What is cloud backup?

'Cloud' has been a buzz word floating around IT people for many years now, the term has become mainstream over the last five years but we still meet many who are still unsure as to what 'the cloud' is and whether they should trust their data to it.
 
"Should I use the cloud" is a question that we get asked regularly by our data recovery clients.  Well, before we look at whether it is a wise idea to store data in the cloud, we need to all be on the same page as to what the cloud is.
 

What is the cloud?

The cloud is not really a single thing, it is a collection of things, all of these things are sewn together by their connection to the internet. The simplest way of looking at it is that the cloud consists of all manner of computers, normally in far away places which meet the following criteria:
 
They are connected to the internet
They serve a purpose, such as being a service
They can be accessed by people
 
There are far more technical and comprehensive guides as to what the cloud is and what it can do however, for the purposes of looking at cloud backup, the above should be sufficient.
 

What is cloud backup? 

Basically, it is having a copy of your data saved online. 
 
To be a little more in depth, Cloud Backup is backup that is available (usually sold) as a service. You put your data in a certain place on your computer, or you open a software package, tell the service what you want to backup. The data then gets backed up behind the scenes, whenever you are connected to the internet. Cloud backup tends to follow the ‘set and forget’ mantra, you initially define what should be backed up and then it happens continuously in the background.
 

Should I use the cloud to backup my data?

This is down to personal preference however, the way in which most services work makes them easy to implement, robust and relatively inexpensive. By placing your data with a well known and trusted cloud backup provider, you get the peace of mind that comes with knowing that whatever happens with your computer or connected devices you will always be able to reconnect to your cloud storage and access your data.
 

Cloud Pros:

·      Local backup solutions do not protect against fire, theft, water or electrical damage (if they are all stored in the same place), the cloud will not be affected by local problems.
·      The security of your data is handled by professionals.
·      The backing up and protection of your data is also taken care of by specialists who’s sole purpose is to ensure that nothing gets lost.
·      Modern solutions are relatively inexpensive
 

Cloud backup cons:

·      Practicality depends upon your internet speed
·      Large file sizes can take a long time to upload to the cloud
·      You must understand how the service works to properly understand the risks if you accidentally delete or overwrite your files locally (some services include version history – it is wise to check)
·      It normally costs money on a continual monthly or annual basis
 
Different types of cloud backup…
 
It is beyond the scope of this article to compare the different cloud backup methods but there are many to choose from and the internet is awash with information and comparisons.  We suggest, now that you know a little more, that you investigate some yourself and see what suits your needs best.
 
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