Most business leaders are already fully aware of the importance of having a reliable, off-site backup and disaster recovery system. However, choosing the right service is a major decision that should never be taken lightly. What every organization needs is a solution that offers enterprise-grade security and a clear disaster recovery process they can turn to if things go wrong.
Not all cloud backup solutions are made equal. That’s why it’s imperative that you do your homework first to find a provider that will be able to match the technology to the unique goals and conditions of your business. Here are some of the most important things to look out for when researching potential vendors.
#1. Storage Capacity
Data storage capacities are increasing all the time, but then so is the vast amount of digital data that modern companies need to store and process. As such, demand is rapidly increasing, and you also need to think about your future requirements. While 40% of organizations are content with backup storage capacities of under 10 TB, you will need to make sure you have enough for multiple backups rather than just the most recent one.
Of course, it’s practically impossible to determine exactly how much storage you will need in the future, and it’s just a waste of money to pay for more than you need. For this reason, any cloud backup solution should be fully scalable, thereby allowing you to scale back and forth as your needs demand. Some cloud providers offer unlimited storage, but it’s usually better to go for a flexible service that lets you purchase more storage space and bandwidth when you need it.
#3. Service Uptime
The whole point of moving backup and disaster recovery operations to the cloud is to enjoy unlimited accessibility and service uptime. Cloud providers measure uptime by tiers, which are defined by varying uptime percentages. For example, the highest tier guarantees an annual uptime of 99.995% and operates around a fully redundant set of storage systems to guard against unplanned activities like power outages. Lower tiers, however, are also worth considering, depending on your needs and budget.
#4. Data Synchronization
Chances are, your company works with increasingly large data sets every day, and that data is always getting modified. That’s why manual backups have become impractical in the modern workplace. A good cloud backup provider should negate the necessity for manual backups by providing fully automated data synchronization. However, backup practices vary enormously between different vendors, so you must make sure you choose one that can offer the fixed backup frequencies you need.
#5. Security & Compliance
Many business leaders are hesitant about handing over their data to a third party. However, a reputable vendor should have all the necessary compliance and security measures in place to ensure your data is kept safe. By contrast, implementing such an infrastructure in-house is often prohibitively expensive, and requires ongoing maintenance from expensive contractors. You’ll need to ensure that your vendor is compliant with regulations facing your industry.
#6. Disaster Recovery
There are two extremely important metrics that govern the effectiveness of any cloud backup and disaster recovery strategy: recovery time objective (RTO) and recovery point objective (RPO). These metrics refer to the maximum amount of time it should take to restore your backups and the amount of data you can afford to lose, respectively. Before choosing a cloud backup provider, you’ll need to determine the optimal RTO and RPO values and ensure your provider can live up to them.
#7. Pricing Structure
Cloud backup pricing is usually fairly straightforward, but there are still two extremely important variables to take into account – bandwidth costs and storage costs, both of which are priced by gigabyte or terabyte. Although it doesn’t usually cost anything to upload data to the cloud, many services charge you to download (recover) your data. Other providers may set a monthly download limit whereby your connection speed is throttled back once you exceed the limit. This can greatly increase recovery times.