Cloud backup solutions for small businesses are vital to assure your business continuity. Losing data could be disastrous, leading to costly downtime, loss of revenue and reputation, and potentially forcing you to pause operations until you recover from the incident.
No matter what industry you operate in, whether you’re in financial services, ecommerce, or running a marketing agency, your data is your lifeblood and must be protected. From financial data from QuickBooks Online to ecommerce data from your Shopify or BigCommerce store, cloud-based backup solutions for small businesses are an essential tool.
Today, we’re going to talk about cloud backup and the best cloud backup solutions for small businesses—what it is, how they work, the benefits, and how to choose the best cloud backup solution for your business needs.
What is Cloud Backup?
Cloud backup is a method by which businesses and individuals copy and save the data on their devices and computers to a cloud server. Cloud backup is facilitated by a cloud backup solution—software that handles copying, encrypting, and transferring the data to the cloud via an internet connection.
Cloud backup is also known as remote backup or online backup. It’s handled by a third-party software-as-a-service (SaaS), relies on an internet connection, and is stored remotely in the cloud.
If you lose data for any reason, whether through accidental deletion, file corruption, malware, or a computer virus, you can access the cloud backup to restore your systems to a clean state. The restore process is fast and straightforward, helping you get back to business quickly.
What are Cloud Backup Solutions?
Cloud backup solutions are software solutions that manage and facilitate the cloud backup process. Cloud backup solutions, for small businesses especially, are a vital component of the business infrastructure, supporting the stability and reliability of everything you do.
There are many cloud backup solutions for small businesses to choose from. As subscription-based SaaS, these solutions offer many advantages as they are affordable, reliable, scalable, and highly secure. Many small businesses prefer cloud backup solutions because they are easy to deploy and manage and don’t require a high level of IT expertise to run. Some companies use cloud backup solutions as a stand-alone, but most consider them a component of a more holistic disaster recovery plan (DRP).
How do Cloud Backup Solutions Work?
The best backup solution for small businesses will simplify and automate the backup and recovery process. For small business owners, simplicity is a key concern because most don’t have dedicated IT staff on their payroll—nor do many have the time to manage a complex process, which means their data might be at risk.
Once you find the right cloud backup solution and choose a plan, you’ll install it on the devices you want to protect, set your preferences, and you’re all set.
Depending on what business you are in and the amount of data you need to back up, you can choose to have backups run continuously or at set intervals, such as hourly, daily, or weekly. For high-volume ecommerce websites or financial services, it makes more sense to run a continuous backup. But if you do most of your business in person or do not sell goods through your website, perhaps less frequently would make more sense.
When backups run, they make a copy of all your files, images, systems, apps, accounts, and settings. That copy is then encrypted using the latest encryption protocols and sent to your cloud, where it is securely stored until you need to restore it.
Benefits of Using Cloud Backup Solutions for Small Business
Small businesses benefit from cloud backup solutions for many reasons. First and foremost, cloud backups ensure you can restore quickly in the event of data loss. Data loss can happen for many reasons, from accidental deletion to corrupted files, incompatible third-party apps or plug-ins, vandalism, theft, intentional mayhem, or natural disasters like flooding or fire. Having a cloud backup available and ready to restore helps you minimize downtime and ensures your store, website, and web services are available and working as they should.
The best cloud backup solutions for small businesses are cost-effective, customizable, secure, and very user-friendly. Compared to manual backup processes, they are far more efficient, as you won’t have to remember (or forget) to back up. Backups run automatically in the background and do not disrupt workflows or slow down your systems.
As a small business owner, you wear many hats. Automating processes gives you your time back and delivers peace of mind.
How to Choose the Best Cloud Backup Solution for Your Small Business
The most challenging thing about cloud backup solutions is choosing the best one for your needs. There are hundreds of vendors out there, and many offer very similar services. To help you make an informed decision, we’ve compiled a step-by-step checklist to help you compare and choose the best one for you. Each of these points represents a must-have feature.
Strong Security and Privacy, Including Encryption
Since your backup is stored in the cloud on a server you do not control, it’s essential to ensure data security and privacy. Look for cloud backup solutions that encrypt your data both at rest and in transit and protect your data behind a firewall. Robust security protects your cloud backups from unauthorized access and ensures they are available and free of errors when you need them.
Integration With SaaS Applications
Small businesses rely on third-party apps for accounting, productivity, communication, and many other essential business functions. Those apps have their own settings and dependencies, and these need to be backed up as well. Choose a cloud backup solution that integrates with the third-party SaaS apps you use to ensure your apps and all associated data are secured.
Easy-to-Use and Convenient Solution
Small businesses don’t often have IT specialists on payroll, which means the cloud backup solution you choose should be easy to set up, configure, access, and use for you or any of your employees. Look at the workflows for all critical functions—installation, configuration, backup, and restore—and choose a backup solution that simplifies, not complicates, your life.
Frequency and Automation of Backups
The best cloud backup solutions for small businesses enable you to customize and configure your backups. Some might prefer to backup manually, while others need them to run automatically. Businesses that process a lot of data (like online stores, for example) need more frequent backups, while others might be okay with backing up less often. If your needs change, your solution should be able to change with you. Ensure you can modify your backup settings to accommodate shifting needs.
These days, it’s not unusual for companies to experience rapid or sudden scale. Should that happen, you’ll want to ensure your technology has the capacity to grow with you. After all, you don’t want to have to go through this process a second (or third) time. Cloud servers are infinitely scalable, so should you experience a sudden spike, your cloud will accommodate without any additional input on your part.
Good Customer Service and Support
Look for a cloud backup solution that offers best-in-class customer service and support. How do you connect with them if you have a question or a problem? They should offer several different ways to contact them, ideally, 24/7/365. You certainly don’t want to be stuck on something in the middle of the night and have to wait until morning to speak to support. Check what they promise and check out what others are saying about them online before you buy.
Disaster Recovery Procedure
Backups are an essential component of any disaster recovery plan. If you lose your premises or access to your devices, you need to be able to get your systems up and running quickly to avoid costly downtime. The same goes for your cloud backup provider. What would happen if their backup servers went down? Ensure your vendor has its own disaster recovery plan in place as well. Ideally, they will have several copies of your data stored in different data centers. If one goes offline for any reason, backup servers should be online immediately.
Small businesses need to maintain the bottom line, so it’s vital to make sure the cost of your cloud backup solution delivers the features you need at a price that’s within your budget. Look at cloud storage pricing vs. how much data you’re backing up and be sure you understand the cost implications and ensure you’re not paying for a lot of features you won’t use.
Finding the Right Cloud Backup Solution
Every small business has different priorities and needs for its backup solution. The right cloud backup solution for you will tick all the boxes—not just some of them—provides good support, and will grow with you. Security, compliance, availability, and redundancy are must-haves, and you should be able to customize the application to suit your requirements. In other words, don’t settle for less than the whole package.
In conclusion, a cloud-based backup solution is simply smart for small businesses. It protects your vital data so you can focus on what you do best and stop worrying about data disasters. Know your priorities and keep this checklist handy to ensure a sound decision.