“Rental businesses store tons of sensitive customer information (names, addresses, purchase histories and pricing), information that could be dangerous in the wrong hands,” Knoepke says. “Local backups (tapes, external drives, etc.) can be lost or stolen, exposing all of this data. In contrast, on-line storage is encrypted and safely sheltered, all automatically.”
For those who note that even the government, banks and other financial institutions get hacked, yes, it’s true no system is perfect. But from a hacker’s perspective, which would be easier to target: Several small rental businesses with bare bones security, or a technology powerhouse? The odds of cloud-based client data being compromised are much less than data stored within a firm’s office.
5 Support during restoration
What would you do if your client data went MIA tomorrow? With cloud-based, online backup, if one of the above disasters did happen to the computers in your office, the client data and the entire contents, programs and even email on those computers could be quickly retrieved and installed on brand new computers. With no backup plan in place, your odds are better at a Las Vegas slot machine, and even with a local system in place, you might be flipping a coin.
“In addition to automating the backup, a complete solution has to include a recovery plan with immediate access to all the resources needed to get running again right away,” Knoepke says.
And the plan must be tested regularly. “Often, the backup performed manually is not even good or so old that it cannot be used,” says Patrice Boivin, president and CEO of Orion Software. “We had cases where the backup was done for years but it was never tested. Businesses need to do a disaster recovery simulation annually.”
Shea at SBC says off-site backup ranks near the top of the list when it comes to value for price in the rental business. “The data intensive nature of rental means that data loss is disastrous. Gaps can take hundreds of hours to recreate manually. Even with in-store tape backup, the process is slow, and the tapes are often faulty.”
He continues, “Our online backup process is an affordable annual subscription that restores the system with minimal downtime. With authority from the rental business, we can move quickly to download the backed up database and load it either to a replacement system or to our cloud, to keep the rental business running. We have a lot of customers using our cloud-based servers for SaaS applications - these servers work equally as well for data access when someone needs help.”
Michael Saint, president of Corporate Services, LLC, says there are many excellent reasons to use a cloud-based backup system, but there are limitations. “For example, a typical small business might accumulate around 50 GB of data and are connected to the Internet with a 1.5-megabit connection (T-1 or DSL). The time required to back up their data would be over 3 days,” he states. “Any backup system requires well-designed, well-practiced procedures to be successful. This is especially true of cloud systems where the concern is not ‘backup’ but ‘recovery’ when the data is lost and must be restored.”
If you have to recover your entire system from the cloud, it could take a very long time to re-download data, unless you only have a few files to download, adds Albus. If needing to recover your entire system, however, a local backup will make the process much faster.
“When it’s all said and done, the cloud is great and strongly recommended by most IT professionals,” Ruiz says. “So, backup to the cloud and use encrypted backup locally. Then you’ll have yourself covered under both instances, having the best of both worlds.”