Google it rolling out an online storage service. It will apparently compete with existing online services like Box.Net in providing a way for users for store their data online. Storing data (or copies of data) somewhere other than your computer is a good business practice. After all, at some point, your local hard drive will fail and along with that your files can become inaccessible.
Online Storage differs slightly from services that provide Online Backup. Online backup services such as IBackup or Iron Mountain offer systems by which you can store backup copies of important files and documents on their servers. They are meant to hold copies that you might need in an emergency and they aren’t geared toward being the primary storage for your files and documents. Online Storage services approach it from the standpoint of their service being the primary storage location for your files and documents (rather than backups copies). Although, I’m sure you could use an Online Storage as an online backup system as well.
Either offers several advantages. You can access your files from anywhere and they provide offsite storage for your files to protect against hard drive failure or other local equipment failure. In either case, you will want to make sure the solution they are offering is secure and failsafe. Failsafe, meaning what happens when their systems fail? What kind of redundancy and backup do they have?
One major consideration in offline storage is what happens if your internet connection becomes unavailable (for example, if you have an extended power outage). If you have a notebook computer, you can probably get around this by moving to a Starbucks for the afternoon. But if you have a fixed desktop computer, this can be an issue with online storage.
It’s important for a home based business or any small business to protect important files and documents. Traditional backup methods such as tape drives and external drives are rapidly being replaced by online solutions. What about you? What do you do to protect your important files and documents for your home-based business?