With more employees working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of small businesses are trying to figure out how to protect the files they’re working on outside the office. Some are stuck between “cloud storage” services and “cloud backup.”

Many confuse the two, however, there are important differences.

Business users are often drawn to cloud storage because it’s convenient, simple to use and occasionally even free. But businesses without managed IT services often learn the hard way that cloud storage does not offer the same protection from accidental and costly disruptions as cloud backup. 

Where cloud storage is the right choice

Great for:

  • Storing files in one centralized location
  • Sharing files with coworkers, clients, and vendors
  • Synchronizing files across devices

Not for:

  • Automatic, comprehensive backup of all computer files
  • Continuous monitoring for changes
  • Private encryption key for security and privacy
  • Uniform policy controls for backup and retention
  • Regulatory support, including HIPAA and PIPEDA compliance

How you can lose data in the cloud

Nearly two thirds of data loss is due to human error:

  • “I forgot to back up a file.”
  • “I deleted the file by mistake.”
  • “I wrote over the file.”

If you’re using cloud storage as a substitute for backup, you can easily lose data through accidental deletion, overwriting or by simply forgetting to upload a file to the cloud. Human error, in fact, is the most common form of data loss.

What “cloud backup” really means

  • Automation – True cloud backup is always managed and doesn’t rely on users to manually drag and drop files or upload them to the cloud. It should wok automatically and in the background, backing up all user files and data, and scanning for changes along the way.
  • Versioning – With cloud backup, earlier versions of files are stored, so even if you overwrite a file, you can still recover it from an earlier backup.
  • Encryption – In most cases, a cloud backup service will encrypt your files before uploading to the cloud and send it through a secure tunnel using advanced encryption technology. Not all cloud storage providers give you this feature, especially ones designed for consumers.
  • Privacy – Different cloud service providers have different policies regarding data privacy, but a trusted backup provider would never compromise customer data privacy, or allow anyone else to do so, for marketing purposes, service enhancement or any other reason. Beware the fine print with free cloud storage providers.
  • Recovery – Cloud backup also enables you to log in to your account and restore data to replacement hardware. So, if you have a local failure, you can recover with minimal interruption.
  • Control – You have much more control over your data when you determine your backup policy, and have it automatically implemented by your backup solution. This greatly reduces the chances of human error compared with an ad hoc, manual process.

The bottom line

The safest, most secure way to protect your business and personal data in the cloud is by using a managed IT service specifically engineered for backup, not storage.

NUMENTIS works with clients to identify weak spots and potential data loss. We work closely with business owners and managers to ensure data protection plans strike a fine balance, minimizing impediment to workflow and security. Call our security specialists to talk about your IT and data protection needs.