Cloud backup and cloud storage: what is the difference?

The cloud hype has blurred the lines between cloud storage and cloud backup. Many providers like it that way because it gives them a broader appeal in capturing potential customers. But clouding up cloud definitions confuses the market. In reality they are very different solutions for different business challenges.

What is cloud storage?

Cloud storage, like Dropbox, Google Drive, Apple’s iCloud and Microsoft’s SkyDrive, is a great way to easy share files. The main goal of cloud storage is to store files online to be accessible, and to work with, from any device anywhere. You can compare it with a cloud based USB flash drive.

However, there is no guarantee, no monitoring and reporting, no support and if a server goes down in one of their data centers, you may never see those files again. The majority of the services have a web interface for you to upload files. Therefore files can only be encrypted on the server side; making transportation less secure. They do not offer an automated process for uploading or syncing files between your computer and their service. Files have to be put over manually or placed in a shared folder to be synced. And last but not least, only files and folders can be stored, so no application data.

Cloud Storage is a great way to share documents. However, it isn’t the place to back up your business-critical applications and documents.

What is cloud backup?

Cloud backup is a cloud-based application, which provides you with the ability to automatically backup your files, applications, virtual machines or servers and store them safely for disaster recovery purposes. Cloud Backup is an insurance for your data and business continuity.

Cloud backup is typically built around a local client application that runs on a, ideally multiple times daily, automatic schedule in the background. The application collects, compresses, encrypts and transfers data to the service provider’s servers. To reduce the amount of bandwidth consumed and the time it takes to transfer files, the service provider provides incremental backups after the initial full backup.

The primary data resides in the original location where secondary stored data is safely stored to the cloud, to be used for data recovery. The cloud backup solution stores all data with a custom retention policy, so you can fix corrupted files by restoring earlier versions of a file. Professional cloud backup solutions comprise special plugins to back up data from third party applications (e.g. MS Outlook, Exchange, SQL). Clear reporting on the success of the backups, makes it easy to verify if all files are safe.

Speak to me if you are interested in setting up Cloud backup on your PC , Server or Mac

Document Management from Storetec coming soon

Another great product coming to our cloud based product catalogue – StoreTec Document Management. Achieve an all-digital workplace with Document Management from Storetec. Easily upload paper documents into the Cloud, such as confidential and sensitive invoices or documents, and store them securely online with access to them 24/7, from any location.

The Paper Trail

It’s highly likely that you still have bits of paper in desk drawers, in folders and filed away in cabinets. And most of those documents are likely to include sensitive information about current or former employees, clients and past invoices that need to be kept for auditing purposes. We know you have a paper trail. Every business does. But what if you could digitise that paper trail and even locate those documents easily with OCR capabilities – a quick search and find feature?

Introducing Document Management

Document Management is just that. Everything is stored within the ultra-secure hosting platform and all your documents are accessible in mere minutes. Since the average office worker spends 2.5 hours each week looking for misplaced, misfiled or lost paperwork, using Document Management means you can save 10 hours per month on average without experiencing any hassle.

It’s a real space saver

Paper documents take up approximately 18% of modern office space – that’s a huge chunk of space that could be better spent elsewhere in your business. With Document Management, you can purchase up to 50,000 DSUs (Document Storage Units / Pages) for unlimited users. Plus, it’s competitively priced too.

Full encryption at your fingertips

With GDPR around the corner, your business doesn’t have to worry when it comes to their document storage, while security is a major factor too. Document Management keeps your files stored securely in a UK-based Tier-4 Data Centre with layers of hack-proof encryption, so your data is always safe in the Cloud.

No software to install

Document Management is available directly from a cloud hosting platform, so that means there’s no software to install.

If you need more info, or would like to register interest , let me know.

Acronis Tutorial – Five Keys to Finding the Best Cloud Storage for You

Published here :

Whether it’s smartphones giving driving directions or business files housed on corporate servers, our reliance on data is constantly evolving and forever expanding. To put that growth into perspective, IDC estimates there will be a 10-fold rise in worldwide data by 2025.

The more data we rely on, the more data we have to store. The challenge is keeping it secure and accessible at the same time. Online storage is a great way to complete that task, but few people know how to evaluate their options to find the best cloud storage for them.

The good news is that by examining vendors based on just five questions, you can easily find a cloud storage service that fits your needs, both for personal and corporate data.

Wait…what is cloud storage?

Simply put, it is a way to store data off-site on a network of servers that you access through an internet connection. Rather than saving your files and folders on your computer or another local storage device like an external hard drive or network attached storage (NAS), you upload your data to a server network located somewhere else.

Because it’s internet accessible, you can retrieve a file from the cloud anytime, anywhere, on any internet-enabled device.

cloud storage

To ensure you’re choosing one of the best cloud storage providers – one that can deliver convenient access reliably, securely and affordably – we recommend you keep the following five questions in mind.

1. What is the cloud storage service doing for you?

Not all vendors are the same, so you’ll want to know exactly what services you’re entitled to and how your data will be handled. That means you’ll need to carefully review the company’s service level agreement (SLA) before signing up. It defines the terms of the agreement and clearly establishes the level of service you can expect from the cloud provider.

The SLA will also detail the level of availability you can expect from a cloud service provider’s network, which is important. You don’t want to pay for anywhere, anytime access and then find out you cannot connect because their data center is off-line.

We talk more about availability below, but it’s worth remembering that quality vendors will proudly tout their monthly availability rate in the company’s SLA.

Cloud storage vs. cloud backup

Historically cloud storage was for anyone who wanted convenient access to their data from anywhere, while cloud backup stored a backup of your data off-site so it could be used to easily restore your system.

Acronis True Image blurs the line by combining file sync and share capabilities with online backup, giving you the best of both worlds.

2. How do they keep my data safe?

The remote, off-site nature of cloud storage gives your data an added level of protection in case the original file is lost because of hardware failure, ransomware infection, natural disaster, or even accidental deletion. But how is the vendor securing the files on their servers?

Keeping your data safe

While your data is on the server network, the cloud provider should take steps to keep that data safe. Find out how they protect their data centers. Are their security personnel on-site 24/7? Is there video surveillance of the server rooms? How do they control physical access to the data center? Acronis’ data centers, for example, demand both biometric and security token-based authentication to gain access.

Getting your files to the data center also needs to be secure, so any cloud storage service you consider should offer robust, personal key encryption. That will safeguard your data when it is in transit to and stored in the cloud. Personal key encryption means the user sets their own keys and passwords so not even the vendor can decrypt the files while they are on the server network, while in-transit encryption protects the files from being compromised or stolen while being uploaded or downloaded.

Looking for the best cloud storage for business?

Why reinvent the wheel? If you’re looking for a business solution, start by asking the peers in your professional network what services they use and whether they’d recommend them. Once you’ve collected some suggestions from trusted colleagues, you’ll have an informed perspective when you talk to the vendor.

When evaluating a cloud storage provider, ask how many corporate customers they have. Find out the how many companies (not the number of users) and whether they cover many businesses of your size. You could also inquire how many of their clients are in your industry, since they’ll have similar data needs as yours.

3. Will they be there when I need them?

It doesn’t matter if you’re entrusting a cloud storage service with your company’s important documents or precious family photos. In both cases, you need to know the vendor will still be there when you need those files, so assess the company’s short-term and long-term availability.

In the short term, you’ll want to know that they offer technical support if the need arises. The SLA should provide support details, but make sure the cloud vendor you pick provides technical support 24/7/365.

In the long-term, you want to choose a vendor who isn’t likely to go out of business. There are two easy ways to judge a company’s viability and likely longevity.

Consider a vendor with an established, stable customer base. Providers who are consistently meeting the needs of businesses or families like yours are more likely to have the foundation needed to survive. But do a little digging to see if they are losing customers, which would be an obvious red flag.

A more reliable option is to examine their financial standing. Publicly traded companies are simple since you can review their annual report, but even established private companies can be quickly researched online. Be wary of newcomers who do not have established track records, customer bases or business models, or your cloud cover might blow away unexpectedly.

4. Where is my data located?

There are several reasons why knowing the location of the data center storing your files. To start, there might be compliance requirements for your industry that require the data center not be overseas.

data centers

The location can also impact the data transfer speeds. A regional data center can provide faster access your data because if the data center on the other side of the globe, your upload and download speeds will be slower. You’ll want to find a cloud backup provider who offers access to regional data centers and, even better, allows you to choose the data center location.

5. Do they have any necessary certifications?

There are a few categories of certifications you might consider before signing any cloud storage contract.

Data security is critical for the reasons outlined above, so choose a vendor that can certify they have the best safeguards. Companies whose data centers feature the best operational and security controls will hold either a SSAE-16 or SAS 70 type II certification. ISO 27001 certification can also show that a cloud service vendor has met the international standards for information security management.

Your access to the cloud should be uninterrupted. The vendor you choose should have data centers with redundant power and environmental controls in place that will provide constant availability. While the SLA will detail the level of availability you can expect, you can limit your search to vendors whose data centers offer Tier IV certification – the highest ranking available.

Finally, if your industry demands regulatory requirements, ask if the cloud provider has relevant certifications. Healthcare companies will need a vendor that meets the compliance standards of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

Final Thought

Because of the explosion of data usage and the size of the files we must to keep, families and businesses of all sizes need convenient, secure, and affordable storage solutions. As a result, countless cloud storage companies have opened their doors during the last several years. Some are proven vendors like Acronis, with robust cloud offerings, while others only have basic services or new companies trying to establish themselves.

By evaluating a potential vendor’s level of service, security, availability, location and certifications, you can ensure your family or business data will not only be stored safely in the cloud, but it will be accessible for when you need it – now and in the future.

Mail Services Offered by PR PC Support

We are pleased to be able to offer Microsoft Hosted Exchange mailboxes and all versions of Office 365 at competitive rates. If you are thinking of moving your email to a more secure, robust and protected mail service , or even if you currently have a Hosted Exchange mailbox or Office 365 licence – speak to me and see if I can get you a better deal for existing users or a competitive quote for new users.

All our hosted Exchange mailboxes come with free email signature software with each mailbox.

We also offer a Secure email service which works with most common email platforms.

For more information please browse below


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Why iCloud, Google Drive, and Dropbox Can’t Truly Protect Your Data

Today, most people understand cloud applications and cloud computing, but some still question the differences between a cloud backup solution, like Acronis, and cloud storage services, such as iCloud, Google Drive, and Dropbox. In some cases, the providers of the latter three products advertise their services as a backup solution. In other cases, consumers believe that anytime they store data in the cloud, it’s always protected in the event of loss. Let’s set the record straight when it comes to online backup vs. cloud storage services!

How Are Cloud Storage Services Different From Backup Software?

To start, take a look at the definitions of the different types of cloud storage services available today:

1. iCloud is a cloud solution from Apple Computer Inc. that provides cloud storage and apps for Apple desktop, tablet, and mobile devices. It includes the ability to store documents, videos, photos, music and other data online, and users can synchronize it between iOS-powered devices. Here you can also view iCloud Photos shared between different devices.

2. Google Drive is a personal cloud storage service from Google that lets users store and synchronize digital content across computers, laptops and mobile devices, including Android-powered tablet and smartphone devices. If you delete a file — whether intentionally or by accident — it’s gone.

3. Dropbox is a cloud storage service that enables users to store files on remote cloud servers with the ability to share files within a synchronized format.

The bottom line is that iCloud, Google Drive, and Dropbox are designed for cloud storage with the primary objective of synchronizing data between devices so that documents, videos, photos, and music can be accessed and shared – and they do a good job at this.

For example, you may use your iPhone to take pictures but want to view these pictures on your iPad. You can use iCloud, Google Drive, or Dropbox, which store the pictures that are on your iPhone in the cloud. Then, you can access and view the pictures that are stored in the cloud using your iPad.

While Google Drive and Dropbox are not advertised as backup solutions, Apple does advertise iCloud as a backup solution. However, iCloud can only back up your mobile device and only some of the data on your Mac computer.

On the other hand, cloud backup software (also called online backup) protects data and systems in the event of file loss or deletion, stolen or lost devices, mishaps and disasters. Unlike public cloud storage services, today’s more complete backup solutions can back up everything to both the cloud and local disks and drives. This includes pictures, videos, documents, contacts, calendars, reminders, even an entire computer. You can restore a new device in a matter of minutes and be totally back up, running, and on the go — something that no public cloud storage service can do.

3 Ways Cloud Backup Solutions Provide More Protection Than Cloud Storage Services

Below are three ways that online backup solutions provide more protection and broader features than public cloud storage services:

1. Protects your entire PC or Mac computer — includes the operating system, applications, data, preferences, history, etc. — a full disk image backup protects everything on your computer. And you can restore everything to a new computer quickly.

2. Preserves all your mobile device content – includes pictures, videos, contacts, and events on your iPhones, iPads, and Android devices.

3. Manages all computers and devices from one place – backup and restore all your PCs, laptops, and mobile devices from a single online dashboard. Replace and restore devices any time from any place. This is great for families and households with multiple computers and mobile devices to look after.

Acronis True Image has been backing up computers for millions of people for more than 10 years. The latest Acronis True Image Cloud solution protects your entire digital life, and our latest release now includes support for mobile devices, unlimited cloud storage and personal archiving, and the ability to manage all computers and devices from a single online dashboard.