Protecting Your Data with Cloud Backups

Most businesses have a collection of core data they consider essential – the sort of information that, if the building were on fire, they would grab (or wish they had grabbed!) on the way out. Sometimes this data is locked up in databases, at other times in ordinary files – pictures, excel, word docs etc. The former, locked up in custom databases usually require dedicated backups and devices because it’s important to preserve the environment in which it runs just as much as the data itself. The later type, or ‘flat files’ are much easier as each one exists separately. We all know we should backup daily and take this core data offsite in case of emergency. As a support professional, I can’t tell you of the number of times good backups have saved people's bacon – and indeed their business. Equally, we’ve seen lots of examples where others haven’t been so lucky or so well protected. I’m sure you’ve been nagged about this before – but I’ll repeat it here – Do your backups and regularly check the content to make sure they are actually working. But wait - this story is about cloud backups. So I’ll get on with it. Cloud backups have long been a tempting proposition. Set and forget – files go offsite and you don’t have to lug those annoying tapes or disks back and forth. But they’ve been held back by our connections to the Internet. ADSL, the most common form of connection is Asynchronous – (hence the A in ADSL)… What this means is your connection is faster to supply data to you than it is for you to send data elsewhere. Often as much as a 10x difference. Clearly, this directly affects the ability to back up to the cloud where you must send your data upstream. A typical small businesses data might take a few days to upload.

There are other issues as well – for example:

  • Where is my data?
  • Does it matter where it is?
  • How do I get it back?
  • Is it safe and away from prying eyes?
  • How much does it cost?

Thankfully most of these issues are now resolved – with the major exception of the speed of your connection. While the Lost Link Group will fix this, it’s still a long way away for many of us. Incidentally, this is just one example of the ways a new high-performance data infrastructure will change many things about IT. The more commonly cited ‘speed’ debate is more consumer driven and isn’t really transformational. It’s these other more innovative things that a high-performance network facilitates, that will change many things. There are now many forms of cloud backup, but the one Lost Link Group is using for our clients is a new generation intelligent application that minimizes data by backing up only things you have changed and cleverly, then only the parts that you have changed. Once the initial upload is done, the daily backup of changed data can be very small. Fortunately, there are also ways of dealing with that initial synchronization as well so it’s now very effective. For example; we have a client whose business depends on a large library of CAD drawings. With a Lost Link Group cloud backup solution, their library now exists offsite - safely separate in the event of a disaster. Their data is secure and is also encrypted and so not subject to theft. This is actually far more secure than the on-premise data where it exists in unencrypted form on the server. This same client suffered a recent break-in and while they lost a range of equipment and the server was trashed, the library of data was safe and we had it all back in the few hours it took to download. Cloud backup comes in many forms suitable for personal backups, data from servers running all the time and even modules that plug into databases like SQL that can backup core business data. Picking the right one is the trick – to make sure you speak to a professional who can guide you through the ins and outs of each.