In past articles, we have mentioned the importance of backing up your data both for peace of mind and security. This post is about one of the most common ways to accomplish a backup – use a “cloud” service.

Not sure what that would mean to your business? Cloud storage is a service where data is kept, managed, and remotely backed up. In days past, the norm for data backup was to copy it to a tape, disc or thumb drive. As computers have improved, however, the data transmitted has outgrown those methods in many cases.

Like most things in life, there are advantages and disadvantages to using a cloud and some will depend on what cloud you choose. Here is a brief comparison of the pros and cons of using a “cloud” service for backup.

Backing up your data to cloud storage can save you money. If you are running a small to medium-size business, you can quite possibly store your information on a cloud at no cost. If your business expands, you can increase the size of your cloud paying only for the amount of storage you require.Depending on your business, there may be regulations regarding how and where you store your data. That is particularly true if your work is in health care, government, or the finance industry. If, on the other hand, your business is involved in marketing or other creative fields, industry compliance will probably not be a concern.
Onsite data center storage appliances can be expensive and at some point, they will become obsolete and need to be replaced. If you migrate your data to a cloud, the onus of staying current is placed on the cloud owner. Think about companies like Google or Microsoft and the amount they can invest in research and development. They can provide more robust features, services, and security than a single organization can provide for itself.You have spent time and money securing the data you keep on your local machines. By migrating that data to a cloud, you expose customer information if it experiences a large-scale data breach.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce ( warns that “hackers are always looking for an easy target, and businesses with all their data stored in one convenient location — the cloud — are at risk.”

Your information can be accessed from anywhere. If you have access to the internet you have access to your data. Your employees can connect using their laptops, tablets or smart phones from virtually anywhere.If your internet service crashes, or if the cloud service provider loses connection, you no longer have access to your data.

Another concern that is mentioned frequently is that performance can be affected if data is in a cloud. When your data is in one location, say on a server in your office, it is easier to manage and access than if it is scattered across states or multiple clouds.

One additional thing to consider is that downloading and subsequently uploading data uses up resources that can cause your internet speeds to decrease and your frustration level to increase. The flip side is that David Friend, cloud storage vendor CEO, has estimated that around 80% of enterprise storage is still on-premises, but he predicts that within 10 years, most data will be in the public cloud.

When first considering moving your data to a cloud, it seems like an easy decision to make. However, it takes some serious consideration. Take the time to weigh out the pros and cons of making such a move. If you need assistance in deciding whether it would be the right move, give us a call.