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What Do I Need to Know About Cloud Backup Providers?

Today’s businesses rely on their data more heavily than ever before. From important business documents to client information to future plans, it’s all stored on business computers – but those computers can fail.

When your business’s most important data is lost, it’s also unprotected. Protecting sensitive data is one of the most crucial elements of today’s world. Even just a few hours of downtime can substantially impact our lives and your company. That’s why you need to utilize a cloud backup provider, which keeps your data offsite and carefully stored. Cloud backup is quite popular because it offers decreased complexity, lower upfront costs, and a cost-effective pay model.

Here are the questions you need to ask to find the right cloud backup provider for your business.

How much speed, versatility, and overall performance should I expect?

The overall performance of any cloud backup provider is crucial in reducing the total amount of data getting backed up as well as decreasing backup windows. The advances regarding innovative deduplication and data compression, in combination with faster Internet speeds, allow top-tier backup providers to offer businesses lightning-fast restores and backups with no restrictions concerning bandwidth.

But, some low-end backup providers frequently limit upload rates that can slow down backups to almost a crawl. In order to effectively optimize performance as well as costs, it’s critical that the backup provider offers delta blocking (incremental backups) so that just files and some parts of files that are brand new or modified since the previous.

One of the longest-running providers for businesses, Carbonite, is highly skilled at performing speedy backups for businesses of any size. Incremental backups are included, along with extra security features like backups of the data stored with Carbonite on both virtual and physical servers, image and bare metal recovery, and more.

What level of security do I need?

What good will it do to back up your valuable data if all your files are vulnerable to malicious cybercriminals? Essentially, your data is susceptible at both rest and during transit between the cloud and your business. Therefore, you need to encrypt your data once it’s stored and while it’s being uploaded. Most top-tier cloud backup service providers provide ‘end-to-end’ 256 bit data encryption. Most providers will handle your encryption keys on your behalf, which is how most businesses operate.

Backblaze, a popular cloud storage provider for businesses, makes your data’s security extra tight to ensure none of your data can be accessed by hackers or other outsiders. Even the simplest cloud storage options with Backblaze protects business data with a highly secure 128-bit encryption key – and that key is then protected, too, with 2048-bit RSA encryption.

Who exactly is handling my data?

Regulations such as the PCI (Payment Card Industry) standard as well as many others are becoming more and more focused on exactly how third-parties are handling their sensitive data. Will your service provider hinder or help your chances of passing an audit? SOC 2 Type II is the “gold standard” when it comes to cloud backup service provider certification. Backup providers with this high level of certification can illustrate that they meet the optimal regulatory requirements.

What about uptime and availability?

Uptime and availability are key functions of any provider’s investment concerning its data centers. Overall, data centers are primarily rated based on a tier system, a standard method that works to define the availability level that they offer. For instance, the lowest tier (tier 1 data centers) lack superfluous capacity elements (servers and uplink) and can provide over 99 percent availability.

How do cloud backup providers set their prices?

Storage for cloud backup services are usually based on how much data is stored, downloaded, and uploaded, along with the types and number of requests for both restores and backups. The cost of a business cloud backup plan is also affected and determined by the number of devices you’ll be pulling data from and whether or not you’ll be using any additional security features or services.

SOS Online Backup is a highly rated option for businesses, and the price of each individual plan varies based on the number of gigabytes needed for storage. Regardless of the plan or its price, all of SOS’s plan choices come with the same set of security features: centralized data management, unlimited access and support for PCs, Macs, and smartphones and tablets, custom encryption keys, and more, all without additional fees. Look for a similar plan that doesn’t add on expensive features, or charge you for every additional service you’ll need to keep your data safe.

Make sure you ask your potential cloud backup service provider about initial setup costs, costs for each gigabyte of stored data, software and hardware fees, and if there are any additional fee for overages. In addition to securing your data for an affordable price, you’ll want to make sure there are no hidden or surprise costs to get started.

Do cloud backup providers offer any deals?

Once you’ve chosen a cloud backup provider, the next thing that you should do before committing is check whether they offer any deals.

If it’s a good fit, you’ll be a customer for years, so it pays to do some research, and really explore the nitty-gritty details of their pricing structure. Websites like PC Mag, The Wirecutter, and Tom’s Guide are all great places to start when you’re comparison shopping. They all have great teams of experts who specialize in finding great deals and cutting through complicated jargon.

Many cloud backup companies offer deals that are contingent on you committing to a multi-year contract, while some offer free accounts, but those usually have a tiny amount of storage and lots of limitations. If you want to get a good deal by signing up for a multi-year contract, make sure you take their services on a test run first. You’ll also need to check how many devices your account will authorize, and how much it will cost you to add on more devices if you wish to do so at a later date. A lot of companies structure their fees, so they look like a good deal at first, and it’s only later that you realize that adding a second device or more storage will more than double your monthly fees.

For most people, it makes sense to prioritize certain features over others. Companies that offer unlimited storage rarely offer it for an unlimited number of devices, and vice versa. Pick which features are most important to you and look for companies who can cater to your needs.

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