Cloud backups – what should you be looking for?
Cloud backups seem to offer the perfect solution to limited onsite data retention capacity. With the responsibility for providing physical storage, and the burden of managing backup regimes offloaded, Cloud backups are a no-brainer. Or they are so long as you get these fundamental issues resolved in advance.
You rely on your backups most when your own systems are offline. If you choose a Cloud backups provider with a patchy record of maintaining uptime, your data may not be available when you need it most. Always check any potential provider’s performance statistics and the service level guarantees they provide with their service.
You currently face two problems with backup provisions – estimating your current backup sizes, and how quickly those demands will increase. When moving to Cloud backups you need to choose a provider who makes scalability simple and cost-effective to minimise future problems when your backup sets increase in size.
3. Disaster recovery provisions
If the worst happens and your business is affected by a major outage, how exactly will you get your data back from the service provider to restore some semblance of normal operation? Is recovery reliant on a working internet connection, or will the host courier a drive containing your data so you can get started immediately. The easier your Cloud backups provider makes the process, the better fit they are likely to be for your needs.
4. Backing up the backups
In the old grandfather-father-son backup regime, your business always tried to keep three copies of relatively recent backups as an added layer of protection against data loss. So once your data is offloaded to Cloud backups, what protection is offered against loss of your backup sets? You should thoroughly investigate how your provider stores and backups your data once it is in the Cloud.
5. Backup method
How is your data copied from your company network up to the Cloud? Once a day? Once an hour? Immediately as files are edited? According to a schedule you control? You need to choose a provider that operates a regime which matches your specific needs and situation.
6. Data Protection Act compliance
As a data processor your business retains responsibility for looking after customer data, regardless of whether it is stored in your data centre, or as Cloud backups. You should always verify the security principles, protocols and protections used by your service provider to ensure they match industry standards. You should also check that personal data is never transferred outside the EU (such as where providers use non-EU data centres for storage), or you could find your regime breaches data protection regulations.
7. Limitations and liabilities
Check whether your provider levies additional charges for unplanned increases in data storage needs, or retains unusual permissions such as a perpetual license to access your data (yes, it really does happen some times). Always ensure you are fully briefed on contract terms and conditions that could end up costing your company dearly.