Using off-site storage for disaster recovery is nothing new. However, it is becoming more and more prominent to utilize these services not just for disaster recovery but also to save information in storage. Cloud backup services are becoming more commonplace, yet not many people understand exactly what it is these companies do.

What Are Cloud Backup Services?

The “cloud” as it has become known is one of the most misunderstood components. Essentially, you store files on a different location than what is local. The information resides on a server, very much like what your business may already house. However, this location may not be in the same state or even country in which you currently live. Using the internet, you can access your files instantaneously and download them to your system at any time.

The overall cost and total amount of storage space will vary from vendor to vendor.

What Are Benefits of Cloud Backup Services?

There are several benefits to using a third-party provider to store your information. For starters, there is the knowledge that should your system crash; all your important data is safe. If you are a business, all your essential documents that are important to the running of your company will be safe from a catastrophic event. Personal users do not have to worry about losing precious photographs or other important documents.

In addition to saving important documents, business customers may need the off-site storage in order to meet their disaster recovery requirements. Most companies require that a copy of all information be stored in different location. While some remain in compliance by using removable media such as hard disk and flash drives, using a third party provider will also satisfy these needs.

There is also a cost benefit for corporations. Because you do not have to buy the extra servers or maintain them, your cost for storage is lower. It also frees up your IT department to do other tasks rather than run updates on servers and maintain a bank of stored data. The monthly or yearly cost of using a third-party provider is a fraction of the price to purchase and maintain onsite storage.

What Are Some Disadvantages?

There is always the issue of security when it comes to using cloud backup services. Most people have heard of the NSA scandal and the leaked information from Edward Snowden. Yes, there is a minimal chance that the provider could access your information. Your chances are higher that a hacker or insider will take information from your local drive, as these providers are interested in keeping your information safe and keeping you happy.

Almost all storage companies have extensive security measures in place to keep not only hackers out but their own personnel as well. The use of AES protocols and encryption guarantees that only you can get to the information housed within. Before doing business with any provider you need to understand what their security measures are.

The other leading concern is downtime. All servers eventually need maintenance. Off-site storage utilizes the same servers most companies use. There will be the occasional downtime for maintenance. However, these companies often keep the stored information in more than one location. This way you can still access your files even if one server is down for maintenance.