Cloud backups for data can be safe.
From determining which data to back up to creating a detailed security protocol, there are several steps to take when creating a backup strategy for your business. — hanieriani/Getty Images

In today’s technology-first business landscape, small business owners need reliable data backups. Whether they’re protecting against a fire, natural disaster or data breach, it’s essential that small businesses handling customer data maintain some form of on-premise server backups. In the past, this has meant external hard drives, partnering with third-party data storage companies or setting up alternative servers for your company. Cloud backup technology, however, has changed the way consumers and business owners alike store, use and access data.

Benefits of cloud backup

The biggest benefit to cloud backup is that it is flexible. On-premise server backups mean that you have to worry about securing another server. Using such a backup also means that your data could be at risk if a fire or other natural disaster threatened your business. Even worse, you also have to secure your physical server from the small percentage of employees who intend to sabotage, steal from or otherwise damage your business.

Cloud storage, on the other hand, is abstract and decentralized, which means once it’s backed up, you don’t have to worry about its physical security. It also means you can scale your storage space to meet your needs based on how your business progresses.

There are also a number of other benefits, like certain backup features that aren’t available with physical backups. For example, automation ensures your files are regularly and automatically backed up; you won’t have to worry about remembering to do it manually. Versioning means you can access past versions of the same files, so if a recent file is lost or damaged, you may be able to recover the original. Encryption offers heightened security for your backups.

[Read: The Pros and Cons of Cloud Storage]

Best cloud backup strategies

Now that you know the benefits of cloud backup, there are some important backup strategies to implement at your business. In short, data backup is about establishing easy-to-follow protocols for storing information.

Determine what data needs to be backed up

This is a basic first step, but it’s essential. If you have customer data, such as phone numbers, addresses and other personal information, it’s important to back up that information so you can easily access it should you change systems or experience data loss. The general rule is if you’re dealing with personal information, back it up. Everything else can be replaced.

Cloud backup technology, however, has changed the way consumers and business owners alike store, use and access data.

Choose the best backup solution for your needs

Assess your needs and determine what type of backup solution is right for you. If you’re dealing with a lot of very sensitive personal data, it’s important to choose a system that’s highly secure. If you’re looking to save some basic information, as well as some important company documents, you’ll be able to find an affordable, simple system for cloud data backups.

Create a local backup system as a fail-safe

Cloud backup systems can still be breached and damaged. You also want to be prepared in the event that something doesn’t get saved or backed up properly. For the most important and essential documentation and personal information, create a separate backup system at your business. Having this information saved in two places will increase your chances of recovering it in the event that something goes wrong.

Implement a security protocol

With 49% of companies not encrypting databases and up to 29% experiencing account compromises, it’s imperative that you create a basic security protocol should you experience a data breach. Small businesses are becoming popular targets for cybercriminals. Create a system that will prevent outside access to sensitive data and do your best to build a response plan so you can get ahead of any issues.

[Read: Is Cloud Storage Secure?]

If you’re dealing with personal customer or business information, it’s important to have some kind of backup system in place. Cloud backups are becoming a great way for small businesses to save important data. Focus on security, and make sure you build a local backup system as a fail-safe. By doing your due diligence, you can protect your business’s and your customers’ data.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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