It is widely believed that the cloud is intrinsically insecure and cannot be entrusted with business-critical or backup data. In fact, according to a recent IDC research, 39% of European decision-makers consider security to be a top-three inhibitor for cloud adoption. It is true that cloud-based data protection strategies need to be managed differently to on-premise backup and recovery. But that doesn’t mean that cloud backup should be discounted as risky: when it is implemented correctly, it can be a cost-effective, secure solution for many organisations. All that is needed to make sure your data is safe is the right approach.
Some pre-conceived ideas about cloud vulnerabilities are just false; others can be overcome with an effective strategy. But first, let us get down to the real issue here – what are some of the biggest myths around cloud security you should be aware of?
Myth 1: The cloud is not a secure option for backup and recovery
It is natural to feel your data is safest when it is closest to you, the same way some people feel putting their savings under their mattress or in a safe at home is sounder than letting a bank handle them. However, keeping your data on-site is not always safer. Yes, floods and fires are rare, but what will happen to your data if there is an outage and all your backups are kept in the same location? The most efficient way to protect your data is to follow the backup rule of three, better known as the 3-2-1 rule: having at least three copies of your data, two of which are local but on different mediums, and one that is always offsite.
Cloud backup and recovery providers ensure the environments they offer are secure and offer the right level of performance. These include high-level certified encryption at the source, securing vital business data with certified data centres and well-vetted personnel, and ensuring data availability with remote virtual standby for emergency application failover and failback.
Myth 2: One-size-fits-all works
When tackling cloud backup, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all model. In fact, selecting an off-the-shelf model could certainly put your data at risk. Every organisation’s requirements are different, and its data needs to be stored, backed up and recovered in a variety of ways. Before considering a cloud solution, you need to understand how your data works. Think about the volume of data to be protected, identify which data is business critical, how quickly you need to recover it (your RTO) and how long ago your last backup can have taken place (your RPO). In-house technical expertise will determine the level of support you need from your provider.
Myth 3: Cloud management is not necessary
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Backup and recovery should never be left to chance, whether it’s on premise or cloud-based. You need a robust strategy that you test and review regularly. Your planning should be focused on business continuity, including testing, and should cover all eventualities. From a cloud perspective, managing cloud provisioning and consumption regarding computing and storage, for example, is critical – after all, it is your budget! You will also need strict controls over system access and clear roles and responsibilities for everyone involved.
Once you are confident that you are ready for cloud-based backup and recovery, there are extra steps to consider, regarding risk mitigation.
- Get to know your internal data protection protocols and how to best pair them with a cloud backup and recovery service. Understand your data and applications, measure system and application criticality against direct and indirect variables, such as compliance requirements, productivity, visibility, performance indicators and business objectives; this will help you manage backup and recovery protocols.
- Testing is essential to understand your data recovery plan’s efficiency and accuracy. Make sure you test regularly and follow up any issues before they affect your recovery capability.
- Understand the economics and trade-offs of leveraging the cloud for your backup workloads – like anything in IT; it’s a numbers game here too.
Cloud-based data protection doesn’t have to be intimidating. A reliable provider will make sure your data is backed up and ready to be restored at the touch of a button. Armed with the right knowledge of the technology available, and a good understanding of your data needs, you’ll be in the prime position to implement a robust backup and recovery solution that will effectively protect your data and your business.