Is Cheap Cloud Backup Worth It?
Years ago, there was an ad campaign for premium tires featuring a baby riding around in a tire. The message was that while these tires might be more expensive than the competition, they were better quality – and that it was worth paying more to ensure one’s children rode as safely as possible.
If you’re not a car enthusiast, tires can be easy to overlook – they seem like more of a basic requirement than a cool feature. And if, like most people, you have a limited budget, it can be tempting to just buy the cheapest mostly-round, I-think-it’s-rubber? tires you can find. The problem with this, the tire ads point out, is that buying cheap, low-quality tires can end up compromising the car’s safety, setting you up for a much higher expense – if not tragedy – later on.
Backup, thankfully, does not have lives on the line. When it comes to the buying process, however, backup and tires have a lot in common.
Price is often a sticky subject with cloud backup. Nobody wants to spend a lot of money on something they hope they’ll never use. Much like with tires, it’s tempting to just find the absolute cheapest way to check the box. Three cents per gig? Perfect! No need to check the fine print, all the online backup products are basically the same thing, right?
What to Consider When Considering Backup
The thing is, all online backup products are NOT basically the same. Here’s a few things to consider before going for bargain-bin backup.
What are you getting for your money? This might seem like an odd question – backup, duh! –but it’s actually an important one. ARE you actually getting online backup, or just online storage? These are not the same thing.
Online storage is essentially just an empty box that holds things in the cloud. Obviously, one of the things it can hold is backup – but those backups aren’t going to just magically appear. You’ll have to set up a separate solution to actually make the backups, then transfer them to the storage. This usually means purchasing backup software and configuring it to work with your storage, both of which represent additional expenses and a more complex backup system.
Dedicated online backup, on the other hand, is what it sounds like – an integrated solution that backs up your data and transfers it safely offsite to the cloud. It also tends to cost more than just plain storage.
What does recovery look like? Getting data into the cloud is only half the story. The whole point of backup is to be able to get the data back OUT of the cloud when you need it.
What is the process for recovering your data? Is it as simple as just logging into an interface and selecting the file(s), or is it more complex? If the IT specialist in charge of backup is unavailable, will a nontechnical person be able to manage it? Is there an additional cost to retrieving your data? These are all questions you want answered before committing to a backup/DR solution, and they’re questions you NEED answered before you can develop a realistic DR plan.
Will you have help in a crisis? At some point, every business faces the sort of problem that makes backup necessary in the first place – whether it’s a direct hit from a tornado or a single, indispensable file that someone accidentally overwrites. These are the situations in which having strong support from your backup vendor can make or break your recovery.
If your data recovery hits an unexpected snag, what kind of assistance can you count on? Does your online backup solution’s “24×7 support” take the form of a knowledgeable live person working you through it, or will you have to take your chances with knowledge base and a user forum? If your problem isn’t in the database and the other users aren’t answering, what’s the fallback plan for solving your problem and proceeding with the recovery?
Backup, like tires, isn’t exactly a marquee feature – but it serves a vital role, especially since data is increasingly a corporation’s most valuable asset. Be sure to consider everything that goes into a backup solution’s price before deciding on the cheapest option available – and consider if you won’t end up losing significantly more in a disaster.