Small Business Backups: how the NBN can help

05 July 2017

Regardless of the  size of the business you run, you probably do a lot of work online. Whether it is emailing clients, researching projects online, digital note-taking, or transferring important documents, your business creates a significant cache of digital documents and the effect of losing them would range from a headache to a full-blown nightmare.

Which is why you backup. Even if you don't think of your business as a digital business, you should still consider keeping two copies of everything, somewhere.

One way of doing this is to make a physical copy of your files on a hard drive, and save another copy to an online cloud storage service.

Now, this article isn't designed to recommend specific cloud storage service -- and many exist -- but instead we want to look at how your choice of NBN plan can impact how successfully you'll use the service you choose. 

For a great guide to some of the available cloud services, check out this article from PC World.

Continuous syncing and big data dumps

Backing up data usually happens in one of two ways: either your data is backed up continuously throughout the data, or your system regularly creates a copy of everything and uploads it one a single transmission. Cloud services tend to offer one or both of these options, and which you choose will depend on your internet connection.

Which is where the NBN comes into the equation.

Backing up to a cloud service requires a good upload speed, and this is one of the factors that differentiates the different NBN speed tiers. Each of the four tiers has incrementally better upload options. 

  • NBN 12: with just a 1Mbps upload limit, NBN 12 plans are a pretty bad idea for most small businesses.
  • NBN 25: slightly better with 5Mbps upload. NBN 25 could be a good option for a home office or sole trader.
  • NBN 50: with 20Mbps upload speeds, NBN 50 plans are a decent choice for small business.
  • NBN 100: the best of the bunch with 40Mbps for uploading files.

If you choose a cloud storage service with continuous sync, you should almost think of this like another staff member using the internet alongside your actual staff.

If you just plan on running overnight backups, you might get by with one of the slower NBN tiers, depending on the total file size of your nightly backups. Remember that there are 8 megabits in 1 megabyte, meaning that an NBN 100 plan can upload 5MB of data each second, while an NBN 12 plan will upload about 0.1MB per second. Use this to estimate how long your backups will take to transmit.

Already using cloud services like Gmail?

Many people working in small businesses that we have spoken to about this topic tell us that they don't need to back anything up because they only use cloud services. They use Gmail for business email, Office 365 for documents and spreadsheets, and cloud based CRMs for most other critical data.

But as we said above, the best practice is to have two copies, so it doesn't hurt to create a physical backup by regularly downloading your data from these services.

If you use Gmail for work, ZDNet has a great guide on how to backup this data, and all of your Google Account data in some cases.

And again, the NBN is your friend here. You can be sure that you'll be downloading huge chunks of data for these backups, so fast download speeds are very useful.

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