Users often learn the hard way that cloud storage does not offer the same protections as cloud backup.

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With more employees working from home due to the coronavirus pandemic, a lot of people are trying to figure out how to protect the files they’re working on outside the office. Some are stuck between “cloud storage” services and “cloud backup.” While many confuse the two, there are important differences.

People are often drawn to cloud storage because it’s convenient, easy to use and sometimes even free. But users often learn the hard way that cloud storage does not offer the same protection from accidental and costly disruptions as cloud backup.

Where Cloud Storage Fits

Cloud storage is great for:

  • Storing files in one centralized location

  • Sharing files with friends, relatives and coworkers

  • Synchronizing files across devices

Cloud storage is not great for:

  • Automatic, comprehensive backup of all computer files

  • Continuous monitoring for changes

  • Private encryption key for security and privacy

  • Uniform policy controls for backup and retention

  • Regulatory support, including HIPAA, FERPA and GLBA compliance

How You Can Lose Data in the Cloud

Nearly two-thirds of data loss is due to human error: 

  • “I forgot to back up a file.”

  • “I deleted the file by mistake.”

  • “I wrote over the file.”

If you’re using cloud storage as a substitute for backup, you can easily lose data through accidental deletion, overwriting or by simply forgetting to upload a file to the cloud. Human error, in fact, is the most common form of data loss.

What “Cloud Backup” Really Means 

  • Automation – True cloud backup doesn’t rely on users to manually drag and drop files or upload them to the cloud. It should work automatically and in the background, backing up all user files and data, and scanning for changes along the way.

  • Versioning – With cloud backup, earlier versions of files are stored, so, even if you overwrite a file, you can recover it from an earlier backup.

  • Encryption – In most cases, a cloud backup service will encrypt your files before uploading to the cloud and send them through a secure tunnel using advanced encryption technology. Not all cloud storage providers give you this feature, especially ones designed for consumers.

  • Privacy – Different cloud service providers have different policies regarding data privacy, but a trusted backup provider would never compromise customer data privacy–or allow anyone else to do so–for marketing purposes, service enhancement or any other reason. Beware the fine print with free cloud storage providers.

  • Recovery – Cloud backup also enables you to log in to your account and restore data to replacement hardware. So, if you have a local failure, you can recover with minimal interruption.

  • Control – You have much more control over your data when you determine your backup policy and have it automatically implemented by your backup solution. This greatly reduces the chances of human error compared with an ad hoc, manual process.

The Bottom Line

The safest, most secure way to protect your business and personal data in the cloud is by using a service specifically engineered for backup, not storage.

To improve your cyber resilience today, try Carbonite Safe.

 This guest blog is part of a Channel Futures sponsorship.

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