You’ve heard it all before – “Make sure you keep a backup of your computers and their data.”

But why? Here are the three reasons we give our clients to use an off-site, cloud based backup service.

But before we get started, we’re not talking about Dropbox or Google Drive or OneDrive here. They are file synchronisation services, not “backup” services. They’re better than NOTHING if you must use them as a backup, but that’s not really what they’re designed for. We’re talking about a service like Code42 Crashplan or Backblaze, which offer both on-site and cloud based backup services.

So, on to the reasons…

1. Computers are unreliable.

Yep, as much as we love them, computers fail. Drives fail. Data gets corrupted. This includes local network server drives, USB drives and portable hard drives. One day they’re working, the next morning you go to turn your computer on and… nothing. Or you get the dreaded blue screen of death or you go to open a file only to find you can’t for some unknown reason. These things (and more) can and do happen. We see it every day.

2. People are unreliable.

We hear it all the time – “I back up to a portable hard drive and take it with me everywhere.”

That’s great. It puts these people ahead of most. At least they HAVE a backup. But what happens if they leave their bag on the train? Or their car gets broken into? Bye bye back-up. Even if it’s encrypted and no-one can access the data, you no longer have your back-up.

Some people have two drives and keep two back-ups, with a different person taking each drive. This is a good solution for a small operation, as the likelihood of both drives falling into the wrong hands at the same time is, well, unlikely. For larger operations though, with terabytes of data backed up, it’s just not feasible.

3. Sh*t happens.

These are the extreme reasons. The “worst case” scenarios. Your office burns down, or gets broken into, or flooded. If you have a server with terabytes of data on it, sitting under a desk (as a lot of small business do) and disaster strikes, it’s quite possible that the server AND any backup drives you’re also backing up to will be on-site, and thus destroyed.

For all of the above reasons, we recommend our clients use an offsite, cloud-based solution to backup their data, or at the very least, backup their data to a cloud server like Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure (though these can get expensive for this purpose). These services all provide a remote location for your data, and at the very least, the option of redundancy.

If you’re not ready to use one of these services, at least start by using the built-in backup features in Windows or MacOS.

So ask yourself – what would happen if any of these scenarios were to befall your business? What is your backup strategy?