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09-September-2014

Tips for backing up to the cloud

From our point of view – in fact the view of many more than just us – the access and advantages the cloud grants businesses of all sizes, is a compelling argument to shift large chunks of your business operation to the cloud. Not only does the cloud give you increased access to your data, offer excellent scale and cost efficiencies but it also gives you great redundancy and back up – your data is always mirrored somewhere.

Not only does the cloud give you increased access to your data, offer excellent scale and cost efficiencies but it also gives you great redundancy and back up

Sure, we realise if you are even the slightest bit cynical (or if you are working out the pros and cons of the cloud for your business) you may be chuckling to yourself a bit right now, thinking, “As if they would say anything else”. To a degree you may be right, but like anything, which is good, there should always be a disclaimer – always know what you are getting in for and always consider moderation.

But what exactly is moderation? In the digital age this is akin to the expression “don’t put all your eggs in one basket”. You may have seen coverage earlier in 2012 about Digital reporter Matt Honan of Gizmodo who had his iCloud account hacked. The clever hackers (who used phishing tactics to get access in the first place) then went about systematically deleting all his files – work and personal – till there was nothing left. Sadly, he did not retrieve much of it.

Sure there were other silly factors in play here – his iCloud password was the same as his back up account password at Gmail – which made it easier for his digital assets to be deleted, but the point remains, moderation is key. If he had used local drive backups for key data or secondary cloud services he may not have lost everything.

How to best protect your Data

The biggest lesson in the above example is not that the cloud is not safe, rather, it is that like all things in business, you need to have contingency plans in place and have made plans which safeguard your operations. Whether you are in the cloud already or are just considering it, here are some tips to help secure your data and thus your business operations:

  • Have strict company policies around password safety. For example get everyone to change key passwords several times a year and actively encourage your staff to NOT use the same passwords for multiple programs/accounts.
  • Consider your BYOD policy and how rogue devices may affect your security. Also ensure you think through how to protect your data when people leave and to ensure that when they are with you that you are in control to some extent.
  • Keep a local back up of business critical files. They do not need to be updated daily by any extent, but having them means you always have some control of your data. Further, having local files on hand – the most important ones anyhow – can also be good business sense as it allows you to keep operating should access to the cloud go down. There are a number of examples of businesses that have come to a halt for hours at a time due to their internet access going down.
  • Always ask your cloud provider about their security credentials.

Keep a local back up of business critical files

Should you have any questions around the cloud, or what steps you should take to ensure your data is safe, we are here to help. Contact us with your enquiry and we will come back to you as soon as we can.

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