5 Things to Consider When Choosing a Cloud Backup Storage Site

doing-business-on-the-cloudThe good news is that cloud storage space is getting cheaper; the bad news is we seem to need more and more of it.

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.

Nothing is foolproof though, as recent hackings have proven. It may disturb you, however, to know that a rare few companies still allow access of all files to their employees, with a strong warning to any employee who violates privacy terms. Others restrict access of employees altogether by making content only viewable to users who know the password. So read the Privacy Policy before choosing.

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.

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