cloud vs physical backup

No one likes to think about it, but computer networks crash every day. Data can be lost for a variety of reasons, whether it’s a hardware failure, user error, or a security breach. Unfortunately, it’s an unhappy fact of doing business in the 21st century.

In the modern marketplace, businesses rely on their computer networks for everything from storing payroll information and employee records to guarding proprietary company info and protecting privileged client data. Not to mention the day to day operational data that keep the business functioning smoothly.

If that data is lost for any reason, it can be a crippling blow to even the largest company. That’s why it is vital for businesses of all sizes to have recovery measures in place, and to have all of their important data backed up in a secure location.

Data Backup for Businesses

Having said that, backing up your business data is not as simple as it may seem and there are a few major decisions that have to be made at the outset. First, you have to decide on the type of back up you are going to use – cloud-based or physical on-site backup.

Each has its own distinct set of advantages and disadvantages, and it is up to you to decide which back up model best suits your business’ needs. But before you can make an informed choice, you should know a little more about each method.

Cloud-Based Backup

Cloud-based backup, sometimes referred to as remote backup or online backup, is simply the process of storing an emergency copy of all of your important data on an internet-based cloud server. With so many smaller businesses moving to the cloud for their networking needs, cloud-based backup models are becoming increasingly popular.

Some top choices are Cloud Backup from Azure and Carbonite has a suite of user-friendly solutions. However, you could easily design a plan with Dropbox or Cloud Storage from Google.

A cloud-based backup system does offer some definite advantages. All of your operational data is naturally stored off-site, and is easily retrievable if, and when, a data emergency arises. Cloud-based recovery systems can be fully automated, cutting down on user error, and most contain an easy to navigate file structures. Cloud-based data backup also provides for a nearly unlimited amount of storage space, provided you are willing to pay it.

But, cloud-based data backup does have some disadvantages, and they are not to be taken lightly. There are inherent security risks with cloud-based networks, and you never really have total control of your data. If you are storing a great deal of data on the cloud, the recovery process can often be excruciatingly slow, particularly if you are at the mercy of a slow internet connection.

Moreover, if your internet connection is cut, you will have no access to your data at all. Then, there is your service contract to consider. Some cloud service providers put a cap on data storage, while others will only store your data for a limited amount of time. Make sure you understand the risks of migrating to the cloud. Meaning you may not have access to all of the data you need to fully restore your network.

Physical Data Backup

In contrast to the cloud-based model, a physical data backup plan requires that you copy your important data to a local disk, such as a NAS or SAN.

Physical on-site data backup does give you more control than a cloud-based plan. You manage and control all of your business data, and recovery time is usually must quicker than with a cloud-based model. Because you are in control of your data storage, you can archive data for months or years, according to your needs.

However, while on-site physical data storage has its advantages, they come at a price. You will be responsible for all hardware costs, and the physical media must be changed, logged, and stored off site at regular intervals. Also, the problem of data loss still lingers. Hard copies can become corrupted, whether you are using tape or disk to archive your files. If mishandled, or incorrectly formatted, your data may be irretrievable, so it is important to have an IT consultant on hand to ensure that the process is handled correctly.

Backing up your business data is not just a good idea, it is a necessity. If you ever experience a network crash that causes you to lose important data, your business could be at risk. Having a data recovery plan in place can mean the difference between riding out the storm, and putting up the shutters for good. Take a close look at your business data processing needs, and consider whether a cloud based backup or a physical on-site backup is best for you.

Or, you can combine the two options and have the best of both worlds!