Disasters come in many forms, from uncontrollable wildfires to ransomware attacks like the one that recently shut down Baltimore County public schools in Maryland. Although the physical impacts of these disasters may differ, one thing they all have in common is that if you don’t have a disaster recovery plan in place that includes a solid cloud backup strategy, bouncing back is going to be painful, expensive, and maybe even impossible.
Investing in an enterprise cloud backup solution may initially seem daunting, but the benefits far outweigh the time and effort required to research and implement cloud backup. By stepping back and approaching the process methodically and pragmatically, you will ensure your organization ends up with the right platform for your needs and there are no surprises waiting when the ink dries.
Here are the five main factors to consider as you start your search for the ideal cloud backup solution.
1. What Type of Cloud Backup Solution You Are Looking For
There are a lot of reasons to store data in the cloud, and it’s important to identify your “whys” early in the process. When you narrow down your needs—such as storage, backup, disaster recovery, archiving, or collaboration solutions—you will save time and money by hitting on the right tool the first time.
For example, cloud storage and cloud backup may sound synonymous, but they are very different animals. If you are just looking for a central repository to house files and shareable data, cloud storage is sufficient. However, if you need somewhere to copy all of your system and application data where it is highly secure and can be used to restore company data after an unexpected outage or security event, cloud backup is the right choice.
2. What Security the Cloud Backup Solution Offers to Protect Your Data
Security is one of the most important considerations when selecting a cloud backup solution. There is a wide variation in the level of security different vendors provide, so due diligence is a must.
At a minimum, be sure the solution includes virus/malware protection, data encryption, and security keys. Because cloud data is accessible to anyone with the right credentials, look for additional capabilities, such as multi-factor authentication and the ability to quickly disable login if you suspect the account has been compromised.
If your organization falls under a highly regulated industry, be sure the cloud backup security features meet your compliance requirements and that you are able to customize what data can and can’t be backed up to the cloud.
3. Whether the Cloud Backup Solution Fits Your Needs
Although a cloud backup solution may look outstanding on paper, it’s useless if it doesn’t actually do what you need it to do. Just like you wouldn’t buy a car without taking it for a test drive, you need to check under the hood before you commit to a cloud backup solution.
Some key areas to focus on are how difficult and time-consuming it is to restore data, how long it takes to complete a backup, whether your must-have security options will break the budget, and how scalability impacts affordability.
Be sure to also research the solution provider’s track record and reputation. If the only place you can find testimonials is the company website, consider that a red flag.
4. How Much Responsibility Is on Your Shoulders
Before you sign on the dotted line, be sure you understand who is in charge of what. Many cloud service providers use a shared responsibility model, but what this means can vary widely from vendor to vendor.
For example, the cloud backup provider may ensure the security of their data centers and their applications, but you are in charge of updating and patching your operating systems, configuring your network and firewall, and training staff on security awareness.
5. What Is Included in the Cost
Don’t forget to read the fine print before committing to a cloud backup solution. It’s crucial to know exactly what you are getting for your money. Review the details of the agreement so you understand what is included in the cost.
Look closely at the security and privacy features to ensure they meet your requirements, confirm up-front costs, check for additional fees, and find out whether you will be responsible for any other software or tools not provided by the vendor. Additionally, read the terms of service and licensing agreements carefully so there are no surprises later, such as limited bandwidth or caps on storage space.
In today’s uncertain business environment, moving data backup to the cloud is a smart choice. The cloud offers a high level of security, flexibility, and scalability, which is crucial as we navigate increased cyberthreats, accelerated digital transformation, and a massive shift toward remote workplaces.
Due diligence is key when selecting a cloud backup solution. The tips above provide a starting point for researching and vetting a solution that meets your organization’s specific needs. To learn more about how cloud backup can protect your business-critical data in a crisis, download How to Build a Disaster Recovery Plan.
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