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Onsite backup vs. cloud backup

Data is the lifeblood of any organisation. Credit and financial information, health care records, customer profiles, information regarding inventory, research analysis and business e-mails are all critical data that companies can’t function without. Protecting this vital information is of utmost importance for any enterprise.

The reality is, data loss can happen at any time. When it does it can be disastrous. Many companies that fail to recover lost data from a major data loss end up going out of business.

To prevent data loss and the devastating impact it can have on business productivity, it is critical to backup important files and information using a secure and reliable method.  Today, many organisations are moving from traditional tape and disk backup to online backup, or as it is often referred to – cloud backup. This method of backup involves sending a copy of the data over a network to an offsite server or offsite storage infrastructure, which is usually hosted by a third-party service provider.

When choosing between onsite and cloud backup methods, there are a number of factors to consider. In this article, we examine three – reliability, cost and data security in no particular order.

Backup reliability

One factor you should consider is the reliability of the backup method you are using. Is the method prone to failure? How quickly will you be able to restore your data? And are you going to be able to restore all of it?

Traditional backup methods do not offer a high level of reliability. With portable media such as tapes and or disks there are a number of risks. Firstly, these devices are prone to failing and can easily be damaged, lost or stolen. Secondly, when it comes to recovering files, portable media often fails, leaving businesses at risk. With a cloud backup service, the reliability is significantly increased. Instead of backing up data to a physical medium on site, the data is encrypted and then transmitted to a secure data centre. The data never leaves the site without first being encrypted.  Generally, in addition to data backup, backup service providers also provide replication of data to ensure an increased level of reliability.

Cost of backup

Another important factor to consider is the cost of backing up data. If you are using traditional tape or disk backup, you are most likely spending significant amount of money every year on these devices.

There are also other costs to consider as well, such as the cost of transporting tapes to an offsite location and back again, the number of hours your staff spend on performing manual backups every week and the time it takes them to manually restore data in case of data loss. The staff also needs to be trained on how to handle hardware and they often require technical support. Both of these can be expensive.

All of this adds up to potentially thousands of dollars annually, depending on your data backup needs. On the other hand, with cloud backup the process of backing up data is completely automatic. It is managed by the client software and storage platform, saving thousands of dollars in valuable man hours. With online backup, restores can be performed almost instantly, whereas it could take hours, even days to locate a single file from a tape backup.

Data security

Finally, you should also consider the security of your data when choosing a backup method. With traditional methods, data is usually stored on tapes and disks in unencrypted formats. Since in many cases these devices need to be moved offsite for protection, the data residing on them becomes exposed to security risks. Mishandling of tapes can cause damage. There is also the possibility of tapes being damaged, lost or stolen during transportation.

However, with online backup these risks are eliminated. Online backup providers employ a number of security measures to ensure data is protected. With LiveBackup’s service, data is encrypted at the customer site using military grade AES or DES 256 bit encryption prior to being transmitted to two fully certified, remote and geographically separated data centres. The data centres are monitored 24x7x365 by a team of highly skilled data protection specialists. In addition, all backup and restore processes are easily monitored and managed through a user portal enabling clients to maintain full view over their data at all times.

Statistics on data loss:

  • Hardware failure and human error account for 78% of all data loss.
  • 93% of the companies that lost their entire data for 10 days or more filed for bankruptcy within one year of the disaster.
  • 49% of businesses reported data loss in the last two years.

(Source: StollzNow Research, Kroll Ontrack & IDG)