I recently wrote about why backups are vital for everyone in business, and followed up with a story on the importance of local backups. Ideally, you should backup to a local drive like clockwork. Should your computer abruptly keel over, you’ll be secure in the knowledge that your files are all safe, and can subsequently be recovered to a new drive or machine.
The problem is local backups do not account for every, eventuality. What happens if your computer equipment is all stolen, lost, or damaged beyond repair in a fire or flood? You might assume none of these things are likely, but that won’t be much comfort should one of them, without warning, happen to you. Having only that local backup won’t make any difference if your external drive disappears along with your computer.
This is why a fully robust business backup strategy also requires you to incorporate online backups to protect your data – multiple backups are better than one.
The Benefits of Online Backups
Beyond the obvious – ensuring you always have at least one backup that exists somewhere disaster cannot reach – there are other good reasons to consider also using online backup services.
First and foremost, once the backup is set-up, you can forget about it; you can let the service automate securing your files. As long as you have Internet connectivity, backups will continue to happen. And because online backup services upload files on an incremental basis, ongoing backups are swift, to the point you won’t notice they are happening.
Major players in this space also go beyond a big button marked start, for those who want to do a bit of fine-tuning. If you often find yourself with limited bandwidth, you can opt to schedule backups rather than having them happen throughout the day. Alternatively, you can throttle the bandwidth your backup commands, ensuring you always have headroom for online services that are vital to your business.
Exclude and Recover Files from Online Backups
Note: it’s not necessary to backup your local backups to a remote service; instead, these features are designed to protect and secure the likes of photo libraries and other media kept solely on external drives, rather than on your computer.
Online backup services also tend to allow you to recover individual files, rather than forcing you to download an entire backup. So if you’re away from your computer, you may nonetheless be able to quickly get at a document using a mobile app or web browser. Furthermore, versioning – when offered – potentially provides the means to access an earlier version of a file should you accidentally overwrite it and have no other means of recovery.
Online Backups with Backblaze
You can find all manner of remote/online backup service comparisons, but Backblaze offers a solid balance of performance, feature-set and pricing. After the initial 15-day free trial, it’ll set you back $6/month or $60/year per computer. A Business Groups option enables multiple-employee companies to centralize administration and payments, if they wish.
There are no limits to the sizes of files you can upload, nor how much data. Versioning of documents is stored for 30 days, and the service has software native to macOS and Windows. That last point is important, because it means your computer’s performance is rarely – if ever – adversely affected by the backups; in my experience, that’s not the case with some rivals, which use sluggish and power-hungry Java clients.
One other useful aspect of Backblaze is that, although you can restore data online, the company will optionally ship files to you on a Flash Drive (up to 128GB, for $99) or a USB hard drive (up to 4TB, for $189). You can return the hardware within 30 days for a refund on the initial restore costs. (Note: outside of the United States, you are liable for import duties, and so be mindful of that.)
Don’t delay – start backing up now
Of course, Backblaze isn’t the only option out there, and you may feel an alternative is the right choice for you. My advice is to quickly select one, and start your online backup today. These backups can take quite a while to complete, unless you have super-fast Internet connectivity; but, from a business standpoint, they can be a lifesaver should things go very wrong for your hardware.
For the sake of a few bucks per month, and well under an hour setting things up, starting an online backup should be one of the easiest decisions any entrepreneur has to make.
What online backup service does your company utilize for data security? Does your business incorporate multiple backups as part of its backup plan? Tell us in a comment below!