GEEKNOTE: I’m often asked by customers if they should do local backups or back up everything to the cloud. My answer is usually “yes”.
Local backups are typically fast and don’t cost you much once you make the initial investment in a backup device. If you lose a file, you can quickly restore it from the backup. You can even use “offline” backups for stuff you don’t need to reference often, removing them from your computer’s hard drive and freeing up space.
Examples of this would be to back up all of your photos, scans, etc by burning them to DVDs. With a fast scanner, you can even scan all of your paper records and then shred the originals, freeing up valuable file cabinet space. We keep a year or two of original paper records and then we scan them. The odds are very low that we will ever need the scanned documents, but they are there if we need them.
The downside is that local backup solutions frequently require you to do something to make the backups happen. This is probably the biggest downside of local backups.
Cloud backups typically involve a program running in the background that ships a copy of your data off site to a cloud storage facility. There is nothing magical about cloud storage. It is simply a data center somewhere that holds a copy of your data.
Security of your data is not an issue. Can they be hacked? Like everything else on the Internet, the answer is “yes”, but cloud storage providers take security seriously and generally provide better physical security for your data than you do yourself.
You’ve probably seen advertisements by a company called Carbonite for their personal cloud backup solutions. They also have server products.
In our opinion, the “best” solution is some combination of local and cloud backup solutions. There are a number of these solutions on the market. One we’ve had success with is the Barracuda Backup Server by Barracuda Networks. It automatically copies your data to a dedicated backup server on your network and then ships the data off site at night when you aren’t using your Internet connection for other things.
Give us a call if you would like to talk about your options.