Should I Be Backing Up to the Cloud?
What is a Cloud Backup?
Cloud backup solutions enable you to store your data and computer files on the Internet using a storage service provider, rather than storing the data locally on a physical disk, such as an external hard drive. Cloud backup may also be called online backup or remote backup.
Files and data can be automatically saved to the cloud backup service on a regular, scheduled basis, or the information can be automatically backed up anytime changes are made (also known as a “cloud sync”). After the initial setup, changes to data you’ve selected, as well as new data added to locations you’ve selected, are all backed up automatically and, with most online backup services, almost instantly.
These regular backups can protect you from the most common forms of data loss, including ransomware, accidental deletions, hardware failures, and natural disasters. Having your data stored in a physically secure, enterprise-grade data center also means that it’s protected from theft.
What are the Advantages of Cloud Backups?
The one clear advantage that online backups have over a local backup is that your data is stored away from your home or office, meaning that your important data is free from local disasters like fires and floods that could impact your external hard drive, optical discs, or other local backup destinations or media.
Another reason to use online backup over local backup is if you want to be able to access your backed up files from online. Not all online backup services let you browse through your files in a web browser or app, but some do. On the other hand, no local backup program is able to support that because none of your files are stored online.
Local backups (such as an external hard drive or flash drive) can be used in addition to cloud backups. If your sole form of a backup is only an external hard drive or flash drive, we recommend that they be replaced every couple of years. They are still mechanical devices and can be damaged or have internal components wear out which can cause data loss.