a highly reliable Internet connection.

- The more storage you use, chances are that more data might need to be downloaded in case of a restore. As a result, your Internet connection must be high speed for best results.

- A possible problem is if ownership of the provider changes (they might change terms), or if they simply close the business. It is a bit of a hassle, but you can recover your data, and transfer to another provider.

What to look for when choosing a Cloud Backup service

- Check supported operation systems, and applications.

- Make sure the cloud storage is enterprise grade, highly available storage.

- Check if data is encrypted and compressed. Compression helps reduce upload time and storage cost.

- Check if the solution meets regulatory compliance with built-in reports.

- Check if they offer flexible, pay-as-you-go plans, from reasonable to unlimited storage. You can start for example with 20GB, and go for unlimited later, depending on the budget available.

- The cloud backup solution they offer has an easy setup. The backup has to be of a “set-and-forget” type, while the restore should be as close to “single-click” as possible.