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The Big Question: Local backup or Cloud?

Oleg Mikhalsky | July 3, 2013
Hybrid is your answer

Many would agree that two copies are better than one. But redundancy has its cost, too. And then you have management overheads for two backup destinations and uncertainty of your recovery success rate with tape, disk or cloud. Sounds like a puzzle to solve. The key to efficient backup strategy with guaranteed outcome is to clearly define which goal you meet with each type of backup, and combine the two in the right way. Hybrid is not just about two copies, software vendors or service providers. It's about making a smart - and budget-friendly - decision about your entire backup and recovery plan.

SMBs are increasingly adopting cloud solutions as part of their backup strategies - especially with volumes of data on the rise and economy conditions pushing to cut costs. Online backup will be a top-three service demanded by SMBs in 2013, according to Parallels SMB Cloud Insights report.

Sounds controversial, taking into account frequent concerns about security and reliability of cloud voiced by the majority of early adopters. So what is the reason that businesses decide to trust their backups -  and ultimately their precious data -  to the cloud, despite not being confident of the technology's ability to be fit for purpose? An easy answer is that cloud backup is still better than not having a backup at all - and that is what should soon bring to cloud another 25 percent of SMBs who do not have any disaster recovery plan.

That explains why many startups and pure-play cloud backup vendors are flooding the market with a simple "me-too" cloud backup, anticipating to cash-in on the growing demand. At a glance, they give the SMBs what they want, but is it what a responsible IT manager or business owner would need in order to stay protected and avoid going out of business in the event of a data loss?

Think twice

A forward-looking person would think twice before being tempted by a quick fix and seemingly cheap solution. Startups come and go, and so may your data. And for those who survive, the question is: Can they enhance their technology enough to meet the complete backup and disaster recovery needs that your growing business must have?

Most online backup vendors only offer basic file-level backup, which is just as good as using a free Dropbox account to keep your files in the cloud. Would your investment of time and money in their offering eventually pay off? On the other hand - local backup typically means upfront cost of software and hardware that you may or may not be able to accommodate. But local backup vendors started earlier in the market and have developed more mature technologies, especially when it comes to system-level backup and application recovery.

 

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