There are MANY cloud backup solutions on the market today. It has become very difficult to know which is the right one for your needs; everyone is claiming they are the best, the easiest, the fastest, etc. After 10 years of experience in the field and hundreds of thousands of hours spent on global analytical research I have put together a list of the most important factors to consider before choosing a solution:
- In any business time is money. A key feature in a backup solution is simplicity when it comes to deployment and installation; zero hassle, zero employee intervention, zero headache. The installation should be seamless and take up little-to-no time to complete. Everything should be handled on a central, remote location on the cloud without the need to install anything on individual machines or on a complex local server.
- Configuration should be done completely in the cloud throughout the entire company; there should’nt be a need to manually configure each machine with regards to the backup settings and what data will be backed up. A solution that requires manually setting up a backup policy/job configuration should not even be a consideration.
- Why stress over using separate software to handle images of your hard disk stored on local locations when you can find a cloud backup solution that handles all of that for you? Using a cloud backup solution that supports complete DR will remove the hassle of worrying about local storage, servers, purchasing hard disks, etc.
For example: If you are away on a business trip and your Windows somehow gets corrupted you can easily repair your entire system from the cloud. With today’s high-speed internet it will only take a couple of hours to get back up and running with all of your data, applications and settings intact.
*Make sure that DR comes with “true” deduplication technology. If the Disaster Recovery is not deduped it will not be useful (Deduplication refers to backing up only one instance of a particular file throughout the world and using pointers to acknowledge who can access this file. This can be done on common files, such as Windows files to save both time and space)
- A true cloud solution is mandatory! Most cloud backup solutions use proprietary storage, backing up to their own personal servers. A true cloud solution means that your data will be stored in well known, first class storage facilities that duplicate your data throughout their global network of locations. Using a proprietary storage location has a great deal of risk since they are not as secure or reliable. In 2009 Carbonite lost the data of their customers due to proprietary storage failures. True cloud locations like Amazon, Nirvanix, etc. also have a risk but their risk is much smaller and backed with a guarantee to help protect you from such instances.
- Block Level Backup, otherwise known as Delta Backup, is crucial. Block Level Backup breaks up larger files, that are changed often, into smaller pieces and only backs up pieces that have been modified. For example: Outlook stores all emails in one large .PST file, without block level backup your Cloud solution would backup this large file (around 1 GB) each time you receive an email which will tie up your business’ bandwidth and is not very practical. Block level will allow you to only back up the modified sections of the file saving both time and space.
- Security is obviously extremely important to all businesses. A backup solution is handling important data and time and effort should be made to make sure that it is secure. The key things to look out for is that the backup will be encrypted using AES-256 or higher, your backup is encrypted at the source and that you are given the ability to authorize personal encryption for key people in the company, such as the CEO.
- One of the major benefits with leveraging the cloud is the ability to access your data at all times. Your backup solution should provide the same convenience. You should be able to access your backed up data through a web interface and/or your mobile device. By access this means the ability to restore, view, share and maybe even edit.
- Speed!!! Backing up an entire computer, let alone a company, can be extremely time consuming. There are different technologies that help speed up the process; make sure the solution you choose uses these technologies. Most cloud solutions on the market are extremely slow and give little to no options when it comes to throttling the bandwidth. A backup solution that is slow negates all other fancy features that it may contain.
- Strong management consoles are often overlooked. A powerful web console can make or break a backup solution. The management section should allow you to completely control your entire company’s backup; You should be able to view reports and monitor activity, edit, add and suspend users, create/edit backup policies, control security, etc. all directly from the cloud. Many backup solutions on the market claim to have such management functionality, but at the end of the day all it does is handle the billing, which is important but not the only important thing.
- There is no point in backing up if you cannot restore. The backup solution you choose should come with a variety of restore options. Backup has come a long way from single file restore, emailing compressed files, or requesting a CD with the restored data to be shipped which can take a lot of time. In this fast paced day and age, time is of the essence, so restoring a file should be done in seconds. There should be several restore options, such as file restore, folder restore, drag and drop restore, restoring deleted files, restore from an older version, and complete Disaster Recovery restore. These options should also be available in remote locations such as from a web interface or a mobile device.
- Data is critical and losing your data can be detrimental! Make sure the backup solution you choose gives you the ability to restore your entire machine easily and quickly incase anything were to happen to your data. You should have the option to restore data to its original location and even restore Windows files if needed.
- Cost!!! As a business owner the last thing you need to worry about is another bill. Payment should be straightforward, one flat fee and without surprise charges.
- Features and bells and whistles are great but if it affects your computer’s performance it is going to slow productivity. You should not be able to feel the impact of a backup solution and it should never interrupt your work. To have different performance modes, such as battery mode or presentation mode, are key. For example: If you are presenting a PowerPoint to an important customer you should not have to feel a hang because a backup has started. The solution should intelligently notice that you are running a presentation and slow down the backup so that it goes unnoticed.
- Finally, as a business, you need something that is simple to setup, worry free, and requires little to no learning curve. A set-it-and-forget-it type of solution is ideal.
We here at Genie9 have spent years working on creating a cloud backup solution to change the way business-wide backup is done. We are proud to say that Timeline Cloud addresses all of the above requirements. Our main goal was to create a real cloud backup solution for Windows that goes above and beyond just sending a copy of your data to the cloud and referring to it as a backup. You can now try Timeline Cloud for FREE.