Cloud computing seems to be THE buzzword of 2012, and in particular the idea of Cloud storage as a backup medium. As marketing is increasingly all about data and the intelligent use of that data to make decisions, it seems like an appropriate time to have a closer look at the phenomenon of cloud backup. Whether it is email/contact lists/database files or website files, if disaster strikes and your file server goes down, the cost of losing all that data does not bear thinking about. But does cloud backup offer a real solution? On the face of it, it does:
- It is simple to use
- It is secure (assuming you select a professional service provider)
- Backups are automatic and done in the background
- It is becoming very cheap (for example JustCloud now offer unlimited capacity for under £5 a month)
But is it practical? I think this is the big question and one which could be a deal breaker for some people. If you consider a data backup requirement of 30GB (not out of the ordinary, I am sure), even on the fastest broadband connections, this is going to take days to transfer onto the backup servers. OK, once the initial back up is done, day to day backups will be fine as they are only uploading files changed that day to the servers, but the real problem comes if trouble strikes. If you accidentally delete a file or two and need to recover copies from your backup, getting these files from your cloud server should be quick and easy, but what if your hard drive fails, or your computer is lost or stolen? Now you will need to restore all your data from backups. To retrieve the entire 30GB of backup, is again going to take days to transfer so it could be days before you are up and running again. Compare this to the couple of hours it may take to restore a local back up and you can see the problem! Although I am certain that cloud backup has a rosy future, and for the backup of relatively small amounts of critical data, or for archive storage where you are not likely to need to retrieve the entire archive at once then it may be a great solution. For backup of large amounts of data that is used on a day to day basis, then I think local backup systems still have an important role. Nevertheless, local backups should still allow you to keep your backed up data away from your PC. A backup on an external hard drive that gets stolen along with the PC is not much help! It could be that a combination of local and cloud backup might fit the bill?