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29 August 2019

Every business needs to have a plan in place to store their information in a secure, accessible and convenient place. The answer? Cloud storage.

Chances are, you’re already familiar with cloud storage - at least for personal use. But are you aware that cloud storage has its limitations and is not the same as backing up your data?

What exactly is cloud storage?

Cloud storage is when you save your data to a remote offsite database, which is accessible anywhere and at any time you have an internet connection. Instead of saving your data in-house through physical servers or filing systems, cloud storage is the virtual alternative and is managed by a third party like Google, Amazon or Microsoft, and some smaller, lesser known players.

The data is secure in most instances, but the catch is that most cloud providers are quite clear in their terms of licence that they will guarantee protection of data in only certain terms, as shown in the below example from Microsoft. 


Simply put, the access to the data is assured as long as you don't delete it or cancel the licence. You still need to have a way of recovering data if it is lost through user error, hacking, sync issues, or malicious insiders.

And that's where back-up comes in.   

The difference between cloud storage and online back-up

It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking cloud storage and online back-up is one and the same. But there’s an important difference. And simply transferring your information to a cloud service is not the same as backing up that information. 

The vital purpose of cloud storage is to supplement your hard drive; the vital purpose of online backup is to replicate it.

Let’s look at an analogy. Imagine a toddler with a favourite toy collection. If the toys have different purposes and you don’t want to risk losing all of them, you might spread them across locations – a teddy in your home, books in your car, balance bike at their grandparents – this is like cloud storage as you are diversifying your storage locations. But the problem with this strategy is that one of the toys can still be lost. The same applies to cloud storage, as information can be lost, stolen or deleted through human error or malicious intent. For example, you may delete the licence with the cloud provider, or your system may be misused or hacked. 

In contrast, another strategy is to buy several of the most precious toys – you are replicating them so that you can access one again, if one of them gets lost – crisis averted. This is like online back-up. Of course, your business information can be instantly replicated with online back-up services. So, as soon as you have created a file on your hard drive it can be automatically copied online, or, if it is more convenient, you can schedule specific times for back-up. 

Next steps 

As the need for alternative ways to securely back-up and store your data increases, it can be hard to navigate which solution will work best for your business. There can be a lot of technical jargon about and you may not be certain which option is the most effective. And you don’t want to invest in a service that either doesn’t give you enough capabilities, or gives you features that are surplus to your needs.

We can provide you with IT specialists who can assess your information storage and back-up needs and help you find a solution that suits you, your needs and your budget. They’ll also help you implement your cloud service, as well as develop policies and processes around appropriate use for you and your staff.

To discuss which cloud solution is the best for your business, please contact us today.

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