Online backups. Talk about a sore spot. Many IT managers are quick to point out security and slow data recovery as the two main reasons why the average SMB should stick to traditional disk-to-tape backups.
But how accurate is this perception? And does it hold true for all SMBS?
Let’s start by looking at security — and where the real risks come from. It’s been estimated that 50% of all security threats come from within organizations. You don’t have to look long to find stories of disgruntled or dishonest employees deleting critical business data.
As for data recovery, the average SMB may be adequately prepared if data is stored offsite, but this method involves the physical transfer of backup tapes or CDs, which brings its own set of risks (not to mention additional costs). Reports of sensitive data being lost in transit to offsite storage locations do occur.
Still, security and disaster recovery can remain valid arguments against online backups — but ONLY if your organization actually can keep its data truly safe AND it has a fully developed disaster recovery plan that has been tried and tested under various scenarios.
If not, online backups can have many advantages over traditional backup methods. Here are the 5 biggest:
1. Quick and guaranteed disaster recovery
If a natural disaster can destroy your physical building, then it can also destroy your onsite computers, tapes, CDs, etc. Offsite storage is the best way to ensure your data is secure and recoverable. But since a major disaster can also take down a secure datacenter, a good online backup provider will mirror your data to multiple geographically dispersed and secure facilities. An even better online backup provider will also offer multiple ways of recovering data quickly to minimize possible downtime.
2. Greater security
Consider all the different types of business data you’re currently storing. And what would happen if it got into the wrong hands: lost customer confidence, stolen trade secrets and legal woes. For organizations that must comply with regulations like the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, a security breach could also entail hefty fines. A good online backup provider compresses and encrypts all data using military-grade 448 Blowfish security. It should also be able to prove that its datacenters are certified with strict internal controls.
3. Ease of use
Creating physical backups of data and restoring files is a time-consuming and costly task. At some SMBs, this burden falls on non-IT staff who may not have the time or knowledge to do this properly or efficiently. For SMBS that do have an IT staff, the time-consuming traditional backup method takes these employees away from more critical work. It also opens the door to human error and backups not being done religiously.
In contrast, online backups automatically occur at the time you have predetermined, and require no intervention on your part. You also get to decide which files are backed up and when (nightly, weekly, monthly, etc.). Good backup providers will guarantee successful backups with detailed statistics and reports. Not only is data automatically stored, it’s automatically restored in the event of a problem. You can further save time by choosing an online backup provider that offers easy management of backups and user accounts.
Online backups also offer better return on investment because they eliminate the cost of physically having to backup data, not to mention transporting and storing it offsite. Online backup further increases ROI because files can be restored quickly 24/7—often within minutes—thus keeping productivity high.
Other cost savings? No set up fees, installation costs or equipment to purchase. And since you’re using the provider’s servers, more information can be stored at a lower cost.
A lot of people overlook this one, but they shouldn’t because it factors heavily in the opportunity cost. Good online backup providers offer dedicated recovery specialists and personalized, round-the-clock support. These trained experts are likely to have more data recovery experience than your in-house staff and will be able to recover data more quickly.
More importantly, the better online backup providers will also offer setup, monitoring, testing and alerting services so that you can focus on more critical business operations with full peace of mind, all while saving on backup costs.
The final word
For a growing number or SMBs, the question is no longer whether online backups are the right choice, but which online backup provider they should entrust their critical business data to.
We suggest you start by taking a look at SherWeb’s SkyNox online backup solution. SherWeb is one of the leading providers of business-grade hosted solutions, and its backup solution is specifically designed to give SMBs simple, automatic, secure—and highly affordable—online backups.
Want to know more?
This video offers a good overview of SkyNox Online backup: