There are several pros of cloud-based backup for SMBs. One is the ability to get a copy of data off-site along with potentially offloading some of the day-to-day management tasks. Depending on the service or solution, another benefit is the ability to move more data over a given network service in a shorter amount of time along with insuring that it is secure and protected. However, there are limits on how much data can be moved in a given amount of time over networks, along with accessibility of data should the provider go offline, one of the downsides to cloud-based backup.
Off-site backups to cloud and managed service providers (MSP) should be a compliment to some form of local-based backup. That is, you should have a local copy of data and a remote copy at another location to insure that if local data is not accessible, it can be retrieved from the cloud or MSP. Likewise, if data needs to be recovered and the cloud provider is offline, data can still be recovered locally. This might not be practical for all data, however, you should still align the applicable level of protection to meet the required recovery time objective (RTO) and recovery point objective (RPO) requirements. Do I practice what I preach? Yes. I back up locally as well as back up some data to a cloud MSP with encryption enabled for both.
This was first published in November 2009