Regardless of how responsibly you handle your data, you can lose it any minute. Your systems could fall prey to power fluctuations or the hard drive storing all your sensitive information could crash for some reason or the other. That’s why a cloud backup solution is indispensable. And in this day and age, when organizations work with massive volumes of data every single day, these solutions have become even more integral to the functioning of their business.
In this post, we will discuss everything related to cloud backup-what is cloud backup, how it works, how it differs from cloud storage, how it benefits your business and what practices you should follow while choosing a backup solution for your business.
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What is Cloud Backup and how it Works?
Cloud backup is the practice of storing a copy of your data on a remote, off-site location with the aim of protecting the same from equipment failure or catastrophe. Cloud backup services are hosted by a third-party service provider who charges a fee depending on the storage space used, number of users, number of servers, etc.
While cloud backup solutions aren’t necessarily economical, the benefits offered often outweigh the additional costs associated with them (e.g. data transmission charges).
In a cloud backup service, there is a backup application that copies data and stores it on a different medium or storage system in order to facilitate easy recovery in the event of a mishap.
There are variations of cloud storage that can easily fit into an organization’s cloud strategy. These include:
1) Backing up on Public Cloud: The easiest way of creating a backup is duplicating resources directly on a public cloud such as AWS, Azure or Google Cloud. The client uses its backup software to create a data copy to be sent to the cloud storage service. The cloud service offers space for safeguarding the data, but does not provide a specific application for the same.
2) Backing up to a Service Provider: In this scenario, the client sends data through a backup software to a cloud service provider that provides backup services by means of a data center. The backup software is often included as a part of the service.
3) Cloud-to-Cloud Backup: Here, the data is copied from one cloud to another. The backed up data is already present on the cloud, either as the data created using a SaaS application or the data stored on a backup service.
4) Online Cloud Backup: In this case, the back-up is carried out using backup machines (hardware appliances) with a backup software and disk capacity. They are often plug-and-play devices that offer a seamless link to one or more cloud backup services where they transmit and store data.
Typically, cloud service providers let you customize the backup service-choose a backup schedule, control bandwidth and operate with backup files. So, if you have chosen a daily backup service, the backup application will collect and transmit data to the service provider’s servers every 24 hours.
Cloud Backup vs Cloud Storage
Though often used interchangeably, the terms cloud backup and cloud storage have different meanings. Cloud storage is simply putting information on the cloud i.e. on a remote on-site location. Cloud storage services such as Dropbox and One Drive allow you to store files and other data in one centralized location: the cloud. You can access your data from any location and sync it across devices.
The information stored on the cloud is replicated, ensuring security and privacy. One benefit of using cloud storage is that it can be easily upgraded to suit your needs. Unlike hardware storage where you need to buy another device, you can increase your storage capacity just by upgrading your subscription.
Cloud storage, however, has the drawback that you have to manually enter all the files you need to store; in most cases, there is no automatic backup. And that’s where a cloud backup service comes into play.
Cloud backup solutions are specifically designed for ensuring a constant backup, offering an easy way to back up your files. In a good backup service, the files on your systems are saved and synced to the cloud automatically. Backup services offer file versioning which means you can recover a clean version of your files from a specific point in time before your system became infected.
How does a Cloud Backup Service benefit your Business?
Cloud backup services have become quite popular of late, all thanks to the benefits they endow upon your business. Here are the key benefits of using a cloud backup:
1) Security: Storing your data and applications on an off-site location offers a high level of protection. So, if a mishap occurs causing damage to your business premises, you have copies of your data stored on a remote cloud.
2) On-Demand Accessibility: Cloud backup can be accessed anytime, and from any location. All you need is an internet connection. So, if there’s some problem, you can resolve it through the device of your choice: laptop or mobile phone.
3) Convenience: Backup services are fully automated. All you need to decide is which files you need to backup and how frequently the backup should be carried out.
4) Flexibility: Cloud backup services can be easily scaled up and down depending on your data needs. If your business expands, you need to upgrade your virtual infrastructure by adding storage, memory and processing power.
On the contrary, if for some reason, you are closing some of your operations, you may need to cut down on storage space or memory. In both scenarios, cloud backup services provide the flexibility to ramp up or down with the utmost ease.
As is true with every service, there are some downsides of using the cloud backup too:
1) Latency Issues
Data transfer depends on the network connectivity between the source and the destination. You need to have ample bandwidth to ensure a hassle-free transfer of data from your systems to the cloud.
2) Security Issues
As is true with any kind of cloud service, the data is moved outside of an organization’s buildings and equipment and into the hands of an outsider. Therefore, it’s imperative to learn as much as possible about the cloud service provider’s equipment, security procedures and data protection processes.
Which best practices should you follow when implementing a cloud backup service?
If you are planning to use the cloud as a backup service, there are certain best practices you need to adhere to:
1) Service-Level Agreement: When choosing a cloud backup solutions provider, consider all aspects of their service-level agreement: how they protect and backup data, where their offices are and how their costs can vary over time.
2) Testing: Fail-over testing for the backup service should be conducted at least annually. Besides, this provision should be mentioned in your contract.
3) Encryption: Encryption is important to ensure your data stays safe and secure. Use private encryption for data you consider highly sensitive.
4) Monitoring: The backups should be routinely monitored to ensure your backup processes run fine.
5) Training: It’s vital that you get your IT staff trained in the cloud. If the cloud is an integral part of your IT infrastructure, you won’t want all your cloud expertise in the hands of a third-party service provider, especially if you rely on it for disaster recovery.
So, that’s our wrap on cloud backup solutions. If have questions on the same, let us know in the comment section. Thanks for reading.