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Arranging for the backup of systems and data has traditionally been a major responsibility and chore for all IT users. Any form of local data backup within a company network requires hardware, software, discipline and not a little luck that when you come to restore the crucial backup, the backup archive actually contains what you hope to find. And if the problem is a fire or other physical hazard, do you religiously take a verified copy home every night?

The advent of cloud computing (and improved bandwidth) means that offsite data storage can now be someone else’s problem. There are a wide variety of online backup services available, or you can configure your own using solution using rented disk space from our hosting cloud.

Cloud servers operate with RAID disk storage systems for resilience, Although this helps prevent hardware data loss, it also means that any errors in the data are also be replicated. If you need to restore an earlier version, then some form of dated managed backup scheme is necessary.

The cost and complexity of managed backup schemes can quickly escalate as backups of backups are required, and these need to be constantly verified. At some point a practical view of where to draw the line will be taken.

No automated backup system (that you will want to pay for) is ever going to be 100% reliable. Always carry the “crown jewels” of your business-critical data on an encrypted USB memory stick. 64GByte costs are now around £50, and 128G around £130. No excuses.

And as a golden rule, always keep a local copy of any uploaded website data in exactly the correct folder hierarchy.