What Is Cloud Backup and Why Is It Important?

Mar 18, 2019

What Is Cloud Backup and Why Is It Important?

BY Tobias Geisler Mesevage

Let's Get Technical

Whether your organization depends on G Suite, Office 365, Salesforce or other platforms, cloud services help us collaborate and connect, regardless of location, to get work done. 

But just because you’re constantly creating cloud data, doesn’t mean you have control over it.

For example, what if one of your employees…

  • Inadvertently deletes all of the emails in their Gmail account

  • Downloads a third-party app and overrides all of your Salesforce data

  • Erases a former employee’s account without transferring data to a new location

  • Accidentally downloads a virus, which is spreading to your local computers

How long would it take you to recover your data and get your business back in full swing if one of these scenarios occurred? And how much would it cost you?

Many SaaS vendors charge large fees to restore data or don’t offer the service at all. Which means that businesses must turn to another option to protect their data beyond basic security measures. Cloud backup exists to solve this problem efficiently.  

What is Cloud Backup?

Cloud backup enables your organization to send a copy of your cloud data to another location so that if your data is compromised, you can restore information, ensure business continuity, and defend against devastating IT crises.

In addition to protection against data loss or viruses, many businesses need to secure cloud data to meet industry standards or regulations. Not doing so can result in costly penalties and fines. 

There are a number of options for cloud backup, primary cloud-to-cloud backup options:

Public Cloud Backup

Copying data directly to cloud infrastructure providers like Microsoft Azure or Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) tends to come at a lower storage cost than other backup options; however, organizations incur greater risk by leveraging public cloud space because:

  • Tech support is slow or non-existent 

  • Recovering data can be tedious, inefficient, and ridden with errors

  • Shared data tenancy, which can put data isolation at risk

  • Possible compliance issues (like EU GDPR standards)

Additionally, if you have to pay for the egress of the data, recovering information can be expensive with public cloud services.

On-Premise, Internal Cloud Backup

Organizations with big budgets and existing infrastructure can consider on-premise, private cloud backup. In this arrangement, data is protected behind your own firewall and gives you complete control over internal data, but is costlier as you still need to pay for:

  • Hosting

  • Servers

  • Infrastructure

  • Security

This makes the private cloud option less than ideal for budget-conscious companies. Moreover, knowing that data management, maintenance, and risk is their responsibility, most companies prefer to focus on their core business rather than managing on-premise, private cloud backups.

Disk-to-Disk-to-Cloud Backup or Hybrid

This type of backup means that some data will be backed up and stored on-premise, often in a physical form, while other data will be backed up to a cloud. Some information may be backed up in both ways.

The increased protection against data loss is appealing with a hybrid approach, but the slew of risks may outweigh the singular benefit because:

  • The hybrid approach could expose your company to a higher risk for data breaches and theft as there are physical copies of your data. 

  • On-premise appliances need enough capacity to hold full backups and incremental backups, or you’ll need to move physical backups off-premise. Transportation of sensitive data adds risk.  

  • Difficulty managing the architecture of local backups can lead to lost data.

If a hybrid backup system isn’t managed well, it can be difficult to know which data is in which location and may hinder the overall speed and accuracy of recovery.

Hosted, Private Cloud

A third-party private cloud is another option for cloud backup.

This particular option has been growing in popularity over the years because for companies working with an abundance of SaaS data, the private cloud provides versatile compatibility where on-premises backup infrastructure does not.

Third-party private clouds give you the comprehensive protection of an on-premise, private cloud, without the additional costs for maintenance, security, or infrastructure. Additionally a third-party cloud:

  • Satisfies compliance needs

  • Allows for data encryption 

  • Can automate backups multiple times a day

  • Provides regular vulnerability management and testing

  • Eliminates the cost of data egress with monthly or per-user cost structures  

The simplicity of a hosted private cloud makes it easy for your organization to quickly recover data at a predictable cost. 

What is the Best Option?

The best option will vary from organization to organization, but the bulk of your decision should boil down to data restoration. 

When you need to access your data, what is the fastest, most reliable, and cost-effective way to do so? 

As such, it’s important to weigh the following features of your service:

  • Backup frequency: The most reliable backup solutions should provide multiple daily point-in-time backups for a snapshot of your information at multiple times throughout the day

  • The efficiency of backup: How quickly can you restore your data? 

  • Pricing structure: Per-user pricing means there are no additional fees for storage or recovery which protects your organization from the cost of data egress regardless of how much data you have  

  • Customer support: So that if your data is compromised, you have a helping hand when you need it 

Above all, it’s important that you have a plan for your data restoration. The more detailed your plan is, the less time it will take for you to get back in business should an emergency occur.