Onsite vs Cloud
Onsite backups are the cheapest option and can be setup with a one-time purchase. Onsite backups also have the advantage of being quick to deploy in the event they are needed. The downsides of exclusively onsite backups are that they are not protected from the 3 F’s (fire, floods, & felons) and need to be checked frequently to verify they are working. While a cloud or offsite backup provides protection from damage at the backup location, they are accompanied by an ongoing fee usually per GB or per device. Offsite backups also require bandwidth – scheduling backups to occur after hours can mitigate this depending on the amount of data. If you need to restore a large amount of data from a cloud backup it can take some time to download.
Bare Metal vs File Level
Not all backups are created equal. Backing up your critical files is … critical, but the other problem is downtime. If a computer breaks and you can restore critical files that is great, but you still have a lot of time to spend restoring settings, downloading programs, and configuring the new computer. A “bare metal” backup allows you to restore all settings, programs, and files to a new computer. Where a bare metal backup is not as helpful is if you just want to grab a single file that was accidently deleted or corrupted. A combination of file level and bare metal backups give the best of both worlds.
Backups are all about preparing for damage, disaster, or ransomware. While those are certainly the most damaging and the primary reason for backing up your data, an added bonus is the ability to retrieve that file you deleted a few months ago that you thought you would never need. Of course, longer retention times mean more $.