Cloud Storage Reviews: The Cloud is Here to Stay – Wired.com

March 14, 2012

Wired.com published a fascinating and very revealing article about the use of cloud services in business. At SOS, we love statistics, and this article is chock full of them. Check out some of these insightful statistics about cloud backup in business, brought to you by Wired.com:

1. 70 percent of businesses are either using or investigating cloud computing solutions.

2. In 2011, two-thirds of companies surveyed were planning or had already deployed cloud-based technologies.

3. 30% of small and mid-size businesses (SMBs) used cloud software in 2011.

4. Worldwide IT spending on cloud computing has increased more than 25 percent from 2008 to 2012.

5. 48 percent of U.S. government agencies moved at least one workflow to the cloud following the new requirement that federal agencies adopt a “cloud-first” policy.

For all those businesses that have readily adopted cloud computing and embraced it with open arms, there is a group of hold out SMBs that are resisting the move to the cloud. The article approaches another potent topic – arguments against cloud computing.

Argument 1: cloud computing is just another iteration of SaaS and ASP, which ultimately failed.

Wired counters this argument by observing that bandwidth of much cheaper these days, which was a major impediment to ASP and SaaS in the past.

Argument 2: Security and compliance are weaker in the cloud

Actually, it’s often stronger and better. Wired quotes a 2010 survey that showed 57 percent of respondents agreed that cloud computing actually improved their security.

Argument 3: Cloud computing is too expensive

SMBs often find cloud computing to be affordable and allow for the outsourcing of core competencies such as security and data center hosting. This brings them the benefits of this cloud-centric security knowledge, without the cost. A study cited by Wired notes that 74 percent of the respondents said that using the cloud reduced their infrastructure costs.

Are you considering backing your business up to the cloud? You can start a 175GB 14 day free trial with SOS Online Backup for Business right now. Check us out, see why SOS has won the PC Magazine Editor’s Choice award four times. Download the free 175GB trial here.

SOS also offers affordable server backup solutions (without a hardware purchase requirement!). Backup your entire business – from workstations to Exchange servers to SQL servers with SOS. Learn more about our total business backup solution, SOS ServerSave.


Back up Plan Online : Three Huge Reasons Why Proper Online Backup Matters

February 22, 2012

SmallBusinessComputing.com has released a great, and concise, article by Paul Mah titled “3 Reasons Proper Data Backup Matters”. We definitely agree with all three. This is an article certainly worth reading for any business who is looking to institute off site backup.

This article reminds us that online backup isn’t just a mere best practice, but it’s a necessity to true disaster recovery planning. True disasters occur without your detection or knowledge. Which also means you can’t plan for the extent of the damage, so it is necessary to have backed up ALL of your data that could be at risk.

Disasters that destroy business data typically fall into three main categories:

1. Malicious intent

While many of us think that malice generally occurs in the outside of the safety of our offices, this article reminds us that upset employees are capable of compromising internally stored data.

The disgruntled IT worker is hardly a new phenomenon. Indeed, the past year alone has seen some prominent cases where former employees took it upon themselves to erase entire banks of virtualized servers, or even wipe out all the corporate mailboxes in the company. Clearly, the use of a NAS (or SAN) would have offered no defense against such shenanigans by insiders. Only a comprehensive disaster recovery strategy where everything is backed up on a regular basis may have a chance of returning things to normalcy within an acceptable period of time.

2. Damage to storage medium

Flash drives aren’t off site backup – or backup at all for that matter. This is because they are mobile and therefore vulnerable and backups are not done incrementally or automatically to the device. The use of flash drives should be very limited in a business environment.

Many workers make the erroneous assumption that storing data on a portable hard disk drive (HDD) or USB flash drive constitutes a backup. This is certainly not the case, and such portable devices are in fact more susceptible to being misplaced, stolen, or damaged. In addition, it is important to remember that not all storage devices are designed for longevity in mind, or even for robust data preservation.

Do note that some mediums are particularly prone to damage, such as rewritable optical discs made withinferior dyes. Also, don’t be surprised if that suspiciously cheap USB flash drive you bought at the flea market abruptly stops working after a year or two.

3. Accidental deletion

Have you ever had the “uh oh” moment? That’s the moment of terror when your laptop dies, or is unplugged, while you’re in the middle of a 40 page presentation. This can happen inadvertently to emails, attachments and business servers as well. If online backups have been continuously and incrementally taking place, per an hourly or daily schedule, the recovery of these files will be simple.

I had an experience with this exact scenario just this weekend. When transferring thousands of email messages between two email servers, I carelessly opted to initiate the transfer moving key folders directly between the two locations. It was a bad decision because not all the data made it to the destination server before Outlook decided to call it quits (by crashing), even though the deletion from the origin took place immediately.

It’s very easy to start backing up your data securely off site. SOS offers simple and affordable ways to start backing up your data.

1. Free Business Backup Trial: This 175 GB trial is good for 14 days and includes the full-featured, award-winning SOS Online Backup software. It’s easy to upgrade after starting your trial and all your backed up data stays safe off site!

2. Android Backup App: This 15 GB account backs up your Android and your PC. It’s an easy download from the Android Market. Best of all, it’s just $4.95. Just download the software after creating your account inside the application.

3. Free iPhone AppThis app is available in iTunes and comes with 5 GB of online backup for your PC for free! Just download the software after creating your account in the iPhone app.


Cloud Backup Review 2012 : Four Myths About Backing up Business in the Cloud

January 20, 2012

Many business owners have already adopted the cloud for a variety of reasons. The four most common reasons, and benefits of online backup, being:

1.  Need for compliance

2. Inability to maintain an on-site data center

3. Ease of use and implementation

4. Comfort with the level of security provided.

However, some businesses out there (as many as 69% of them, according to IDC) are considering moving their data backup to the cloud, but haven’t done so yet. Some may be avoiding it, because of some cloud backup myths.

Despite all the good reasons for backing up business data online, there are four major myths that still keep businesses from adopting online backup quickly.

Today, January 20th, InfoWorld’s David Linthicum published the article 4 cloud myths that won’t go away. The article includes four very telling anecdotes about why business may avoid online backup and why these reasons are due to go to the way of the do-do.

Myth #1: If I use public clouds, I give up security.

This one is tossed at me about once a day, and I’ve addressed it in this blog many times. The fact is, when you use public clouds, you do not necessarily put data and processes at a security risk. The degree of risk comes down to your planning and the use of the right technologies — just as it does in an on-premises deployment.

Myth #2: Cloud computing will put my job at risk.

Chances are, if you’re worried about the use of some technology taking your job, you’re already at risk. In reality, cloud computing won’t displace many jobs in enterprise IT, but IT roles and responsibilities will change over time.

Myth #3: Cloud computing is an all-or-nothing proposition.

Not really. You can move to cloud-based systems, such as storage and compute services, as needed, both intersystem and intrasystem. Moreover, you can move in a fine-grained manner, shifting only certain system components, such as user interface processing or storage, and leaving the remainder on premises. You do have to consider the co-location of data for data-process-intensive system components.

Myth #4: Cloud computing requires a complete replacement of the enterprise network.

This is true only if your existing network is awful and needs replacement anyway or if you plan to keep most of the data in the cloud, with the data processing occurring within the firewall (a bad architectural call). Other than that, bandwidth is typically not an issue. However, bandwidth does need to be considered and monitored, as it is a core component to the overall business systems that use cloud platforms.

Click here to view the original article at InfoWorld.com.

Backing up your business can save you millions of dollars in the long run. Avoiding a cloud backup solution for even your most basic business data, contained on workstations and laptops, your business is at risk. You may be at legal risk by not complying with government regulations, you may be at risk of losing customer information, or simply at risk of losing competitive advantages if important business information is lost. Disaster is surprisingly common. Make it a business practice to backup your data.


Kind Attention Cloud Backup Partners / Resellers / MSPs – Revenue from Cloud Services to Reach $55.5 Billion : IT World

January 18, 2012

Cloud backup is popular. There is no doubt about it. Many IT professionals out there are keenly aware of why the cloud backup is so popular.

  • Storage costs are becoming less and less expensive
  • Internet bandwidth and accessibility is improving
  • Understanding of cloud security is improving
  • Tape backup is similar in cost, or more expensive, and less advantageous
To illustrate this point, just look at the numbers put forth by IDC and ITworld.com.
Worldwide revenue from cloud services is expected to reach $55.5 billion in 2014, according to IDC. With a compound annual growth rate of 27.4%, the cloud is set for quite a trajectory.

Today, ITworld.com republished an article by CFOworld.com on the looming cloud backup decision for CFOs: is it more cost-effective to expand an internal data center? Or go to the cloud?

Depending on what your business needs are, the factors for making the decision vary widely. Though no one can discount the value of cloud backup and it’s capacity to decrease administrative costs, while being secure.

CFOs are at the apex when it comes to pulling interests of software-as-a-service, infrastructure-as-a-service, platform-as-a-service and other cloud strategies vs. maintaining servers, switches and storage under the organization’s roof….Manage too much in-house and you’ll strain your staff, infrastructure and budget.

As a managed service provider, or business owner, ask yourself about the benefits you can experience from cloud storage. Consider that it’s pretty handy to have your data center backed up as well.

View the entire ITworld.com article here.


Business Owners : Audit Your Backups – What is your Data Backup Strategy for 2012?

January 3, 2012

You’re a smart business person and you know the value of backup.  You may even already be using an online backup service, because you understand the value of not only having a backup, but having it stored offsite.  The question for today is:

How Current is Your Strategy?

When you initially designed your backup strategy, you were probably asked to identify the important data that needed to be protected.  User directories, data folders for accounting software, email databases and the like.  What’s changed since then?  How have your users changed, what are their habits?

Application Data Backup

If you’ve upgraded any of your software, such as accounting or even email systems, it’s possible that the data is now being stored in another location.  The backup software, as smart as it is, isn’t aware that the most current financials are now being stored at c:\accounting 2011\data instead of c:\accounting 2010\data.  Go through your list of directories being backed up and review them on the network.  If you find a directory being backed up that hasn’t had new files for six months, make sure there’s not something you are missing.

Operating System Upgrades

If you’ve moved from Windows XP to Windows 7 like a lot of other users, your data is no longer being stored in the same location.  What used to be stored in ‘My Documents’ is now being stored under ‘Documents’.  Some backup software will be able to tell the difference while others will fail because the old target folder no longer exists.

Users Being Users

Are your users still following the same model?  As many times as you say ‘please store your files in this folder’, people change their habits.  The last thing you want is one of your high-end users losing data, even if it’s because they’re saving to the wrong location.

All in all, if you haven’t reviewed your backups recently, now is the time to do it.  Make sure what you are backing up is still needed, and no new critical data is being missed because it has either changed location or is functioning differently.  Start from scratch by identifying what needs to be backed up again, then go to your backup software and ensure the job is being done correctly.  This is something that needs to be done on a regular basis, so consider scheduling an audit of your backups regularly.  Data security requires good habits and accountability.


Testing the Waters as a Managed Service Provider : Backup Reseller Program Review

December 16, 2011

The year is just about to wrap up.  Is your reseller business where you want it to be?

If you didn’t make the leap this year to providing managed services for your customers, let’s start laying the groundwork to get you there in 2012.  First off, a quick list of benefits to convince you.

  • Recurring revenue stream from services you may be outsourcing to vendors
  • Increased interaction with clients
  • Improved customer satisfaction

Aren’t those enough?  These are the top three benefits I’ve seen since starting to provide managed services to my clients.  I’ll address each one talking about the first managed service I provided to my customers; online backup service.

Recurring Revenue Stream

In the past I recommended and implemented tape backup strategies, then removable hard drive strategies like the Dell RD1000 drives to my customers.  I made very little margin on the sales of the media and the upkeep of software such as Symantec’s flagship Backup Exec.

As an online backup reseller, I am now seeing consistent monthly recurring revenue from these customers.  Instead of the small margins on the sale of hardware and software maintenance contracts, I’m generating revenue from providing the actual service.  While the cost to my customers is lower, my margins have increased dramatically.

Increased Interaction with Clients

I can’t emphasize this one enough.  As I regularly communicate the status of my clients’ backups, I’m keeping in touch with the client on a much more regular basis than in the past.  Some of these conversations go off on a tangent and generate either a service call for an unrelated issue or a sale of a new piece of equipment.

Improved Customer Satisfaction

Since implementing online backup services with customers, their satisfaction has increased for at least two reasons they have communicated.  First, they are happy that the offsite-rotation of their backups has been taken out of their hands, lowering their administrative overhead.  Second, they are pleased with the added benefits of using an online backup service, namely their ability to easily restore files from anywhere in the world using the web interface.  Several clients have called me from the road asking me how to restore their presentation, since they either forgot to bring it on their trip or they want to present an earlier version of the file.

If you’ve been thinking about adding MSP services to your arsenal as a consultant, there is no easier way to get your feet wet then to add online backup services.  Take the time to get your client software fully branded, so your customers are also comforted by your trusted name on the product.  You can’t underestimate the value of that.

— The Backup Master


Do you have IT budget left over from 2011? Invest in Business Data Protection & Security

December 13, 2011

As a business owner, I see the fourth quarter of 2011 wrapping up and I know my corporate customers are doing the same.  I can tell because I’m getting the calls from IT administrators and office managers letting me know that they have unspent budget left for their IT services.  After tooting my own horn with them about how they must have extra money remaining due to my efficient management of their networks, we settle down to discuss where the surplus can go.

Generally, if they are pretty stable when it comes to hardware, I start to talk about services.  Are there any services they can renew or extend with their extra funds?

If you’re a business owner, here are some services you can probably extend with this year’s remaining budget, freeing up a little more of next year’s budget to buy that new piece of hardware your company desperately needs.

Antivirus/Antispyware

You may be paying annual subscriptions for updates and new versions of software.  Talk to your IT provider about extending those service contracts now.  In most cases, you will not only spend this year’s remaining budget to cover service for the next year or two, but actually save money in the long term due to multi-year discounts.

Backup / Online Backup Service

The need for backup will never go away, so these are items that you can safely ramp up and pay in advance.  Why pay month-to-month when annual contracts are usually cheaper in the long run?  Now is your opportunity to either purchase additional media (tapes/drives) if you are on a traditional backup plan or to switch over to an annual plan for your online backup.

While you’re at it, it you are on a traditional backup plan (meaning you backup to tape or other local media), discuss the options of moving this service to the cloud.  You won’t have to purchase additional media and your backups will be more reliable in the long run.  Your vendor will be able to show you how you can save money by having reliable offsite backup without the need for additional hardware or expensive software.

Equipment Service Contracts

Your IT person supports your infrastructure like your routers and switches, but you need to keep the service contracts with the manufacturers current.  If there is a Cisco router having an issue in your network, I can usually fix it significantly faster if I can call Cisco for assistance.  If there’s a hardware failure, they won’t even talk to me if there isn’t a maintenance contract in place.

Ask your IT provider if you can add another year to your service contract for devices that you don’t plan to replace in 2012.

Congratulations on having budget left over at the end of the year.  If only Congress could do the same!

 — The Backup Master


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