cloud storageNo, this isn’t about the afterlife.  It’s about how you can store files someplace that never runs out of room, and back up your important data in a safe place outside your home or office.

Corporations store their data backup in salt mines and high security off-site locations.  That’s a little extreme (and expensive) for most small businesses, but the need for secure storage and backup isn’t limited to large corporations.  A flood, fire or natural disaster could wipe out your computer and your locally-stored flash drives and portable hard drives.  Frequent back-ups to a storage location reduce your risk of a catastrophic data loss.

Storage capacity is another challenge for many users.  While storage costs have decreased tremendously, making terabytes of capacity reasonably priced, some users rapidly exceed their on-site storage capability.

Fortunately, Cloud computing offers alternatives for both data security and data storage.

Carbonite, Mozy, MyOtherDrive, iBackup, Dropbox, GoogleDocs, GoDaddy, Sugarsync, ElephantDrive, LiveDrive, MyPCBackup and other sites offer Cloud-based data backup and storage capabilities.  Most sites provide automated back-up, making it less likely that you’ll forget to update files.  In addition, files stored on the Cloud can be accessed from any location, giving you portability.

When looking into Cloud-based data storage, remember that you’re entrusting your sensitive files to a third party.  Here are some questions to consider as you weigh your alternatives.

  • What happens to my data if the provider is sold, merged or goes out of business?
  • How does the provider assure site security?
  • What precautions are taken against hackers?
  • How does the provider do its own back-up to assure my data is safe if the provider has a catastrophic event at their location?
  • What do other users say about the ease of use, security and customer support?

Cloud-based storage and back-up can be valuable and affordable services.  Having your files saved from just one on-site disaster could well be worth the investment in monthly fees.  As always, be sure to check out provider options to find the service that is the best fit for your business.

About the Author/Post

The above blog is excerpted from 30 Days to Virtual Productivity Success by Gail Martin. Order this book on 9/26 and get great bonus items.

Gail Martin specializes in helping small businesses, coaches, consultants, authors and other solopreneurs market effectively regardless of the size of their budgets. Gail is an author, speaker and entrepreneur who knows how to make marketing make sense.