Businesses continue to turn to the cloud to reap the benefits of hosted solutions. While it is now common knowledge that your organization’s hardware and software no longer need to reside in the office, many are unaware that simply having your data in the cloud does not mean it is backed up.
The most popular cloud hosted service to date is Microsoft’s Office 365, which offers businesses the ability to host all of their Email data in the cloud, increases employee productivity and simplified the upgrade process for Office applications like Word and Excel. According to Microsoft, some 60 million monthly Office 365 subscriptions have been sold since the advent of the solution in 2011. In the same span of time Microsoft has seen a 320% increase in companies with employees using at least one of the Office products offered through Office 365. Prior to the release of Office 365 many, if not most, large and small organizations utilized Microsoft Exchange, which is an on-premises Email solution requiring onsite hardware and manual upkeep.
In the Information Technology industry, we can look at the success of Microsoft’s hosted email solution as a microcosm for anticipated successes in other hosted service categories. The benefits of hosted solutions are now obvious. There is no need to maintain costly hardware, warranties, updates and backups when corporations can outsource these complexities for a fraction of the cost of maintaining internal IT staff. However, while the benefits are now obvious, one pivotal consideration is often missed; backups.
Whether you’re signing up for hosted email, servers or any variety of cloud-based application it is important to ask how the data is backed up and for how long. Many cloud solutions, Office 365 included, do not offer true data backup by default. As an example, when you host any data with a cloud provider your data will reside on a server in one of several data centers. In the event that server went down your data would be migrated to another server within the same data center, resulting in no downtime. However, if the datacenter went offline your data would be inaccessible and potentially lost forever. To address this, many hosting providers offer offsite replication, which simply means your data could be migrated to a wholly separate data center, probably in another state, should the original data center go offline. Conversely, and this is especially true with office 365, you can use third party services to back up your Office 365 email data to a wholly separate cloud. In doing so, you can ensure your data is always safe and accessible from two separate hosted locations.
The costs to facilitate either type of cloud backup differ greatly between vendors. Consult your trusted IT advisor to assess your current cloud backup needs.