Redlance Computer Consulting, Inc. Cloud Backups – Redlance Computer Consulting, Inc

Cloud Backups


We get asked all the time- “What about backing up to “the cloud”?”

The short answer– “We think it’s a terrible idea”.

The long:

First, let’s take the magic & mystique out of the phrase “the cloud”.

What is “the cloud”?

Do this for me:  whenever you hear somebody say “the cloud”:  replace it in your head with “Somebody else’s computer”.

Where is your “cloud backup”?   The answer is, “It’s on somebody else’s computer” somewhere on the Internet.

Now why would you put all of your information on somebody else’s computer on the Internet?

You can’t recover your system from a crash using an online backup system

With a local disk image backup (the preferred method of backing up), if you have a hard drive crash- we can install a new hard drive and perform a full system recovery and you can be back in business like nothing happened.


With an online backup, you simply can’t do that.    You would have to completely rebuild your system from scratch, reinstall your programs, locate your license codes, find your software, re-customize your settings, then go to your online backup and only recover what was backed up.

That’s a huge waste of time (and money).

Monthly Expense

Why does everybody talk about backing up to the cloud?   You hear so much chatter because companies make a lot of money on you in the process, and it’s a reliable source of income for them.   You’re signing up for a subscription and paying somebody every month for the privilege of hanging onto a copy of your data, when you can buy your own backup and own it forever.

That kind of revenue stream creates a lot of buzz and excitement about it, most of it coming from the companies that sell it, so of course it sounds neat and exciting to do.


This is a huge one.  With more and more people backing up to “the cloud” (remember, “somebody else’s computer”), you’re consolidating a LOT of highly sensitive information in one place.  Your data is backed up with thousands of other customer’s data in the same giant honey pot of data, which is very attractive to hackers.

Why wear a bullseye and dare somebody to crack the security of your online backup system and compromise your data?   The Internet was NOT made for security, and it’s more hackable than you think.

Furthermore, if you get your data stolen- you might not ever know it.   This puts your personal information at risk, and if you have files with your customer’s data or information- it puts their information at risk too.

Chain of control

Who has access to your data when it’s online?  Anybody working for the company you choose has access to your data.

There are also legal questions about entities requesting access to your data.  If you have physical control of your data, somebody would need a subpoena served on you to access it, and you’d know.

When it’s online, that subpoena gets served to the online company and you might not ever be aware that somebody is legally rifling through your stuff.    This could include the government or anybody entering a legal dispute with you.

Identity Theft

You’ve heard of identity theft?  Somebody can pose as you, access your backups, and lock you out of your own backups.  Good luck trying to convince a company that has never met you because you signed up with an online form and provided information that somebody else now has to unlock your account and grant you access.    As easy as it may be for you to regain access to your account is as easy as it is for somebody else to pose as you and take it from you.

Everybody always focuses on the “SSL 256-bit encryption” and other technologies used to protect transactions, when it’s easy enough for a hacker to send a password reset request via email to regain access.    Somebody hacks your emails account, they can hack every other service you use, including online backup services.

Internet Suck

Most online backup systems back up “all the time”.  When a file changes, that uploaded file gets backed up- which means your Internet is being highly used when you’re working, slowing everything down for you and everything else you do on the Internet.

Restores take forever too.  Does your physical backup take hours to run?  Expect days or weeks to be able to recover your data, depending on how much data you have and how fast your Internet connection is.

Online backup simply can’t back up some things

Exchange databases, SQL databases, and similar systms simply can’t be backed up on line.    Online backups can only back up single files, not live databases that “live” as a collection of ever open and ever changing file structures.

If you have to recover your data from an online backup, don’t be surprised if it doesn’t include everything you had when you thought you were backing up your system.

Who’s best interest?

Backing up to the cloud involves you taking all of your personal and confidential information and handing it over to a company on the Internet, and entrusting them to keep it safe.  Are you crazy?!?

Whatever company you pick has a fiduciary responsibility to it’s shareholders to make money- not to you.   That company is going to operate in its best interests- not yours.  If they have to make a decision on making money or harming you- they’re going to pick door #1 every single time.

When you do your own physical backups, you’re looking out for you.

Our recommendations?

This “cloud backup” is a relatively new phenomenon fueled by companies providing cheap online storage for a monthly fee and massive profits.  It’s not in your best interest, it’s in theirs.

We prefer the tried & tested old fashioned “keep your backups in your hands”.   How do you think Google backs up?    The back up to tape, believe it or not.  When it’s important, it’s physical.  (see this article)

For most people, a single external hard drive running a scheduled backup like Windows Backup or some other image backup solution is great.   Backups are scheduled to run, and you’d check them periodically to make sure they’re working (like anything else you’d do).


For companies or people who just want an extra layer of protection, we recommend the addition of a 2nd layer of backups- off site removable backups.

F2 - RDX Cartridge

In addition to the backups going to  the external hard drive, we’d install a removable technology that allows you to take daily or weekly backups to a removable media (like a hard drive cartridge or tape), so you can take them off-line and/or off-site and have multiple offline backups.

This maximizes your protection by physically moving a copy of your data off of your computer, where crypto viruses, fires, theft, or flood can ruin your computer and fixed drive backups.

When would we recommend online backups?

If you really don’t care about your information, if it’s hacked or not, or if you have no other backup at all, then any kind of backup is better than nothing.