In the world of new cloud-based services so much is offered for free. Obviously, companies who are offering services for free are ultimately expecting to make money in some way from their services. Unfortunately nothing in this world is without some form of cost attached.
The revenue models for "free" services are varied and these include:
Advertising in your services by third parties (Advertisers essentially pay for your service).
Expecting you to upgrade to a paid contract for either more of the service or support.
Relying on venture capital to grow the company from a number of users points of view and not having a detailed revenue plan in place - you would be surprised how many startups in the USA work like this.
Free online backup is offered by a number of service providers. The service offered is usually a free trial, which usually lasts for a period of between 14 and 90 days depending on the company's stipulations and terms.. This means, free online backup services are typically for a limited time period or offer a limited size of data that may be backed up.
We have tried a 100% free online backup service and have found that companies in South Africa are suspicious of this.
We do believe that if you want a business class service with assistance every step of the way and ongoing telephonic support to help you in critical times, it is worth paying for it. For that reason, whilst we do in fact offer free online backup for limited periods of time, we do so only to enable clients to "feel" the product and experience our services firsthand. Ultimately it is their decision to either continue the service or to cancel it.
In addition, if you think about the value of your data and what it means to your company, are you comfortable trusting XYZ free data backup services who are unknown to you and whose location you have no idea about, to manage this sensitive information? We have recently published an article on: The cost of data recovery services. Read it here
A business needs to think very carefully when choosing their supplier for online backup services. If you considering an online backup service click here to download our checklist to help you select the right backup solution for you.
If you are still debating whether or not to choose a free online backup solution or a paid for one then please consider our reasons for urging caution:
Free does typically mean very little assistance or service support when things go wrong. This is especially true of USA free services, you are simply a remote customer who has registered for this service, and they will try to upsell you but don't expect any support or assistance and if you do get it, be surprised.
Business grade security - be sure the service offered is secure and free from hacking and data theft. Is the data encrypted using your encryption key or their encryption key? Is the data encrypted at all?
Is the online backup software offered to you tried and tested? Or is the free online backup service being offered by a startup business with a version 1 software product that has, potentially, not been properly tested and debugged?
Is the free online backup service actually a backup service or is it simply a file sharing service? There is a difference. Ensure you choose wisely.
Most importantly, when you need your data returned because you have had a disaster, can you call a local company and get a support technician to help you? If necessary can this technician assist you in extracting your data so as to put it on a secure hard-drive and courier it to your premises? Can the company or said technician assist you in restoring your systems?
We love online backup.
We see the value of online data backup each and every day when we restore data for companies. This is exactly why we urge you to investigate your service provider thoroughly and we urge caution when considering a free online backup service provider.
Would you put a second rate, cheap alarm system in your house, linked to a 'fly by night's security company? Your answer is most certainly no. Your business data should be given the same treatment when selecting a backup service provider. This data is made up of your financial systems, emails, documents and spreadsheets and are the keys to your business success. Don't make a cheap choice when protecting these assets, select a business class backup solution and remember that you get what you pay for.