The cloud – whether you believe it’s a very good thing or severely over-hyped, you can’t deny that it can be a life saver for businesses looking to make sure they have a good disaster preparedness program in place. You’re probably already taking local backups of your data, but as we all know, backups can fail, sometimes spectacularly. If you’re backing up from one on-site location to another and your whole building goes up in flames, your business might never recover from the blow. That’s where cloud-based backup comes in to offer some additional protection. So why are some businesses choosing to move away from the cloud and back to their own servers?
One major reason is the cost of cloud storage for your business data. Sure, storage is cheap and scalable, but what happens if you move beyond the point when it makes financial sense? When you start up a business and want to pay only for the services and storage you are using, you can’t beat cloud-based storage for value for money. The problem comes when you outgrow the need for that kind of flexibility. As Cade Metz points out on Wired, many startups find that when they move from the bootstrapping stage to becoming more established with a confirmed user base, the cloud can actually be – gasp – more costly than having their own servers. And that just doesn’t make sense. That’s why some businesses are making the move in the other direction – out of the ether and back onto their own server network which can work out to be much cheaper. If your business has reached the point where it has a stable user base and where cloud storage is no longer cost effective, maybe it’s time to move. Of course, considering the costs of downtime and lost data, using cloud services for redundancy in your backup and disaster recovery plan is always cost effective.
When companies move to the cloud, they put all of their business data in someone else’s hands, which might make some businesses wary. Cloud storage companies are like any other companies – they can fail, taking your backed up data with them. That’s one disaster you might find it hard to prepare for, unless you store your backups with multiple providers or those who can assure you that they have robust processes in place to protect your data. Even then, you might face the issue of data portability and compatibility, as Miguel Leiva-Gomez points out. If you want to shift from one cloud-based backup provider to another, what guarantee do you have that the move will be easy? None at all. So if your business needs to keep its data portable, then it’s time to think carefully about which providers you use.
Of course, a move out of the cloud can put businesses back in the situation they were trying to avoid – being tied to a single physical location for data storage. So what’s the answer? Whether you are moving away from the cloud or are still using it, redundant backups rule – and don’t forget to test them!