Perhaps you’ve experienced the nightmarish experience of a computer crash. My first major incident occurred in college. I had just spent 12 hours in the library writing my capstone paper for my Irish literature class. Trust me, this piece was a magnum opus. But we’ll never know exactly how good it was because my computer crashed, and I lost all 23 pages. I sat there for a full 10 minutes with my head in my hands. Eventually, I summoned the energy to take my laptop to the tech center to see if anything could be recovered. No dice. All 23 pages were lost forever. I told my professor about the disaster and hoped she’d simply offer to grade my work based on my glowing recollections of what the paper contained. Again, no dice. College professors aren’t in the business of handing out grades to self-indulgent synopses, so I was forced to write a new version of the paper (which ultimately received a B+). Importance of Cloud Backup Solutions for Small Business Does this scenario sound familiar? Nearly all of us have lost data at one time or another. But the stakes rise substantially when you’re a business owner. Unlike my drama in the library, you often can’t just “rewrite” what’s gone missing. Additionally, the data you’re saving is much more important and sensitive than my mediocre analysis of Marina Carr’s “By the Bog of Cats.” “If running regular backups is important for home users, especially during the current new normal, it's essential in business: losing even a small fraction of your most important data, for a brief period of time, could still be a real disaster; especially with a lot of privacy laws like GDPR around,” explains a business report from TechRadar. “You could try to protect yourself by copying files to USB flash drives or to external hard drives, but that takes time and effort. It also leaves you vulnerable to fire, theft, and hardware failure. There's also the option to simply use backup software with a file sync solution, especially when connected to a cloud storage service, but that might not work so well for larger businesses.” As a small business, cloud storage is likely your ideal solution because the dynamics you’re dealing with have evolved dramatically in the past year or so. More than half of all American workers are utilizing home offices because of the evolution brought on by the pandemic. This remote arrangement likely applies at least partially to your business. Cloud backup solutions for small businesses allow you to safely store data from remote locations. Yes, this means that you’re no longer bound by the onsite backup devices in your office location. Whether you plan to have a hybrid work arrangement or will be 100% remote in the future, the importance of this flexibility can’t be overstated. How the Cloud Works With cloud backup solutions for small business, you get unlimited access to a designated storage infrastructure. This access is shared by all users that you decide to allow. Rather than hardware that sits in your home or office, cloud storage is handled by hardware in a separate location managed by a provider. The architecture of your storage varies, but you can customize the setup and ensure your data remains organized and specific access is only given to those who need it. You get a suite of management tools that allows you to adjust bandwidth settings, security requirements, and other functions. Once your team is connected to a cloud storage solution, you can save and retrieve data from essentially anywhere on the globe where you can connect to the internet. Yes, it’s a game changer. No longer will you need to be onsite to carry out these actions, which allows 24/7 access in addition to the geographic element. The Right Cloud Backup Solutions for Your Small Business There’s no silver bullet when it comes to cloud solutions, as business size, priorities, and functions vary drastically. This means that you’ll need to do your due diligence in order to find the option best suited for your unique needs. “Choosing the right backup solution can seem tricky, as there's a lot to consider given the rising threat of ransomware,” advises TechRadar. “How much storage space do you really need, for instance? Must the service support versioning (where multiple versions of documents are kept)? How should this be managed? Security is important, too. What sort of encryption options do you get? How is access to your data managed? What options are there for managing your users, seeing what they're doing, making sure they're complying with your policies and procedures? Are files easy to recover and download as part of a disaster recovery solution?” Let’s look at some of the top cloud solutions available. Analyze the reviews for each of these services, then talk with colleagues who may have experience using some of your preferred options. IDrive Team This affordable service provides good data encryption, though some users feel the anti-malware and ransomware protection is lacking. Carbonite When it comes to user-friendliness, Carbonite is a champ. You get unlimited storage for 1 computer, though it costs extra if you want to give multiple users that same ability. Acronis If you prefer a tiered pricing model, Acronis is your best friend. There are tons of features available, and you can pick the ones that meet your priorities. OpenDrive If you only need a moderate amount of storage, this is one of the most affordable routes. BackBlaze Many small businesses choose BackBlaze due to its intuitive interface and vast storage capabilities. One of the only potential drawbacks can be that the recovery of stolen data can involve more hoop-jumping than other services. SpiderOak Data security is the major benefit of this service, though you may find that other functions such as dynamic file tagging may be lacking. CrashPlan This service is exceptionally easy to install and integrate into your small business. Just know that this simplicity also means that advanced features are lacking. Act Now to Prevent Data Problems Laters There you have it… 7 great storage choices for your small business. Whether you’re already using cloud solutions or just dipping your toes in the water, it’s crucial to know what’s available. And the sooner you begin to maximize this technology for your business, the sooner you’ll start seeing the benefits.