Cloud backup is the evolution of disaster recovery (DR) and business continuity (BC) and allows for systems, whether virtualised or physical, to be restored rapidly on a cloud hosted system.
There are many differing opinions and thoughts on what the term ‘Cloud Backup’ represents in terms of definition and operational scope. At Compare the Cloud we believe the term should be applied to a system or service that allows for the restoration of data or IT systems in the event of a disaster.
‘Cloud Storage’ is another confusing term in regards to cloud backup as this is typically a solution that allows for data to be stored and retrieved on or via the internet. A good example of a cloud storage system is the Amazon S3 (Simple Storage System) which provides a basic solution for companies and individuals wishing to archive data sets, or perhaps PDF’s or movies to stream from a website.
Typical use cases for cloud backup services range from protecting data such as financial or customer contacts through to the complete protection of all software and systems within an organisation.
Typically these solutions offer advanced services not available in traditional backup software suites and allow for instant failover from an on-site physical or virtual system with minimal user intervention.
Advantages of Cloud Backup services
There are some compelling reasons to use a cloud backup service for all types of organisations. Below we have listed some of the main advantages.
Exploiting technology advances
When did you last put a VHS video tape into a recorder and watch a film? Did you notice that the age of the recording tape caused a loss of quality over a time period, organisations using tape media to backup servers and systems are using 1970’s technology to protect critical business systems. Using a cloud backup service moves your legacy backup systems onto a disk to disk format ensuring better data integrity over longer periods of time, coupled with higher transfer speeds and a far faster recovery time.
Your cloud backup provider operates out of a fully resilient secure data centre environment with multiple tiers of hardware and system redundancy. When your systems are moved to the providers cloud your organisation benefits from enhanced secure offsite storage at the fraction of the price of tape media storage services.
Testing and restoring
When was the last time you tested your tape or system backup? Did you have to restore to physical hardware systems? Using a cloud backup provider negates the need for additional hardware and allows for you to test your backups and restore systems at the touch of a button.
Not just for servers
The scope of your cloud backup system may incorporate desktops and other devices within your office environment. A typical example being the storage and retrieval of critical business documents.
Cloud backup providers tend to use the cloud computing charging model typically billed monthly based on storage and subscribed systems. This transitions your cash flow away from a capital expenditure model.
Key things to consider
With any technology purchasing decision, there are things to consider when selecting a provider. Here are a couple of main points to consider when looking at a cloud backup solution.
Cloud backup is administered using an internet connection. Whilst systems can be automated to only backup or replicate overnight there may still be bandwidth constraints or considerations to check. Ask your provider about recommended bandwidth settings and backup windows.
Always check the physical location of the cloud backup provider’s datacentre and your obligations in regard to data legislation such as the data protection act or your industry regulations.
What is the providers stated policy regarding data security and is the backup data transmitted and kept encrypted on the providers system?
What is the provider’s responsibility in respect to uptime, restoration of system guarantees and service level agreements. Always check the demarcation of the provider’s terms and conditions, an example of this could be checking a system has completely backed up on your local area network and providing reporting of failed backups.
At Compare the Cloud, we’re here to help you identify suitable cloud backup providers to evaluate and work with. Take a few minutes tell us about your requirements using our cloud discovery service, and we will present you with some informed options – and help you discover your perfect cloud backup partner.
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