Data loss can be catastrophic for businesses these days. It can happen in many ways like data getting accidentally deleted or corrupted, equipment malfunction, natural disasters, or ransomware attacks.
Having a cloud data backup of your critical business data can shield you from such unfortunate events. While conventional backup solutions also work, you will not be able to restore your data anywhere and anytime on short notice without the cloud.
Additionally, businesses are keen to adopt cloud data backup due to its capacity optimization technologies and affordable bandwidth.
What is Cloud Backup?
Cloud backup is an off-site storage solution that you can use to back up your sensitive data and applications. Cloud data backup allows you to restore your data at any place and anytime via an internet connection.
Usually, a third-party service provider hosts this server and charges the backup customer a fee based on bandwidth or number of users and capacity. We will elaborate on the pros and cons of cloud backup in further paragraphs.
How Does It Work?
Disaster recovery methods have significantly improved from the past few years, but you cannot say you don't need a backup solution at any instance. When compared to other traditional backups, the cloud is more secure. The cloud backup process copies data and stores it on different media or another storage system for easy access during a recovery situation.
The key cloud backup benefits are fast recovery, cost-efficiency, 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?
Suppose you are worried about how to backup data on the cloud, especially the voluminous initial full backup; cloud seeding can benefit you. It is a technique wherein a vendor sends a storage device to the organization, which backups their data locally and then returns the device. This step eliminates sending initial data over the network to the backup provider. Instead, only changed data is backed up over the network after the initial seeding.
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, compresses, encrypts, and transfers the data to the server that belongs to the cloud provider every 24 hours. The service provider might provide you with 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. The cloud-based data backup usually includes the necessary software, hardware, and Exchange and SQL server applications to protect an organization's data. Therefore, you need not worry about how to backup to the cloud.
It is understood that most cloud subscriptions run on a monthly or yearly basis. However, finding the best cloud backup service in your budget should not be difficult with the increased number of vendors. Earlier, only home offices or consumers used cloud backup services, but now small, medium, and large companies also opt for the same.
Using cloud backup is convenient as you can access the data from any device with an internet connection. Choosing the right type of cloud backup based on your needs and budget is one of the key cloud data backup best practices. In addition to its in-built security, digital information can be managed, searched, transferred, and retrieved effortlessly.
Types of Cloud Data Backup
Data needed for restoration
Only full backup
Full backup and the latest differential backup
Full backup and all the incremental backups
Cloud Backup Pros and Cons
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)
You need not worry about 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. In addition, file recovery from cloud storage is faster when compared to storing the data in tape, as the files to be recovered are located and streamed over the WAN connection. This feature 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. As you can see, the benefits of cloud backup are pretty significant.
1. Seeding Data & Full Recovery
The first full backup or full recovery of site data can be time-consuming and impactful on the production systems. This drawback is dependent upon the total data capacity. This situation 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 daily. These limitations lead to impacting backup strategies. Bandwidth has remained a significant issue for large organizations. Though enterprises have reduced their backup windows with technologies like data reduction methods and disk targets, moving data to the 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. A few factors that need to be considered are cancellation notifications, early withdrawal fees, and data extraction.
Of course, these are not an issue in the 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 data size, you might need to ship it on a tape or other portable storage media. Data is copied from a primary storage device to a tape cartridge in a tape backup. In an age of exponential data growth, tape is a strong storage medium for capacity, cost or operation. But the restore process is slow as access is sequential.
Storing your valuable data in cloud based data backup 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. The benefits of cloud backup services become apparent when a quick restoration is needed, that too remotely.
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 about cloud backup, as it is not affected by this glaring weakness. Additionally, all of your data is securely transferred via encrypted channels.
Also, be sure to check out Zmanda Recovery Manager- Quick Start-Up Guide
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 with 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/