There are good reasons to back up your company files and data on the cloud, but you may be hesitant to store information off-site. Is using the cloud for backups and storage really the best method for your company?

Here at iTernal Networks, we are often asked this question. There are reasons for doing local backups or using the cloud  - or even both. When discussing which one is best, the argument will boil down to the pros and cons involved.  So what are the pros and cons of cloud backup, and do the pros outweigh the cons?

Let’s learn about the benefits of each method and which is better if and when a disaster hits.

Cloud Backup, Cloud Storage, Disaster Recovery

iTernal Networks provides cloud backup and disaster recovery services to businesses. Our experience has given us a strong look at the benefits of using the cloud vs doing backups on local networks. Here is what we found - but before we start, let’s define what cloud backup is.   

Cloud Backup: What Is It and Why Is It Important?

What Is Cloud Backup?

In a nutshell, cloud backup involves backing up internal electronic files and/or databases to an off-site location to protect them from becoming lost. Your electronic copies are stored with a third-party service provider for a fee.

Cloud providers can be specific or general in the type of data they store, and more companies offer cloud-based services each year. One look at the major cloud computing services offered today, and it can be hard to know where to start. Even Google’s cloud capabilities may be an asset for you.

This is where working with a managed service provider like us fits in.

The Pros and Cons of Cloud Backup

What is the advantage to using a cloud backup? Let’s learn about the benefits.

Cloud Data Backup Advantages

Cost

Typically cloud backups are cheaper than local backups because you don’t need to purchase and maintain the systems and staff to do it. With cloud backups, you only pay for the service and space to match the quantity of data you need to store.

Better Management

Since cloud providers are storage experts and have all the needed hardware in-house, they take on the burden of backing up your systems so you can concentrate on other business needs. These companies ensure backups are done correctly, avoiding accidental download and hardware issues that can disrupt the process. Cloud backup providers are experts, and you can leave the responsibility up to them.

Scalability

Since cloud providers hold massive amounts of data, they can most likely store any amount you need. As your business grows, you can store more data quickly and easily, paying only for the amount of storage you use.

Safer storage

Having a company do regular backups helps protect you from cyber attacks such as phishing, ransomware, malware. These cloud companies base their reputations on safety and security, so you can rest assured they will have ample protections in place. And often, the information is encrypted, providing an extra layer of protection against attack.

No limit to the types of storage

Cloud providers can backup data locally and in remote devices, such as on remote devices such as laptops and tablets.

Frequency options

You can choose how frequently you want it done to navigate costs. It is best to start with a full backup, which can take a few days. Still, you can follow that up with incremental backups (backing up just the new or changed data since the prior backup) or differential backups (like an incremental backup, but only updating changes from the full backup rather than the last incremental backup). Companies like us can evaluate your needs and suggest a method that is best for your data and budget.

The Cons of Cloud Backup

There are times when the cloud may not be the answer. These may be some of them.

Cloud Backup Disadvantages:

Cost barriers

Since data backups are easily scalable on the cloud, you may want to take advantage of storing all data, but costs can escalate. The more you need, the costs rise substantially. To keep costs down, it’s good to trim the amount you need stored.

Compliance

Not all cloud providers can meet your specific needs. Some sensitive data protection requires special compliance certifications, and not all have them, and you would be financially responsible for any fines associated with this.

The Time to Complete Backups

For companies with big data, backups can take longer through the cloud. The cloud relies on an internet connection, restricting how much data can be moved at one time. Typically the first full download takes the longest (a few days), but you can still accomplish large backups frequently with specific methods. For instance, Hyper-V backup is an interesting subset of cloud-based backups that handle large files daily.

Disaster recovery

When you need data recovered, particularly when a disaster hits and the internet is down, your backup data may need to be copied and sent to you on devices you would have used internally, such as disks or tapes.

When it comes to disks or tapes vs cloud backup, the safest answer is to do both. Though you will need hardware on-site, your provider can still take on the burden of all data backups, so you can focus more on other tasks.

It’s also important to note that not all cloud providers offer full disaster recovery. They may be able to recover data and resume operations after an occurrence but may fall short of advanced needs. This is where Cloud DR comes in.

What is Cloud DR?

Disaster recovery (DR) is more than storing and recovering files. It includes full operating systems, software, drives, and utilities. This service, called DRaaS (Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service) ensures you are fully restored to prior function when an event hits.

The Pros of Cloud Backup and DR

You get ample storage options via the cloud and in hardware that keep you going if one option fails. You also get access to your information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It’s there for you whenever a disaster strikes.

The Cons of Cloud Backup and DR

With the added benefits come higher costs, and they can really add up. To keep it more affordable, most businesses opt for a pay-for-what-you-use model.

What are the Pros and Cons of Cloud Storage?

Cloud storage may seem synonymous with cloud backup, but it is actually slightly different. It involves using a system that allows data, files, and data subsets to be accessed remotely by users through a network like the internet.

Pros of Cloud Storage for Backup

The data in cloud storage can be accessed anywhere an internet connection is, even globally. It makes remote workforces possible and is part of its allure. It adds flexibility in the ways that employees work while saving you on the cost of renting commercial space. And you still enjoy much-needed cybersecurity.

Cons of Cloud Storage for Backup

You will be fully reliant on the internet, so if you or your employees have a poor connection, productivity may suffer. You also risk substantially higher rates in data storage if your systems aren’t trimmed carefully. Honing storage down is something we do often as a service.

Conclusion

We hope this gives you a better look at the pros and cons of cloud backup and disaster preparedness. Which method you choose may be due to cost and convenience, but with the cloud’s advancements in storage capacity, security, flexibility of access, and disaster support at a lower overall cost than handling it all internally may be worth considering. You can use it for entire systems or for select needs to fit your budget.

As a managed service provider, we have experience with all types of data backup and storage and can help you make the right choice for your specific needs. Contact us to find out more.