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April 22, 2014updated 22 Sep 2016 11:18am

5 things to consider before buying cloud backup

There's lots of cloud backup providers, but which one is best for you?

By Joe Curtis

Data security

For most businesses eyeing up the cloud, their main reservation will be security. There’s lots of scare stories out there, as well as the moneyed assurances of big players like Amazon Web Services (AWS), but what do you need to know?

First of all, ask about the physical data centre security the firm employs, as well as what kind of encryption your data will receive (128AES is the minimum). If the company also has access to the encryption key, they should forget any hope of getting your money.

How regular are backups?

If your business is one that is fiddling with files until the last minute, you want the backed up versions of those files to reflect the latest changes. Some providers let you say how often you want a backup to take place, while others schedule backups for set times and still others will update any time you make an alteration.

The downside to regular backups is that your computer will perform slowly more often, but it’s an important thing to make sure you get right.

Recovery times

If your computer crashes at 9pm and you need to send off that document before 11pm, what do you do? Well, the first thing is to make sure your provider has a 24/7 recovery service.

You should also do your best to make certain that the provider will help you get that data quickly – some of them won’t even respond to a customer support email for hours.

Your future data storage requirements

You know how much data your business needs to back up today, tomorrow, next week and this year. But what about next year? And after that?

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Data volumes are growing exponentially and it’s hard to predict exactly how much storage capacity you’ll require in a year or two’s time without some hefty calculations.

Even so, you should measure as best you can your data storage requirements for the next 18 or 24 months. That way you’ll make sure you can sign a deal with enough capacity to grow into over that time.

Value for money

Cloud providers all adopt varying pricing structures, so it’s worth working out which offers the best deal before making your decision.

Some offer unlimited data storage at a set price, while others limit how much data you can store depending on what price tier you choose.

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