This beginner’s guide on Cloud Backup briefly explains the benefits as well as pitfalls of Cloud Backup solutions, notable cost effective Cloud Backup service providers etc in a simple way.
What Is Cloud Storage?
Cloud Storage is nothing but storage solution for the Internet. Cloud Storage Service Provider will have a cluster of highly scalable servers with simple web services interface that can be used to store and retrieve any amount of data, at any time, from anywhere on the web. In simple terms, Cloud Storage, from an end user perspective is nothing but an unlimited amount of online disk space that is secure, inexpensive, highly available (mostly) to store/backup/restore data from PCs, Laptops and Servers.
Image Source: Zmanda Backup Solution
Who Should Use Cloud Storage?
As mentioned earlier, Cloud Storage is nothing but Online Storage, so to access Cloud Storage, one needs to have high bandwidth internet connection. This requirement may be a problem for those who want to store time critical storage on the cloud. However, data recovery solutions that use cloud storage is viable as you would request for data restore not so frequently. For example, you are photographer and want to backup all of your photo collection. Then it makes perfect sense to have the photos backed up on the cloud. You would have secondary backup of your photos and incase your laptop crashes, you can always get your data restored almost immediately. Depending on the amount of photographic data that is there on the cloud it would take probably a few minutes or few hours. This is not really time critical. So, a Data Backup/Restore solution on Cloud Storage is Cloud Backup solution. Anyone who needs secured, backup on a remote server without much worries on maintaining the infrastructure will have to go for Cloud Storage Backup Solutions.
Data Encryption and Disaster Recovery On Cloud Backup
In Cloud Backup solution, your data resides on an external server outside your home or office, so the data needs to be protected. All of the Cloud backup solutions offer state of the art Data Encryption facility so that your data is compressed and encrypted so that others are unable to use them. Since the data that is backed up is on a remote location, there is a fair amount of disaster recovery is involved. More over, Cloud Storage servers will have data redundancy implemented internally.
Advantages of Cloud Backup Service
- Safe and secured way of backing up data on a remote data storage
- Accessible from anywhere
- Usually cheap with pay as you go model
- Inbuilt disaster recovery facility
- Highly scalable – no cap on storage limit
- Data backup can be automated
- No need to worry about hardware infrastructure to maintain
Disadvantages of Cloud Backup Service
- High Internet bandwidth is needed
- Your data resides on 3rd party Servers, if they close the shop, then you need to worry about your data (If it ever happens, It can be handled easily though)
- Most of the Cloud Backup service providers charge based on data backed up. So, if you have more data, then you will be charged more. However, there are more and more service providers who are giving flat rate plans such as Mozy that charges $5/month for unlimited usage.
It is seen by industry experts that for large enterprise with Large amount of data that frequently changes with limited network connectivity, the traditional on premise data backup solution works out better and cheaper.
Cloud Backup Vendors
There are many such vendors. But the most noted ones that are cost effective are;