In this brave new world of online computing, accessibility to cloud services is one of the most groundbreaking developments. With the amount of data increasing exponentially, so is the risk related to data loss. Indeed, there are many options like traditional backups with companies to back up their valuable data. But still, they opt for cloud backup, as it is fueled by, capacity optimization technologies and affordable bandwidth.
What is Cloud Backup?
Is it called Cloud backup or online backup? No need for confusion here, both are the same. It is a strategy that comprises of backing up data by sending a copy of data over a proprietary or public network to an off-site server (what is cloud backup). Usually, a third-party service provider hosts this server and charges the backup customer with a fee based on bandwidth or number of users and capacity. In the case of an enterprise, the off-site server cab might be owned by the company, but the chargeback method would remain the same.
How Does It Work?
Disaster recovery methods have enhanced from the past few years, but at no instance can you say you don't need a backup solution. When compared to other traditional backups, the cloud is more secure. During a recovery situation, the cloud backup process copies data and stores it on different media or another storage system for easy access.
Cloud backup provides fast recovery, is cost-efficient and a dependable way to ensure business continuity. According to Gartner Reports 2020, over 40 percent of organizations will supplant long-term backup with Cloud archiving systems. (The Dummies Guide To Cloud Data Backup.)
Cloud Backup Options
Data can be backed up to:
- Service Provider: Organizations write their data to a cloud service provider with backup services in a managed data center.
- Public Cloud: In this method, organizations write data directly to cloud infrastructure providers like Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services (AWS).
- Cloud-to-Cloud Backup: In this practice, the data that lives in the cloud in the service (SaaS) applications are copied to another cloud.
Once the organizations begin to use cloud backup services, the initial backup might take a few days to finish uploading over a network.
Have you ever heard of cloud seeding? It is a technique that enables a vendor to send a storage device like a tape cartridge or disk drive, to the organization, which does data backup locally and then sends the device back to the provider. With this technique, there is no need to send the initial data over the network to the backup provider. Once the initial seeding is done, only changed data is backed up over the network.
Usually, online backup systems are built around a client software application that runs on a schedule determined by the purchased level of service. For instance, if a customer has opted for daily backups then the application collects, compress, encrypts and transfers the data to the server that belongs to the cloud provider, every 24 hours. The service provider might provide you with the incremental backups to reduce the amount of bandwidth consumed and time taken to transfer the files (what is cloud backup), but only after the initial full backup. To protect an organization’s data, the cloud backups usually include the necessary software, hardware, and applications for Exchange and SQL server.
It is understood that most cloud subscriptions run on a monthly or yearly basis. Earlier only home offices or consumers used cloud backup service but now small, medium, and large companies also opt for the same.
As every cloud has a silver lining, even the cloud-based backup has several benefits. Using cloud backup is convenient as you can access the data from any device with an internet connection. In addition to its in-built security, digital information can be managed, searched, transferred and retrieved effortlessly.
Pros of a Cloud Backup
1. Reliable and Efficient
Cloud providers make use of state-of-the-art technology, like compression, data deduplication, encryption, disk-based backup, storage virtualization, application-specific protection and server virtualization in Statement on Auditing Standards 70-certified (Widely recognized auditing standard developed by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA)) data centers. Apart from the certification many providers also offer 24/7 monitoring, reporting, and management. (SAS 70 Overview)
No need to worry about the scalability or on-premise storage capacity issues. The public cloud takes care of it. Cloud backup through a service provider is usually the best option, as the provider handles it all. File recovery from cloud storage is faster when compared to storing the data in tape, as the files to be revered are located and streamed over the WAN connection. This saves time eliminating the need for a local tape infrastructure.
Organizations that cannot afford the maintenance and investment of a separate disaster recovery (DR) infrastructure can look to cloud backup. Also, cloud backup can appeal to those who have enough money for a full DR site but identify the higher efficiency and cost savings to be gained by outsourcing. During an event of a regional disaster, of-site data copies -- accessible from any internet-connected device/ location -- provide an added measure of insurance. (Pros and cons of cloud backup)
4. Broader protection
Cloud backup can also be opted for protecting endpoints such as laptops or tablets that are not traditionally a part of on-premises enterprise backup.
1. Seeding Data & Full Recovery
The first full backup or full recovery of site data can prove to be time-consuming and impactful on the production systems. This is dependant upon the total data capacity. This is where seeding and full recovery can come into play.
2. Size limitations
Every organization will have a threshold on the amount of data that needs to be transferred to the cloud on a daily basis. These limitations lead to impacting backup strategies. Bandwidth has remained a significant issue for large organizations. Though enterprises have been able to reduce their backup windows with technologies like data reduction methods and disk targets, moving data to cloud decelerates the process.
3. Discontinuation of the Service
Understanding the most graceful exit strategy for the service is equally important as scrutinizing specific features. Few factors that need to be considered are cancellation notifications, early withdrawal fees, and data extraction.
Of course, these are not an issue in case of substantial public cloud providers like Microsoft and Google and Amazon but can be when it comes to smaller regional clouds.
Cloud Storage VS. Tape Storage
When you have to recover a larger size of data, you might need to ship it on a tape or other portable storage media. In a tape backup, data is copied from a primary storage device to a tape cartridge. In an age of exponential data growth, tape is a strong storage medium when it comes to capacity, cost or operation. But the restore process is slow as access is sequential.
Storing your valuable data in the cloud ensures that you always have a reliable “backup” plan. It is not that easy to destroy digital data entirely, if you keep it at various off-site locations, like in the case of cloud storage.
Of course, tape storages are good, but not when a natural or human-made disaster strikes; it can cost you!
Let’s imagine, for a moment, that you decide to prepare for any natural disaster and send your tapes to a secure location. What if the carriers get robbed on the way? Ever thought about it? However, no worries when it comes to cloud backup, as it is not affected by this glaring weakness. Additionally, all of your data is securely transferred via encrypted channels.
Zmanda is a worldwide leader in open-source backup and recovery software. Zmanda backup to cloud protects and recovers folders, files, applications or a complete system. This modern solution is designed for companies that have an extremely low tolerance for data loss, downtime, or risk mitigation.
- What is cloud backup (online backup)? - Definition from WhatIs.com. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://searchdatabackup.techtarget.com/definition/cloud-backup
- SAS 70 Overview. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://sas70.com/sas70_overview.html
- Pros and cons of cloud backup. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://searchdatabackup.techtarget.com/tip/The-pros-and-cons-of-cloud-backup-technologies
- The Dummies Guide To Cloud Data Backup. (2017, November 22). Retrieved from https://www.botmetric.com/blog/dummies-guide-cloud-data-backup/