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Technology Tip

Technology Tip
Dave Pelland has extensive experience covering the business use of technology, networking and communications tools by companies of all sizes. Dave's editorial and corporate experience includes more than 10 years editing an electronic technology and communications industry newsletter for a global professional services firm.

Cloud Backup Services for Small Businesses

Cloud Backup Services for Small Businesses

Backing up files and information is an important idea that, in too many cases, is overlooked by busy small business owners.

Whether data is lost through a technological problem or a natural disaster, installing and running a cloud-based backup service can help ensure critical information can be recovered easily if you need to get it back.

Cloud Advantages

Cloud-based backup systems offer a variety of advantages for small business owners, starting with convenience and including the assurance of knowing your files are stored securely in a remote destination.

With most cloud backup systems, you configure your company's server and other computers to upload data routinely on a routine basis (such as overnight). Because this process takes place automatically, you don't have to remember to schedule a backup, and you don't lose any downtime while the backup is running.

Because data is uploaded to the cloud, you don't have to invest money in physical storage equipment or media, and you don't have to lose time waiting for your data to be copied from a server to your backup device. Instead, the backup runs during periods when your server would otherwise be idle.

Automatic Backup

The automatic nature of the backup increases convenience and the security of your data by removing the primary obstacles for most small business backup systems — either not scheduling a backup, or not remembering to run a manual process.

In most instances, the first backup can be rather lengthy, and often takes a few nights to complete. But once that's done, the backup typically uploads only those files that have been created or amended since the last backup. This so-called incremental backup speeds the process and improves its efficiency.

Depending on your service and configuration, a cloud-based backup can also copy data stored on laptops and other devices that connect to your network.

Remote Security

Another important advantage of cloud-based backup systems is that, by storing data on a remote server, you gain important business continuity advantages in case your data is lost following a natural disaster or other emergency.

Your data is uploaded to your service provider's servers, where it is typically encrypted and backed up a second time. This provides an extra degree of protection and security, and increases your ability to restore data in case it is lost from your server or network.

If your facility is physically damaged during a natural disaster or fire, for instance, you can access your important business information through the backup service.

Most providers offer you the ability to download information through a web interface. For larger amounts of data that would take too long to download, you can typically order data that has been transferred to physical storage media for an additional cost.

Many small business owners are understandably concerned about uploading important business information to a third-party service provider, but in many situations, service providers are better equipped to provide adequate security than the customers they are serving.

And if you consider the convenience of having your data uploaded automatically, and the fact that the information is likely to be encrypted while it is stored, cloud-based backup systems are an attractive option for small businesses looking to backup the data they need to serve their customers effectively.

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