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Cloud Backup Services: 3 Things You Need to Know (But Probably Have Not Heard), Part 1

Nov 15, 2016, 19:15 PM by Peter Ely

When I sit down with potential customers to discuss KeepItSafe’s cloud backup service, one of the biggest challenges I face is communicating in a single conversation all of the unique benefits of our offsite backup system over the rest of the cloud backup field.

That’s because new customers almost always come to us only after doing some initial research on their own, and this research often leads them to a cloud backup “must have” feature list. Understandably, these are the features they want to speak about first. But I worry that many of these companies are focusing too much on a small number of standard features that, frankly, most reputable online backup providers offer. So after I’ve confirmed that, yes, KeepItSafe’s cloud backup storage solution provides everything on their “must have” list, if there’s still time, I then discuss many of the lesser-known but vitally important traits the company should be looking for in a cloud backup partner.

Here are 3 of the additional, lesser-known components of a cloud backup system that businesses should add to their “must have list.” (I will discuss 3 more in my next post.)

1. Compliance

When a vendor tells you that “Yes, we are compliant,” what does that mean, exactly, for your business? Does it mean that you will be fully compliant with whatever data privacy and security regulations govern your industry?

Often what the vendor means is that their data center has some certifications for security or quality management. But that’s not enough, in most cases, to enable your business to meet its compliance needs for data security.

These are things you need to ask your vendor — and they should be able to demonstrate that they have years of experience not only protecting the data of businesses like yours, but also keeping these businesses on the right side of regulatory guidelines.

2. Cryptography Standards

A cloud backup vendor might tell you that it uses AES 256-bit encryption to protect your data at rest and in-flight. That’s great, but today it’s a largely standard feature, offered by most reputable online backup companies.

But what about the backup provider’s software? What levels of cryptography, if any, does it offer? This is important if your business transmits any sensitive, proprietary or regulated data. Yet because this question doesn’t make it onto their short-list of “must have” features when they’re investigating enterprise backup solutions, even most financial and medical organizations miss this key question.

Don’t make that mistake. Ask your vendor if their software is certified to transport your financial records, government documents, patient information, etc. The answer you will hear a majority of the time is “No,” and if the answer is “Yes,” ask for the vendor’s certification number and how to validate it. 

3. 24/7 Corruption Detection

Any cloud backup vendor can claim it is “protecting” your data because it is copying it to an offsite backup server. And yes, this is one level of protection — in the sense that it creates an additional copy of your data stored in a different location.

But will it necessarily be safe at this offsite location? Will the vendor ensure the data is protected against corruption? Or will they merely store one extra copy for you?

Many cloud backup companies fall short here, either because their software is limited or simply because they are looking to keep their costs low. Many use simple tape systems as their “cloud backup” infrastructure — an infamously unreliable method of long-term storage, prone to data corruption.

Almost all of these providers fail to employ sophisticated corruption detection, and to keep it running for all customer data, 24/7. You should demand nothing less.

Please check back soon for Part 2 of this series, where I will discuss 3 more things you might not realize that you should look for in a cloud backup service.

Patrick Rougeau

Technical Sales Engineer, KeepItSafe

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