Six things to keep in mind when shopping for a cloud backup solution
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When you’re looking for a cloud backup solution for your business, you’re not just thinking about storing a few files in a remote location. You’re planning your disaster recovery strategy. You want a reliable tool that will store your business data and help you recover it when you need it. The thing is, your data is spread over different types of computers, devices and applications, which makes your strategy more complicated. There are a few things you should keep in mind.
You want a cloud backup solution that can protect local machines
The term ‘local machine’ goes beyond the simple desktop. You’re using computers for all your daily tasks and they’re essential for your business. For example, they host your:
- Services to manage your network at the office (like DHCP, Wi-Fi, router)
- Local domain services (like Active Directory, DNS)
- Print services (sharing multifunctional printers in the company)
- Physical access control system (surveillance cameras, cards or biometrics to enter company buildings)
- System management for food and beverage machines
And the list goes on. Every single downtime on these services can damage your company’s productivity. A cloud backup solution for business that helps you do a full backup of the operating system and your computer applications will ensure that you can always get back on your feet.
You want a cloud backup solution that can protect your servers
Your servers can be hardware servers or virtual machines (VMware, Hyper-V, etc.). They can run any Linux distribution or Windows, as the operating system. The most important thing is the service they are hosting:
- Public web site
- eCommerce application
- Accounting platform
- Email system
- Customer relationship management
Your servers could be on-premises or in the cloud, it doesn’t matter. When you’re looking for a cloud backup solution for business, you want to recover quickly if something goes wrong, like a user error or a ransomware attack.
You want a cloud backup solution that can protect your databases and applications
A modern IT application will be made up of different functionalities. It’s often a 3-tier design with a:
- Presentation interface (the client software or web page with interactive windows)
- Business logic (a server that receives and processes requests, and pulls the right data)
- Database and programming (the data and its management system)
For example, with your Outlook client software, you write emails that the SMTP email server will send, and those emails will be stored in a mailbox database so you can read them later or forward them to someone else.
Your cloud backup solution for business should be able to handle this complexity as well as its constraints. For example, it should know how to handle files that are ‘open,’ meaning being read or written by the system. It should allow you to back up all the tiers and restore them in the right sequence, so they can run together again after an incident.
You want a cloud backup solution that can protect all the diversity of end-user devices
Gone are the days when employees were only using desktops or laptops at the office.
- Today’s users are also accessing and processing business data from smartphones and tablets
- They’re working from public or home networks
- They’re using their personal devices for work
- Business data is cohabiting with personal files
Every IT administrator wants to make sure the data on these devices is protected. Your cloud backup solution for business needs to back up as much data as possible from mobile devices.
You want a cloud backup solution that offers centralised management and cloud-to-cloud capabilities
IT administrators are sometimes forced to switch from one product to another to do their backup tasks. This is because some vendors will only offer backup for specific scenarios. However, a few vendors will cover them all, so you can orchestrate your backup strategy from a single console.
A cloud backup that offers a centralized management tool will help businesses:
- Organize the backups based on the type of device or application
- Prepare different schedules to run the backup tasks
- Delegate backup management activities to other people
- Manage backups for different domains
- Restore data remotely on a device or computer
Being able to back up local machines, virtual machines, cloud servers, applications, databases and mobile devices from a single interface is the IT person’s dream.
You don’t want a file sync and share solution
Many vendors will present their file sync and share solution as a cloud backup solution for business. We both know that it’s not.
A file sync and share solution will only help you:
- Share files between different users
- Have multiple users edit the same version of a file in real time
- Get the latest edited version of a file synced on multiple devices
A file sync and share solution works well for documents, spreadsheets, slide decks and multimedia. It won’t work for backing up servers, workstations, databases and emails.
In other words, you can’t just use DropBox, Google Drive, OneDrive or similar platforms as a cloud backup solution for your business.
We’ve told you what to keep in mind when you’re shopping for your cloud backup solution for business. Remember, the success of your disaster recovery strategy depends on the solution you choose.
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