Backing up to the cloud – is that all?

It seems like every month a cloud storage provider is giving out more data storage at a lower cost – the question is, “How cheap will it get?” Only time will tell.

There is an underlying issue with these cloud based storage providers, and that is the false economy it gives people using the service. The general feeling these days is that most people believe that storing their data solely in the cloud means there isn’t a requirement to have your data backed up. Or that if you are backing up your data only to a cloud provider, that it is an adequate ‘complete’ backup solution.

Unfortunately unless you are running your business 100% in the cloud and you are also 100% comfortable with having your entire business in another company’s hand, then the answer is no – you don’t have an adequate backup solution.

Before I go into detail as to why it’s not adequate, I must touch on a scary point that I have heard more often than I would have thought. Businesses that are storing their data only in the cloud are taking a huge risk of something happening to the cloud provider, or that the provider may even decide to change their trading terms and conditions of their service, making your data inaccessible. I am sure some would say that it sounds farfetched, but if anything is true in technology, it is that anything is possible. 10 years ago would anyone of thought that a web-search provider will be building cars? Well my bet is that before the end of this decade we will see that happen.

OK back to the point about having your data stored only with a cloud provider – from a backup point of view, on premise there is no real difference to having your data only stored locally. While risk of your locally stored data being corrupt or compromised is still a strong concern, being stored with a public cloud provider increases the chance of your data being compromised as the true nature of a public cloud provider is that your data is available anywhere at any time.

These same concerns would also apply to companies that use any of the many Software as a Service (SaaS) providers such as Salesforce or Zoho. I would highly recommend setting up a regular ‘pull’ of your data from the cloud, and store it on your infrastructure or even copying it onto another cloud storage provider. Although your data in a ‘dumped’ format is not very usable, in a situation that you have to fall back to this, it’s better to have this than nothing.

When it comes to redundancy, just remember the simple saying. Two is equal to one, and one is equal to none – in other terms you really need 2 copies of your data.

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