Is Online Backup Best for Small Businesses?

Pretty much every small business owner will tell you they cannot trade without their business information.   Paradoxically, a significant number of small companies still do not regularly check their data backup operations, according to a 2012 survey by Backup My Info (BUMI).

 

“As soon as your business starts storing client information, you have a responsibility to protect that information,” stated Jennifer Walzer, the founder and CEO of BUMI. “Because the chance that your computers [or servers] are going to fail is 100 percent guaranteed. It’s just a matter of when. And when that happens, the question is, are you going to be prepared?”

 

If you don’t have an IT staff, or even a full-time IT person who is knowledgeable about data backup and recovery, and are not that tech savvy yourself, the easiest most cost-effective solution (in terms of total cost) may be to just use an online or cloud-based backup solution.

 

When evaluating the best data backup services looking at this six point checklist might just help you select the service that is right for your business:

 

Data audit

The first step in developing a comprehensive data backup system for your business is to decide which information you need to secure. For example, meeting compliance may well be a mandatory requirement for your business but protecting intellectual property should be considered too.  Do you need to backup key applications and data on mobile devices as well?  Conducting a data audit will help you determine which data needs backing-up.

 

Backup options are onsite, online, or both?

For many businesses using legacy backup systems like tape drives, CD/DVDs and even USB sticks is adequate. However, many businesses don’t think about the security of these physical devices. Data storage devices can certainly be used, but your business should consider storing these devices off-site or investing in a safe that can withstand fire and water damage where your data storage devices can be kept should disaster strike.

In recent years many businesses have moved from physical backup devices to using online cloud backup solutions which will allow you to transfer the burden of security, reliability and storage to the professionals.

 

Storage

The best services for online business data backup provide lots of option for business owners when it comes to storage capacity plans. Some have incremental tariffs depending on how much capacity you need, while others offer unlimited capacity. You pay a monthly service fee for the type of storage you select.

 

Features

Features as automatic backup and the ability to resume a backup after an interruption are valuable services. Look for a provider that offers data archiving, incremental and selective backup services. File versioning that records each time you save a file might also be a useful tool.

 

Availability

Anywhere, anytime access is vital today in business. Having an online account and a mobile app that you can use to access your files remotely can make a huge difference in keeping your company operating even when you’re away from your desk. The best online business data backup services will let you run your business from anywhere with almost any internet-connected device.

 

Security

Since you have sensitive business and even personal information in your business records, your data needs to be protected with high levels of encryption. The information must be secure while it is being transferred as well as in storage. You also will get more peace of mind about your business information if the service stores data on more than one server, so look for a service with multiple server locations.

 

Help & Support

Whether you run into a natural disaster or simply a problem in accessing information, it helps to have strong help and support from the data backup service you choose. Most small businesses cannot afford their own IT employees, so comprehensive help from a data backup firm is essential. Basic help, such as email support and frequently asked questions, come in handy. Some services provide assistance 24/7, which can be crucial for many small businesses. The more help you get from your data backup service, the easier it will be to handle any crisis.

 

image by FutUndBeidl