What Is Cloud Backup, How It Works, and Top Cloud Backup Providers for 2021

Over the past decade, virtual businesses have grown exponentially. While the widening landscape of virtual business has helped organizations deliver their products and services across the globe, it has also exposed companies to the constant risk of cybersecurity threats and data loss.

As businesses switch to cloud-based platforms at a dramatic pace because of cost-effectiveness, scalability, and flexibility, physical disaster recovery is quickly becoming history. Data protection, however, is of paramount importance, and cloud backup can be a valuable component of the disaster recovery process.

What Is Cloud Backup?

An off-site virtual data storage method, cloud backup primarily focuses on protecting sensitive organizational data. Also known as online backup, cloud backup gained widespread popularity in recent years as a replacement for traditional physical backup.

Cloud-based solutions are typically offered by third-party service providers, who set a pay-as-you-go cost model where users pay a consumption-based fee for the services they use. Consumers can enable on-demand cloud backup in order to prevent data loss. The backed-up data is accessible from numerous access points and can be shared with various cloud users.

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How Cloud Backup Works?

The cloud backup process involves copying and transferring data from a physical site to a virtual storage system that can be readily accessed for disaster recovery purposes. To initiate a data backup process in the cloud, businesses need to perform the following steps:

  • Buy space for data storage from a cloud backup solution provider
  • Install software within the organization's IT ecosystem
  • Choose applications, files, and folders for cloud backup

Once configured, backups are automatic and continuous, requiring no or minimal human intervention. Major cloud backup services allow users to work with stored files, control bandwidth, schedule backups, and add new data.

How Data Is Restored?

Backups happen via a software application supplied by the cloud backup service provider. The software application enables automated backups, following a schedule based on user requirements and purchased services. For example, if you opt for day-to-day backups, the software application captures, compresses, encrypts, & transfers your data to the service provider's cloud servers on a 24-hour cycle. To reduce bandwidth consumption, the cloud backup provider may offer incremental backups after a complete initial backup.

Users can use the same software application to restore data from cloud backup. They can restore the entire backup or choose to restore specific files and folders. The main advantage of a cloud backup is that it facilitates restorations from anywhere on any device. For example, if the data center of an organization is unavailable, it can restore data directly at the disaster recovery (DR) site, situated in a remote location.

Why Use Cloud Backup?

Cloud backup goes beyond merely providing a cost-effective means of storing and restoring data. Here are a few compelling reasons why IT teams should embrace cloud backup:

Cloud Backup Strengthens Disaster Recovery Strategy:

Data backups to on-site servers are vulnerable to floods, fires, or similar types of disasters. By leveraging the cloud, businesses can automatically transfer their data to a more secure and well-organized location for easy access in the event of a disaster.

Speedy Restoration of Data:

The loss of critical data can lead to devastating consequences, adversely affecting revenue, productivity, and most importantly, customer confidence. Cloud backup offers instant data restoration, ensuring seamless operations even in times of disasters or cyber-attacks.

Cloud Backup Minimizes Downtime:

Today's organizations operate in a complex, interconnected environment. By guaranteeing the ready availability of data, cloud backup solutions enable business processes to function smoothly, minimizing the costs and risks associated with downtime.

Reduces the Burden of IT Teams:

Cloud backup automates the process of storing and restoring data, which frees the IT team from the burden of tedious and time-consuming manual backups. Automated data restoration and backup allows the IT team to focus on issues that boost productivity and profitability.

Cloud Backup Leverages the Resources and Expertise of the Service Provider:

When an organization deploys backup solutions from a service provider, it gets full access to the most updated infrastructure and technology on the market. In addition, cloud backup service providers can also take care of region-specific regulatory requirements, facilitating data privacy and strict compliance.

Cloud Storage vs. Cloud Backup: What’s the Difference?

Cloud backup and cloud storage are often used interchangeably, but they are two completely different concepts.

Cloud storage is an extension of on-site physical storage, used primarily for storing sensitive data. Users need to decide which data is most critical to them, and then, make copies of the data to transfer it to the cloud platform for storage. In case of accidental data deletion, business operations will not be affected because copies of the data are stored in the cloud in a remote location separated from the physical system.

Cloud backup, on the other hand, refers to the backing up of specific data to a cloud environment that is owned and maintained by a cloud backup service provider. With cloud backup, users can synchronize their data between physical sites and the cloud. This basically means that any modifications made to the on-site data will also get reflected in the cloud version.

Cloud storage systems serve as an off-site location for storing sensitive data, which users can access from anywhere, at any time, over the Internet. Cloud backup solutions ensure the restoration of mission-critical data and applications in the event of a disaster.

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Top Cloud Backup Providers For 2021

Here are five of the most popular cloud backup services and their key features.

1. Backblaze

  • Unlimited storage
  • Fast, reliable backups
  • Facilitates backup from both Windows PC and Mac
  • Hassle-free set up
  • Continuous backups 

2. IDrive

  • Offers superior flexibility and control
  • Supports Linux, PC, Mac, and mobile devices
  • Ease of managing backups via a centralized console
  • Allows users to change the settings across devices
  • Upto 5 GB backup in the free plan

3. Carbonite

  • Enables a launch-and-forget backup approach
  • Easy-to-use interface
  • Provides users with a desktop application and a superb web interface for browser access
  • The basic plan offers unlimited and automatic cloud backup for one computer
  • Scheduled and continuous backups

4. Acronis True Image

  • Captures data images for backup purposes
  • Available on PC, Mac, and mobiles
  • Outstanding desktop interface
  • Users can check backup speeds and track backup status
  • Color-coded display of backed up data
  • Event-based backup scheduling

5. CrashPlan

  • Unlimited storage
  • Offers support for Linux, Windows PC, and Mac
  • User-friendly and intuitive
  • Continuous and automatic backups
  • Ideal for small businesses
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