Possible Reasons to Avoid Online Backup

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I wrote about online backup yesterday, highlighting Symantec's 2.0 release of its Norton Online Backup service. I have also shared how I personally use an online backup service in the form of SugarSync in order to protect my laptop against catastrophe.


For all the talk about embracing cloud computing and the tangible benefits of offloading everything to services on the Internet, storing data online is not actually suited for every circumstance. Today, I examine some reasons why online backup might not help your SMB.


Inadequate bandwidth


Due to geographical constraints or other limitations, some SMBs might be forced to use a data pipe that has limited bandwidth and/or is shared with a large number of users. As you can imagine, online backup will not work very well under these circumstances. In such a situation, it would probably be better to configure some kind of backup regime to sync backups to a local server or appliance. If desired, these files can be replicated to a remote device or cloud service after office hours.


Concerns over data leakage


One aspect that is normally glossed over is how an online backup service allows data typically cloistered behind corporate firewalls to be accessible from the Internet. While I haven't yet heard of any online service being hacked - some of these services feature data encryption - a more pertinent concern to some SMBs with tight controls might be how employees can freely whisk sensitive corporate documents or data offsite. These organizations will probably be happier banning all forms of online data backup altogether.


Large files


Bandwidth and concerns over data leakage aside, another consideration would be the nature of work done by some SMBs. Industries that generate small user files such as Microsoft Word docs or Excel spreadsheets would benefit tremendously from the real-time backup and advanced features such as multi-level revisions that most online backup services have nowadays.


On the other hand, consider a design company where a vast amount of graphical artwork or multimedia content is generated on any given day, or an engineering firm dabbling with 2D and 3D AutoCAD files every day. Getting all these large files uploaded is going to be a pain even with ample Internet bandwidth, not to mention the fact that it would be expensive to procure so much storage space with an online backup provider.




Today, I have looked at some situations in which an SMB will want to steer clear from using an online backup service. At the same time, I am acutely aware that there must be many other situations where online storage simply won't cut it. If you have any comments or anecdotes to add, feel free to leave a comment below.