How Cloud Backups Are Evolving
Technology moves at a breakneck pace. We went from no computers to a futuristic medley of LCD screens in a matter of decades. Cloud backups, a natural byproduct of the change, are certainly keeping up to speed with the rest of technology. As the industry continues to evolve and become easier to use, forgetting to back up your data will seem as dated as using a Walkman.
How Cloud Backups Began
Back in the Dark Ages (also known as the 1970s), when computers were still a high-tech dream to most of the population, the first backup was born. Exybate, a company no longer in existence, began creating magnetic tape storage products for customers who needed a way to back up their data. From there, hard-copy backups became a popular way to back up data, from floppy discs to CDs to flash and external hard drives.
Without high-speed internet, cloud backups were not a possibility. But as the internet sped up from an infuriatingly slow dialup speed to high-speed solutions, cloud backups naturally followed. The first true cloud backup companies formed in the late 1990s, when the internet was really hitting its stride.
The Typical Cloud Backup
Cloud backups have already come a long way. Today, there are several elements that customers can expect from their cloud backup providers.
- Software As A Service (SaaS): Cloud backup is normally delivered as a hosted service to customers. The provider deals with purchasing, housing, and maintaining expensive servers, while the customer rents the space that they need for their backup and enjoys hassle-free service.
- Automatic Backups: Cloud backups are designed to occur automatically for the most part, running behind the scenes while you use your computer. This is especially true of unlimited plans, which essentially keep the entire contents of your computer updated at all times.
- Access From Anywhere: Cloud backups allow you to access your files from any device with internet access, be it a computer, tablet, or smartphone. This eliminates the need to email yourself files or carry a flash drive around.
- Security: Protected behind fortified cryptography, firewalls, and anti-theft measures like passwords, the cloud is designed to keep your data safe. While credit card systems in stores and banks have suffered breach after breach, the cloud backup industry has remained largely untouched by hackers.
- Internet-Based: Typically, the entire cloud backup system currently occurs in the cloud. Initial backups, regular backups, and restores must occur over an internet connection. This is ideal for regular backups, which don’t require as much data. But for large data transfers like initial backups and restores, this model is not as ideal.
Where Cloud Backups are Headed
Looking at the cloud backup industry as it stands, it is clear that there are significant changes in store that will make cloud backups even more efficient than they are now. Here’s what cloud backups may look like in a few years.
- Hybrid Backups: Backing up to both an accessible hard copy and to a remote cloud location has proven to be the most effective backup method time and time again. If you lose your data, you can immediately recover it using your accessible copy, but if your house burns down and you lose both copies, you will still get your data back via your cloud backup. Some companies, such as CrashPlan, are already embracing the hybrid backup model, and this will probably spread in popularity as time goes on.
- Hard Copy Initial Backup/Restore: Although they charge a pretty penny and only offer such services to large companies, cloud backup providers like Mozy already have the capacity to complete your initial via a hard drive through the mail. Others, like BackBlaze, can send customers in need of a data restore copies of their data on hard drives or flash drive for a fee. These services, which eliminate the need to transfer huge amounts of data via the internet, will probably become more accessible to general consumers in the future.
- All-Device Backup: Backups tailored specifically to smartphones have already arrived. Future backups may take care of all of your devices, from tablets to desktops, pool all of the data, and grant access via one user-friendly interface.
Cloud backups are already the best way to keep your data updated and accessible. And, with future changes on the horizon, the skies are looking even better up ahead.