To say data loss can be hugely devastating to a business is something of an understatement. Financial losses and reputation damage are just the start of it. In a commercial world driven by technology, the risks of losing data due to a crashed hard drive, human error, natural disaster or a cyber-attack are very real.
Even if you carry out regular back-ups, there could always be gaps between your last backup, and the event that wipes your data. What’s more, if you don’t store your backup drive offsite, then you could quite easily be separated from it should you be unable to access your premises. This is precisely why offsite online backups are crucial for any business, especially the smaller organisation that can ill afford to suffer losses.
With this in mind, our experts are taking a look at the best online backup for small business owners. Read on to discover how online backups work, why you should be investing in an online backup service, and which are the market leading options.
How does an online backup work?
Online backups scan your hard drive for files that need protecting. They then encrypt them so they cannot be read should a cyber-attack take place, and then upload them to the online services. Once the files are uploaded, you can access them and restore your data from anywhere, anytime, via an internet connected device.
Are online backups the same as cloud storage and file syncing?
Contrary to popular belief, and whilst there is an element of overlap, online backup services are not the same as cloud storage and file syncing services such as Sync, Dropbox or Google Drive. Yes, these services do store files in the cloud, but they are not designed to automatically protect everything on your network, including system files.
This is precisely why, for the small business that wants to properly protect itself against risk, an online backup service really is a wise move. But how to choose the best online backup solution for small business use? Here’s what you need to consider.
How much does the online backup service cost?
Cost is one of the most important factors when looking at online backups.
Most are subscription-based, but they do vary in terms of features and costs, so it is important to compare plans carefully before going ahead. Most will hinge on the volume of cloud storage provided for your data, although some will be led by number of devices per account. Look out for storage limits on cheaper solutions, or restricted features, as well as file-size upload limits.
How secure are online backup solutions?
It is crucial to look at the security of your chosen online backup solution. Most will encrypt your files before uploading to the servers, and some offer a private encryption key option.
If you opt to manage your own encryption keys to decrypt your backups when required, then it will be down to you to remember it, bearing in mind that the service itself won’t be able to help you with a reset if you forget it. The good thing about this is that no one can unlock your backups other than you, which is beneficial from a privacy and security point of view. The best course of action is to use a password manager to keep track of your encryption key.
How easy is it to restore your data?
An online backup service needs to be as fast and straightforward as possible when it comes to restoring your data. Look for search tools for locating specific files, and for solutions that replicate full folder-tree structures so you can recover more easily from bigger data losses.
Some plans are per-device, so if you purchase a new PC then you may need to transfer the account.
There is also a feature known as ‘versioning’. This saves incremental changes made to files as recoverable snapshots. This is useful in situations where you need to retrieve information from an earlier version of a file, or if your latest saved version becomes corrupted. Online backup services vary in terms of how many versions they retain, and how long they are retained for. Some will keep an unlimited number of file versions forever.
What about local data laws?
When you are choosing a cloud backup service for your small business, and you are operating in a regulated sector such as finance, law or healthcare, then you may need a solution that offers local hosting to ensure local data laws are adhered to.
Always check where your data is held. If you have a large volume of data to back up, you will generally want a local data centre, because when it comes to restoring the data, it may take a very long time if it’s located somewhere on the other side of the world.
How to choose the best online backup for your small business?
Tailored advice is crucial. This is precisely why we haven’t turned this article into a comparison resource. What you really need is an expert who takes time to get to know your business and unique network setup. To understand the specific risks your organisation faces, and the industry and regulatory factors that need to be considered.
For any business, choosing the right online backup service isn’t about comparing features. It’s about taking professional advice from qualified people who are in the know about the pros and cons of the various options. People who can guide you in line with your best interests and individual risk levels.
So, if you are considering moving to an online backup service, talk to PC Docs. We’ll take as much time as we need to thoroughly understand your business and industry, so that we can make informed recommendations for you on the best online backup service for your small business.
To learn more about how PC Docs can help you choose the right online backup solution, please get in touch with our helpful experts, all dedicated to making sure you receive clear advice on your level.