Cloud computing has revolutionised the way businesses store and access data. Here’s a statistic to put this in perspective: 100 zettabytes of data will be stored on the cloud by 2025.
One zettabyte= one trillion gigabytes.
The ‘cloud’ is no longer a catchy buzzword for techies. It is an innovation that has infiltrated our daily lives. Ever shared a file on Drobox? If your answer’s yes, you’re on the cloud. All your favourite shows on Netflix and YouTube? They are hosted on cloud servers as well.
The cloud is a network of servers that host data which users can access through an internet connection.
There are three main types of clouds:
A public cloud is a multi-user cloud that can be accessed by anyone on the internet. It is managed by a third-party cloud service provider and is a cost-effective way for people to store and access their data. The most popular public cloud services include Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services (AWS).
A private cloud on the other hand is accessed by a single organisation and its infrastructure can be maintained internally and externally. Private clouds are commonly used by government agencies and large enterprises that require advanced privacy and control.
A hybrid cloud offers a combination of private and public cloud services. In the hybrid model, sensitive data is stored in the private cloud, while less sensitive data is stored in public cloud storage. The hybrid model is well suited for virtual environments which benefits from optimising from public and private cloud providers.
With the unprecedented volume of data that is now online, it’s crucial for businesses to safeguard that data and protect it from being lost or compromised. This brings us to cloud backup.
What is Cloud Backup?
Cloud backup, also known as online backup is the process of transferring and storing data on a secondary offsite location. A cloud backup acts as insurance for your business data and prevents data loss caused by equipment failure or malware attack.
The offsite location is usually a secondary server hosted by a cloud storage service provider who charges fees to the backup customer based on the type of service used. Fees vary according to the amount of storage space used, bandwidth of data transmission, number of devices, number of times the cloud is accessed, etc.
Cloud backup is an effective way of boosting a company’s data protection without overwhelming the IT team with additional work. This saves time and labour and essentially offsets the additional data transmission charges.
More and more businesses are now switching to cloud-based platforms instead of setting up a physical disaster recovery (DR) site. Cloud solutions are scalable, cost-effective and flexible, making them the preferred choice for data backup.
This probably explains why the global cloud backup market is estimated to grow to a staggering USD 4229.3 million by 2026.
Why Use Cloud Backup?
- Fast data recovery
With cloud backup it’s possible to quickly restore data that is backed up by cloud servers. This allows companies to gain quick access to the files or systems they need, causing minimum delays to business.
- Flexible storage
Traditional backup methods involve storing data on devices with limited storage capacities. However, cloud backup has the flexibility of being scaled up or down according to your storage needs.
- Safeguarding data
Businesses may follow best practices for safeguarding data by regularly backing it up in onsite servers. However, in case of a catastrophe like a fire or flooding, the internal servers and the data they hold are damaged. Cloud backup transfers your data to an offsite server which means it is secure and accessible even in the event of a disaster.
How Does Cloud Backup Work?
For a public cloud backup, the process is completed in the following steps:
- Files are identified for backup
- Chosen files are encrypted and sent to the offsite cloud storage service like AWS or Microsoft Azure
- Businesses can choose the type of cloud for backup – i.e. public cloud private cloud, Cloud-to-Clod (C2C) backup
- Backed up files should be easily accessible on the secondary server
It is important to note that with backup on a public cloud, IT teams often need to implement additional data protection measures.
Backup to a service provider involves sending data to a designated cloud service provider that provides online backup services in a controlled data centre. The service provider may provide the backup software the company uses to send its data. Alternately, the service may support specific commercial backup solutions.
Cloud-to-cloud (C2C) backup service copies data from one cloud to another cloud. The cloud-to-cloud backup service usually provides the software for this process.
Types of Cloud Backup
- Full Backup
A full backup copies the entire data source each time you initiate backup, ensuring advanced data protection. However, full backups are time-consuming and push the storage limit. So, it’s not suited for most companies to do on the regular.
- Incremental Backup
Incremental backup is the backing up of data that has been modified or updated since the last backup. Unlike a full backup, this saves time and storage space. The downside: it makes a full restore more challenging.
- Differential Backup
A differential backup is similar to an incremental backup in that it starts with a full backup and subsequent backups only contain data that has changed. The difference in incremental vs. differential backup is that, while an incremental backup only includes the data that has changed since the previous backup, a differential backup contains all of the data that has changed since the last full backup. This solves the issue of difficult restores that can happen with incremental backups.
Benefits of Cloud Backup
- More cost-effective than maintaining an in-house backup solution
- Scalability of cloud means it can accommodate the growing volumes of a company’s data
- Easy and reliable management by service providers
- Better protection against ransomware attacks as cloud backups are performed outside the company network
- Backup data can be accessed from anywhere
- Security for data against onsite disasters like fire or water damage
Challenges of Cloud Backup
- Performance depends on your bandwidth and latency – lower bandwidth causes delays in backing up files as well as recovering them later
- The service provider fees may rise with higher volumes of data
- External data storage always poses a risk – making it imperative to find a reputable service provider who can safeguard your data
Cloud Backup Best Practices
- Do due diligence on your cloud backup provider. Some of the best know backup providers are Backblaze, iDrive, Carbonite, Acronis True Image and CrashPlan.
- Run periodical tests on data recovery
- Use private encryption for confidential files
- Make data restoring system as accessible as possible
- Identify the data to backup based on criticality
Does your company need cloud backup services? FDM’s Cloud Engineering consultants are trained across a number of different areas of cloud such as: cloud fundamentals, cloud system design & security, creating and configuring cloud resources, storage and databases, on-premise and multi-cloud solutions and more.
Consultants from our Cloud Consultant Services can skilfully capture technology benefits and adopt industry best practices to contribute to the success of cloud projects for your company.