cloud backup, data recovery

By Rieva Lesonsky

There’s a dangerous gap between the solutions available to protect small and midsized businesses’ crucial data online and how many businesses are actually using these solutions. Too often, companies rely on complicated, costly and ultimately risky systems for backing up and securing business data, even when simpler, cheaper options exist.

With more and more business being transacted online, keeping your data—and your customers’ data—secure is a crucial concern. What would happen to your business if your computers crashed and you lost access to key data, or your system was hacked and you had to recover or reconstruct information? A new study by Axcient polled small and midsized companies’ IT workers and here’s what they found:

When companies get hit by computer downtime, it has major ramifications for their income. Nearly 80 percent of companies polled say they’ve had a major IT failure within the past two years. However, just 8 percent are confident that if a failure occurred again, they could recover operations within an hour. Nearly one-fourth say it would take more than a day. And frankly, for some small businesses, even a day may sound fast!

What could happen if your business computer systems were down for a day? If it’s a day when a big order was due, when you have a huge client deadline or are making a big presentation, being without your computer or data could mean losing the client. After all, if you can’t keep your systems up and running, how qualified are you to handle their business?

To prevent such disasters, most small businesses in the survey (a whopping 90 percent) use multiple backup tools, often with overlapping functionality. They admit that this is far from ideal—in fact, using multiple backup tools causes problems including wasting money on redundant systems, having to learn how to use all the different tools, dealing with different vendors and spending more time than necessary recovering data.

Some 90 percent of respondents say cloud-based backup and disaster recovery offers a lot of value to their businesses, including being able to recover faster after a disaster (53 percent), spending less time spent on backup tasks (50 percent), being able to access applications and data immediately in the event of a disaster (45 percent), the ability to fully recover (44 percent), and overall cost cutting (36 percent).

But despite their understanding of the value of cloud backup and recovery solutions, only one-third of respondents use them

Moving to the cloud isn’t a panacea, but it definitely offers many advantages, especially for small businesses where every employee wears multiple hats. If disaster strikes, either natural or man-made, wouldn’t it be great if you and your employees still had access to your business data, applications and systems, even from home or outside the office? Wouldn’t it be easier if all your data and applications were constantly being backed up to the cloud so you didn’t have to worry about setting anything, turning anything on or maintaining physical disk drives in a safe place? This can all happen with the cloud—and there are many affordable options out there to suit your needs.

Take some time to investigate the best cloud solution for you. Ask questions including:

  • Costs, both initial and ongoing
  • Security (how does the backup company back up its data?)
  • Customer service (how easy is it to get assistance, either by email, phone or chat?)
  • Ease of use: How simple is the system and how easy is it for employees to learn? The last thing you need in a crisis is a struggle to learn how to restore your data.

Since I started my business six years ago, using cloud backup solutions has saved my bacon many times over. It’s definitely money well spent for the peace of mind it gives.