Best business practices used to include everything from what not to wear to a big conference to how to be a good cubicle neighbor in the office. Increasingly though, best practices have turned to informing, warning and giving tips on avoid technology failures that might spell disaster for your next big project, or set your whole team back weeks or even years of work if something goes wrong.
There are a lot of reasons why technology fails us; power surges, malfunctions, less than precise workmanship or maintenance and random happenstance all seem to play their own unique hand in causing those last minute heart-attacks at the office. More and more, people are focusing on how to avoid those potential fiascoes in favor of utilizing alternate methods or solutions that are meant to bypass the possibility of losing work and time and peace of mind.
That’s where the cloud comes in.
Archive Versus Backup: What’s More Secure?
If you work in the IT or technical support department, you’ve already heard it, but if you’re working in an office you probably have even said it; you know, “I backed up my work”. But a common misnomer about what backing up work actually means has caused more than one person a moment of grief when what they thought of as their backup fails and it just happens to also be their only copy.
A backup is a copy of the file you’re working on. In order to be true backup, you need to have more than one copy of your information, stored in more than one location. This is because storage locations fail, unfortunately and having the same file in multiple locations drastically reduces the chance that all different locations will become inaccessible either temporarily or permanently, right when you need them the most.
If you save your file anywhere and continue to work off of it without creating a second copy, what you actually have is an archive. An archive is less secure and a less safe business practice because if something happens to your file (such as it becomes corrupted) or the hardware it’s stored on, you’ve lost all the work, no matter how precious it might have been.
Backup Or Archive To The Cloud?
While the preference will always be to backup your information over archiving it, there are scenarios where this isn’t easy or convenient and sometimes not even possible at all. Its in those scenarios that the cloud can truly work for you, however. Cloud based storage solutions were designed with the idea that they could replace hardware storage solutions and during development, a host of things were taken into consideration. It’s nice to think that someone developing this industry-changing technology might have considered the backup versus archive conundrum and tried to address some of those inherent lapses in security.
Cloud storage is full of backups and one feature that makes them more secure than traditional hard drives, at least in terms of failures and data recovery, is that your data is simultaneously stored in many locations at once. Cloud storage solutions for businesses build in these sort of redundant backups in order to address concerns about loss of information. Services designed specifically for business use, whether by small or large businesses, often include automatic backups of your stored information in alternate locations.
Features to Look For
Beyond automatic, multi-location backups, there are a number of others things you need to look at when comparing services for cloud storage. The number one consideration will always be how much space and at what cost, but here are two other things to keep in mind.
Most cloud storage offers some level of security but what exactly and at what level of encryption could be the difference between a successful rollout or a leak months before you’re ready. If your information is priority, considering looking for a service that offers custom encryption or encrypts your information multiple times to keep it doubly safe.
2. Ease of Access
Most cloud storage companies today offer mobile and browser based applications for accessing your files on the cloud. This has become an industry standard, but business storage options tend to take this one step forward. Not only do they want your information to be easy to access, but they want to offer you customized access settings so you can control which members of your teams can view files, access them, share or edit their content and move them around your storage structures.
In The End?
Whether you choose to go with an archive or a backup won’t change whether cloud storage is right for your company, but it may influence the priority level of things like encryptions and data recovery options. The best cloud storage companies will be able to offer options to address those kinds of business-impacting scenarios or will be able to develop a protocol for your company that works for you. You can compare cloud storage solutions at Cloud Kompare to see how these cloud providers are working to have the most diverse offerings so that they can address your needs instantly. In the end, your data is only as reliable as the place you store it.