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Is a Cloud-only Backup Plan Sensible?

There’s no denying that storing your data in the cloud has benefits. Some people use it for access to files that they’re working on, allowing them to access it wherever they are and across a range of devices. However, some cloud providers are targeting specifically at those users who want to have a secondary, backup copy of their data should something go wrong with their primary storage method.

“Go wrong” could be a number of things – theft, natural disaster, data loss, and more. No matter where you have the primary copy of your data stored, that method is never going to be fool-proof. Your data is valuable and it needs to be backed up efficiently.

This then leads to the question of whether backing up to only the cloud is a sensible option. If you have your data stored locally on your computer’s drive, should your secondary copy be in the cloud?

First of all, it has to be pointed out that only having two copies of your data (including the original) is not enough. You need to have a minimum of three copies, in two different formats, with one of those copies off-site. That’s the 3-2-1 backup rule and it’s safe and sensible to follow it.

Storing in the cloud does count towards that rule, but there’ll be things you’ll want to consider first. For example, is your internet connection strong enough to cope with sending your data into the cloud? Are you confident with the security of your cloud provider – does it offer full encryption? Are you willing to pay a monthly or annual fee for a cloud storage service?

There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to this. Some people will refuse to store their data online simply due to security reasons. Others will opt for offline choices because they can pay less money for drives. The cloud is great because it means you can store your data off-site quickly and easily, meaning that if anything happens to your local data then you can restore from the cloud.

If you do decide to back up to the cloud then you’ll need to bear some things in mind. Backing up your operating system and software, as you might do on a local backup or image, doesn’t make much sense in the cloud. Not only will it use up a lot of your storage capacity, but these things can also be restored quicker elsewhere – from the original discs, for example.

It is much more important to back up your personal data, rather than the system data. Your personal data is precisely that: personal. It is unique to you and cannot be gained from another source. If you lose your only copy of that data then, recovery techniques aside, you won’t get that data again. System data, on the other hand, can be found elsewhere.

If you do opt for a cloud backup, be sure to also have an offline backup as well and to adhere to the 3-2-1 backup rule to make sure your data is strongly protected in the event of a disaster.


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