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Should you be switching to cloud backup?

Now that cloud is beginning to offer more compelling solutions, do legacy and traditional backup solutions still have a place in your armoury?

It might surprise you to hear that 59% of organisations still rely on tape as their primary form of backup*. While tape backups arguably still perform when it comes to longer term retention, cloud backups have many key advantages over traditional backup solutions:

 



Flexibility

Backing up to the cloud ensures that you’re on a fully scalable platform. Storage capacity can easily grow, whether this is the organisation’s natural growth or a rapid expansion. This ensures the customer only pays for the storage capacity it is actually utilising.

Anytime, Anywhere Access

As long as there’s an internet connection, all files are readily available.

Longevity

With the cloud platform, data can be kept as long as your organisation needs. While this is also true of tape media, you don’t have to worry about keeping the tapes in the right conditions (temperature and humidity) in the event you need to restore data.

Automatic

Perhaps someone forgets to put in new tapes, or maybe the person in charge of backups is on holiday and there’s a mismanagement of tape rotation. Whatever the reason, human error is a big problem if data needs to be restored from certain points in time. By contrast, cloud backups are run automatically by a schedule which removes the human element that can cause those costly missed retention points.

Security

Data selected for backup is automatically encrypted before transmission to the cloud provider and remains encrypted while stored. Decryption only occurs when data is restored, providing a safeguard against malware and potential malicious intent. While encryption can also be done on tapes, it isn’t generally automatic and depending on the tape drive, can result in a performance overhead. Another factor to consider is the physical security of the tapes. Backing up to the cloud fulfils a requirement nearly all organisations have, which is storing a copy of their data which is not at their physical site. Data is physically secure offsite in the cloud provider’s datacentre, eliminating the process of rotating offsite tapes and the risk of loss, damage or theft.

Reliability/Testing

Most cloud providers have built-in processes that make it possible to test restore your data. This is essential to ensure the integrity of backups.

There are some key points to consider before deciding to move to a cloud backup solution:

Compliance

Depending on the sensitivity/nature of the data being backed up, providers need to comply with legislation. For example, under the eighth principle of Data Protection Act 1998, personal data may not be transferred outside the European Economic Area (unless the country is on the non-EEA list of countries which the European Commission deems to meet this requirement).

Connectivity

If there are bandwidth limitations, there will be a threshold for capacity of data that can be transferred daily to the cloud backup provider. While this is a potential issue, it can be easily resolved due to the fact that better connectivity is more readily available and faster backup processing means more can be put through in the backup window.

Accessibility

It always pays to have a backup line into your organisation. In the event of downtime / loss of your organisation’s internet connectivity, you will no longer be able to backup to the cloud backup platform until it’s restored – so another line mitigates this risk.

Depending on how you look at it, tape is still useful for longer term retention or as part of a hybrid backup environment. It could form a part of Veeam’s 3-2-1 rule which states organisations should keep at least 3 copies of their data, on 2 different media platforms and have at least 1 copy offsite. But overall, cloud based backup offers significant advantages over more traditional on-premise backup. This can include faster recovery or more flexible/efficient DR options.

For more information on cloud backup and how it can help your organisation, contact a member of the team today.

Author: James Cripps, 13 December
*http://reports.informationweek.com/abstract/2/12523/Business-Continuity/2014-Backup-Technologies-Survey.html

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