A cloud backup system is what you might think of as a “hard drive in the sky”, since it is a remotely located backup server destination. Using cloud storage can give you peace of mind by placing your files off-site and making access easy from any location. Cloud storage options are available from many vendors so comparison shopping is in order. Before you sign on with a cloud backup site, consider these five important points.
1. Storage Space
Some companies are currently offering five gigs for free, while others are offering several hundred gigs for about $5-$10 a month. However, your best bet is in choosing a site that offers unlimited storage. If you want a break on pricing, then determine how much space you will need and order slightly above that amount.
2. Security & Encryption
Practically all cloud providers, such as Mozy or Carbonite state that you can be assured of a secure environment, and presumably so, since many companies will be uploading financial information, while individuals may be uploading financial or other highly personal information.
A smart security option to consider is using companies that encrypt your data on the remote server; which is an excellent way to increase the overall strength of your data security.
3. Universal Operation
One of the most exciting features of new cloud providers is the ability to integrate file systems to multiple platforms. Not only would these documents be accessible from the web, but they would also be accessible through PC or Mac, or perhaps even a mobile unit like the iPhone or an Android system. Some companies offer this universal compatibility instantly, while others may require separate installations of the same application on each unit.
4. Constant Backup
It is ideal to invest in cloud services that either back up all content automatically (meaning as soon as you create it) or that can be programmed to backup content at a certain interval. You are not likely to remember to arrange time for backing up data every day. However, auto backup capabilities will ensure that you never lose any data, and that you are always accessing the most up to date file, regardless of what platform you use.
5. Have a Plan B
While you want to backup remotely whenever possible, it’s always smart to have a Plan B, just in case the cloud site experiences server failure, or you are locked out of your account, or someone hacks the site. It is also ideal to make sure the cloud provider backs up all data in multiple physical locations, perhaps even in multiple countries.