By Jennifer Marsh

Jennifer Marsh is a software developer, programmer and technology writer and occasionally blogs for Rackspace Hosting.

cloud-backupIt’s never a priority until it happens. That day when the server’s hard drive crashes is a day of disaster, so data administrators should always make corporate backups a part of everyday maintenance. Instead of telling the boss that data is lost, backups can have the company back up and running soon. An even more reliable method is creating backups in the cloud.

Advantages of the Cloud vs In-house Servers

The cloud has several advantages over the standard in-house file servers used to store backups. First, the cloud can alleviate the need for expensive hard drives and equipment for archive storage. Full backups are snapshots of the operating system and files on a server, so they are several gigabytes in size. To store these backups for long periods of time, the company needs to house large data server facilities. Maintaining these facilities is costly, but cloud hosting only charges for the space and resources used, eliminating much of the cost of backup storage.

Disasters don’t only occur from hard drive failures. Power outages and hardware failure can bring down a company’s internet and corporate network. In the situation with Hurricane Sandy, any business located along the region of the disaster was at risk of losing their data from the vulnerability of their servers’ locations. Cloud backup storage would prevent data loss because the data would be located elsewhere from the storm. With cloud storage, the IT administrator can use the cloud host as a backup site in case the internal network fails. This is important if the internal servers support a public-facing website that generates revenue. A downed site can cost the company thousands in revenue, but with cloud hosting, an emergency site can generate revenue and keep the business income streaming while repairs are made to the internal servers.

Cloud hosts implement data centers, so the data is also transferred more quickly and it’s always available even when off-site. This means that an administrator can restore data remotely in case of an emergency. In general, having cloud storage means the backups are maintained and kept secure 24 hours a day without the need to use internal staff for overnight support.

Support, cost and reliability are three major reasons companies should rely on the cloud instead of the headaches involved with disaster recovery. It isn’t a matter of “if” the disaster occurs. It’s a matter of “when.” With cloud hosting, the “when” can entail minimal downtime and a complete recovery in the end.