9 Things to Consider When Choosing Cloud Backup Providers

By Special Guest
Jessica Anderson, phoenixNAP Global IT Security
March 22, 2018

The advent of cloud computing offers businesses many advantages regarding both data security and efficiency.

By storing data in the cloud rather than on the hard drives of individual computers or within a local network, you can maximize IT efficiency, requiring less space for storage and free up computing resources for faster processing of tasks immediately at hand. Keeping data in the cloud also protects it in the event of a problem with your business’s IT infrastructure whether that be a computer failure or a natural disaster that disrupts office operations.

It is important to select a service that will be the best fit for your business’s needs, and this article will assist you in making that decision by highlighting nine important factors to consider when picking a cloud data backup service. FIrst, it is important to understand what cloud computing is and how it benefits your business.

Pricing of Cloud Options
Even the most amazing service with a list of features perfectly fitting your criteria will not be beneficial if the price is out of line with your budget.

Cloud data backup services are offered at a range of prices, dependent primarily upon the amount of storage space provided under the selected plan. While cloud providers typically advertise their low prices per GB of storage space, the fine print of the plan might reveal hidden fees related to bandwidth, customer support, required upgrades, or other such costs.

 It is important to make sure you are aware of the total cost of the service to ensure that you will not experience unpleasant surprise fees.

Storage space options
Most cloud data backup services offer plans with defined amounts of storage. It is important to carefully assess the amount of data you will need to store to ensure that the service you choose can support your requirements.

Larger businesses might want to consider whether there are any limits on bandwidth or number of files uploaded, either daily in total or by the user. Another related consideration is whether there is a cap on the number of users per plan, as may be the case with plans designed for small businesses.

Scalability of the selected service
Storage needs might change as your business grows. The amount of storage you need in the future could differ from the amount you needed when you selected a cloud backup service, and it would be ideal to initially choose a service that can support your business’s requirements as they change.

It is essential to consider the scalability of the selected service both in terms of the variety of different plans offered and whether the service provides the possibility of adding more storage on an as-needed basis. This will ensure maximum flexibility for your business operations without being hindered by limited data storage space.

Physical location of the servers and Data Center
The physical location and legal jurisdiction of the servers that will store your cloud-based data might be an important consideration. This factor plays a role in several legal issues facing businesses, according to Microsoft.

Businesses in particular industries may have signed a variety of legal documents or non-disclosure agreements that contain provisions restricting the manner and location in which data may be stored. In those cases, it is important to verify that any cloud backup service will store your data only in approved locations and that the data will only be in transit through legally authorized locations.

It is not always possible to ensure this with large service providers that have servers and data warehouses in many locations with complex network structures that pass through several intermediate locations. The locations where data is transmitted and stored also impact the privacy protections under which it is held and the ease with which government authorities in the jurisdiction can access it.

Security of data stored in the cloud
In today’s computing environment, security is naturally a top concern. According to the IDG 2016 Cloud Computing Survey, security of the data stored in the cloud was one of the top two concerns responding businesses had regarding cloud-based computing.

It is essential to choose a reputable service provider whose cloud computing security procedures follow industry standards. Robust encryption is a must, and cloud computing services that protect data when it is in transit between their servers and yours as well as when it is at rest within the cloud offer the most protection for your business’s sensitive data.

Additionally, it is important to understand the privacy policies of your selected service and to make sure that the provider’s requirements for data format and encryption align with your business’s security policies.

Frequency of backups
You should choose a service that backs up your files to the cloud at a frequency that makes sense for your business’s pace of operations and the types of data to be stored.

Backups could have pre-set options such as monthly, weekly, or daily; alternatively, backup could occur in real time as changes are made. Some cloud backup services allow you to set custom frequencies or schedule backups for particular times.

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