The Case for Cloud Backup at Home
Protecting a company’s data can be a complex endeavor. Working with backup solutions you always get asked at least these three questions:
- What is your RTO? (How long can you wait before your data is available again)
- What is your RPO? (How many minutes/hours/days of data can you afford to lose)
- How much data do you have? (this one is self-explanatory)
This also leads to other questions about mission critical systems etc. and it can really make your head spin. Backup for home use is typically a much simpler conversation.
Let’s consider some of the reasons you need to back up your files.
- Your computer might die
- You could be out of space on your computer
- You could get robbed
- A physical disaster might happen (Fire/Flood/lightning)
5 years ago a good backup solution for your house was to buy an external hard drive and put copies of you data on it. The problem now is that with multiple computers a single external USB drive will be quite the task to move around from system to system. Also if you are using the external as another storage device to free space, you no longer have two copies and the external is your master. You are still highly susceptible to hardware failure. Quickly it becomes apparent that an external hard drive sitting next to your computer is not going to protect you against all inevitabilities, or even most of them.
You could purchase a networked hard drive solution or NAS device. But the issue still remains that you are vulnerable to physical disasters and theft. Also unless the NAS device has multiple hard drives in a fault tolerant configuration you could fall victim of hardware failures.
I believe the best way to address all of these issues is with a cloud backup solution. This is not to be said that cloud or Hosted backup is not without its issues. When you move to an external vendor you will sacrifice the speed of recovery. You will also incur reoccurring charges for the space used at the vendor’s data center. With that being said, recovery time for most home users does not need to be instantaneous, and the cost is relatively low.
Some of the players in home backup:
All of these systems have a similar price per computer model (roughly $60 per year), and I have used all three at different time successfully.
The main idea is a piece of software that runs continuously to back up your computer. No external drives to track or move around. And the vendor manages the redundancy and space requirements. It’s a pretty sweet deal.
If you wanted to get particularly fancy, some HIGH end NAS devices offer cloud backup components. So you could leverage the recovery and access speed of local data, with the insurance and redundancy of cloud storage.
However you decide to protect your data, please do.