Disaster recovery needs leading SMBs to cloud

Disaster recovery needs leading SMBs to cloud

Summary: At least one-third of small businesses in a Symantec study pointed to data backup as a big consideration for their move to the cloud, echoing other research.


More than one-third of small and midsize businesses are using private or public cloud services, and the need for better data protection and backup options is leading them there, according to a new Symantec survey.

The research, which tapped the opinons of more than 2,050 SMBs with five to 250 employees in 30 countries, found that 43 percent of the respondents were using private cloud services, while 40 percent have opted for public offerings.

An interest in being prepared for technology disruptions or supporting a growing number of mobile workers played a big role in the adoption of those services, the vendor reports. (We shouldn't be surprised because, after all, this data is published as part of Symantec's 2012 Disaster Preparedness Survey.)

But the fact is that the need to be prepared for a data disruption had a "moderate to large" effect on at least 34 percent of the SMBs that had opted for cloud services, the research shows.

It's another classic dilemma for small businesses: on the one hand, cloud services could help provide a need for something that most small companies can't handle and manage on their own -- ongoing backup and business continuity planning. On the other, putting your data in the public cloud remains inherently insecure.

The Symantec research dovetails with an April 2012 survey about SMB IT spending by Spiceworks that actually suggests a higher level of cloud services usage. In that study, cloud backup was listed as the third most popular cloud service.

Leading cloud backup and storage services specifically focused on small businesses include Backblaze, Carbonite, Mozy and SpiderOak.

When I interviewed several IT solution providers about this subject in April, they told me that are routinely suggesting that their clients use a cloud service to back up if the only alternative is to do nothing at all.

They sounded a word of caution about cloud storage services, such as Box, Dropbox and Google Drive, saying these services are inherently insecure. "[Small businesses] assume safety with the cloud, whether that is true or not," said Larry Velez, chief technical officer of Sinu, a managed service provider in New York. "In some cases, this is reasonable. The bigger danger is whether you are able to go back in time."

Velez's comment refers to the fact that many cloud storage offerings don't offer version control, so if someone overwrites a file, it can be difficult to recover an early version (or versions).

Something to think about.

Topic: Cloud

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  • As a small business owner disater recovery is why I rejected the cloud

    I am a consultant and have worked in the fault tolerant industry for a number of years. I seriously investigated both cloud storage and various cloud services, and concluded the typical cloud firm either knows nothing about disaster recover or doesn't care about their customers data.

    When you start pinning these people down they say they are resilant or even fault tolerant because they are a cloud. Sorry that does not cut it, I have seen clouds that run off a single rack, or all pass through one network switch, this is not fault tolerant! When I talk to service suppliers and ask if I use their service what capabilites I have for backing up on my own system, most of the time they go silent.

    Until someone gets a clue, I tell my client to run from any cloud solution.
    • Google drive desktop?

      If I am understanding your concern correctly, it would be google drive desktop. I never used them but, i can make them offline on my phone so i suppose the google drive desktop does that.
      • Do you trust Google?

        Sorry but I and none of my clients trust Google. In fact friends of mine are looking into how much data mining they have done on gmail.
  • Cloud not up to task

    I am currently looking into DR for a SMB and two companies we work with have already advised against using the cloud for data recovery. It may depend on a company's requirements but I think there is a lot still to iron out with the cloud before we can fully trust their services. Also, depending on how quickly a company needs to start up after a disaster, the cloud is still relatively slow according to our sources and will only be used for recovery if we lose our building and have no other choice. I am also aware of the issues highlighted by 'oldsysprog'