How much does your business rely on data and technology, and what would failure cost?
These are some of the questions modern-day organizations should answer to enjoy long-term success.
In 2016, Delta Airlines had to cancel over 1,300 flights in a few days. Ordinarily, cancellations occur due to mechanical issues or bad weather.
However, all this happened because of an electrical problem in Delta’s Atlanta headquarters, causing the computer systems to go down.
So, the company could not access much of its database. Its computer systems run everything from frequent flier programs, ticket sales, passenger check-in, and airport-departure displays to crew scheduling and dispatching.
Due to the disruption, Delta Airlines had to cancel 1,300 flights at the cost of $100 million. Moreover, thousands of customers were stranded in airports during the period.
Delta Airlines is the perfect example of how reliant organizations have become on technology, more so data. And the risk of potential failure.
Computer systems and hard drives are effective and reliable most of the time. However, they're prone to failure or breach, which may result in data loss.
While you cannot stop using technology, it’s prudent to have a contingency in place should it fail or disaster strikes.
In this regard, cloud backup solutions are the ideal option. They ensure that you have data backups available, allowing you to resume operations at full capacity swiftly.
It's no wonder organizations turning to cloud backup services are rising daily. Data suggests that the global cloud backup market value will reach $6.82 by 2025. This is courtesy of an annual compound growth rate of 23.4%.
Read on to learn about cloud backup solutions and where you can get the best services.
What Is a Cloud Backup Solution?
A cloud backup solution is a service in which the data stored in a physical location is duplicated and sent to a remote server.
Companies choose to back up to the cloud for protection against data loss and corruption. Moreover, it ensures that data remains accessible in case of:
- Software or hardware failure
- Power outage
- Natural disaster
- Cyber-attacks like ransomware
Cloud backup is also known as remote or online backup. And since a third party manages the infrastructure and hardware, it's also known as backup as a service (BaaS).
Which Type of Backup Is Better in the Cloud?
Many organizations are rightly turning to cloud backup services. But they're going at it the wrong way.
Don’t rush into finding a cloud solutions provider. Instead, begin by developing a backup strategy. It should outline all your data backup and recovery needs.
This is crucial as there are different ways to back up to the cloud. And you should consider unique business needs when deciding. These include whether you have:
- Client service level agreements
- Regulatory compliance agreements
- Greater need to recover data quickly
- Long-term retention needs
With these in mind, some of the types of backup you can choose from include:
Technologies such as copy-on-write often reduce the performance of snapshots. This is because when updating data, three operations occur:
- Read operation- The original block is read
- Write operation- A copy of the block is made
- Overwrite operation- The block is overwritten
If your company's performance is a key factor, snapshots that use redirect-on-write are a better option.
Your cloud backup provider will maintain a table listing the locations of various blocks. There'll be pointers referring to the location of each block on the table, but they will not contain the actual data.
When you update data and the block is modified, the pointer will be updated to reflect the new location of the data block. Since it uses fewer operations, redirect-on-write is much more efficient.
One of the best use cases of this method is before upgrading software, applications, and even your operating system. By taking a snapshot, you'll have something for reference if something goes wrong during backup.
Cloning is a great backup option if you want to duplicate systems for fast recovery or if you want to launch a new one. But aside from this, it has few use cases.
As the name suggests, you’ll create an exact copy of your data using the original format. This is why cloning uses the most storage. Along with the data, metadata will also be copied to enhance speed.
Cloning is a copy and restore function in one swipe. This is because a new data instance will be created while backing it up. It will serve as a temporary backup for a quick restore if your experience challenges with the new source.
Moreover, the new instance will be used to build a virtual machine that creates new instances.
A full backup is similar to a clone and is one of the traditional forms of backup. It involves creating an entirely identical copy of your data. However, unlike with cloning, the backup cannot reside in the location in the same format as the original.
Different mediums such as tape, virtual tape, or hard drives will store the duplicate data when using full backups. Completing a full backup is great as it offers a good restore point should you have trouble with the original data source.
After performing a full backup, you’ll need to perform updates as your data changes. This is where differential backups come into play. It locates and saves the changes that occur after a full backup.
Differential backups take much less time as they only involve the changes. However, should the need to restore your data arise, it’ll restore the full backup and differential backups separately.
With differential backups, you'll be able to track changes in your data since the last full backup. So, to make it easier, limit the number of restores weekly.
Incremental backups work with other forms of backups, including full and differential. They serve as increments to the current data.
For instance, you can perform a full backup on Saturday and then schedule incremental backups throughout the week. When you want to restore your data, you'll use the full backup and every incremental to the point of restore.
While incremental is the fastest form of backup, restoring them takes a lot of time. But this also means there's a much smaller load on your server. Depending on your needs, this may be a worthwhile trade-off.
In some ways, differential and incremental backups are similar. If you need to choose between them, there's a key factor to consider: which is more important to you between quicker restores and decreased server load during backups.
6. Delta Tracking/Change Block
When using differential or incremental data, there may be delays if your software has to go through all the data to determine what has been backed up and what hasn’t.
To help with this, delta tracking or change block is a popular technique. It tracks and lists backups so that the software can determine the changed items easily and proceed to back up quickly.
Therefore, delta tracking is more of a backup feature than a type. It enhances efficiency, but your provider must support this feature for you to use it.
How to Use Cloud Backup Solutions for Your Business
As a small business without in-house IT expertise, cloud backup solutions may be intimidating. But it does not have to be. You'll know what to do if you have right information at each stage.
Here are some tips to guide you:
1. Inventory all Devices
Before you search for a cloud backup provider, you need to figure out the devices you'll need to backup. Begin by taking inventory of the devices that contain work data. These include computers, laptops, servers, and mobile devices.
Since your first backup will be the starting point, you must capture all the essential data. However, many businesses get it wrong as 60% of all backups are incomplete.
For better results, make sure that all data sources are inventoried. So, if employees take work at home, have them include personal devices with company data. And, if you have a remote team, ensure you include their devices too.
2. Inventory Your Cloud Accounts
Much of your data is likely in cloud storage and sharing platforms. These are not the same as a cloud backup service; you must also inventory them. Examples of cloud storage and sharing platforms include Google Drive, Dropbox, and OneDrive.
While such data may seem safe, it’s still prone to intentional or unintentional deletion and manipulation. This is why it is vital that you also backup such data.
As you do this, focus on all platforms that may have business data, such as:
- Digital marketing and graphics platforms like email services and Adobe Creative Cloud
- Productivity platforms such as Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace
- Company cloud-based training platforms
- CRMs and sales management platforms like Zendesk and Salesforce
3. Determine Your Needs
The primary objective of cloud backup solutions is to ensure that you have data reserves should your primary data source fail.
However, it's not just about that. You need to consider other aspects of cloud backup to get the best experience. These include:
- Number of backups stored
- Data recovery speed
- Security features and encryption capabilities
- Ability to use managed backup (ensures your backups are verified)
- Its effect on the speed of user devices
- Fits your budget
Once you determine your needs, choosing a provider will be much easier.
4. Develop a Backup Strategy
A backup strategy is the key to getting maximum value from your cloud backup service. It should cover things like:
- How much space you think is adequate
- The duration for retaining data before old backups are purged
- The frequency of backups (daily, hourly, weekly, etc.)
- Who will perform data restoration when the need arises
- How you’ll monitor backups to ensure the backing up process is going on well
- The frequency of performing drills testing for disaster preparedness
Determining all these beforehand will significantly increase your odds of success.
5. Choose a Cloud Service Provider
You can begin searching for suitable cloud backup service providers at this stage. The goal here is not necessarily to choose the best one but the one that best suits your business. To achieve this, use your needs and backup strategy as a guide.
Of course, there'll be other factors to consider, including:
- Performance- Ensure your provider can adequately meet your recovery time objective (RTO) and recovery point objective (RPO).
- Efficiency- It should write data to and from the cloud efficiently. Consider efficiency-enhancing features such as the ability to compress and duplicate data while still on-premises before transferring to the cloud.
- Security- It should offer top-notch security and encryption capabilities. These include protections against breaches and malware, credentials management, use of multiple cloud accounts and private keys, and object locking. Moreover, it should be a logical air gap to boost protection against risks such as ransomware.
- Content management- Although it will cost you more, consider vendors that offer value-added services such as search, archiving, e-discovery, and ransomware protection.
- Reliability- Consider your vendor's backups' reliability by asking where they store them and if other services increase the risk factor.
- Cost- Cloud backup services costs depend on the storage capacity you need. And you'll also incur additional charges for transferring data outside the public cloud. While determining the actual costs, you'll incur will be challenging, try and do so to determine if a provider fits into your budget.
- Feature depth- Beyond backup cloud vendors offer additional features to offer better business support. Look past the list of features and evaluate the depth of coverage for each.
- Data mobility- Find out how easily you can move data between on-premises locations and public cloud environments.
- Geographical coverage- Where your data is stored will impact data sovereignty and compliance and may also affect performance for local users. So, find out where your vendor offers their services and the location of the physical data center.
- Availability- Upon subscribing to the vendor's services, you'll have to sign a service level agreement (SLA) for availability. It also highlights how soon you can expect to access your data in case of failure. There’s always room to negotiate the terms. So ensure that the SLA meets your requirements before signing it.
6. Install and Configure the Application
After selecting a vendor and paying for the subscription, install the application. Be sure to configure it as per your needs to optimize its use. Some of the things you should set include RTO, RPO, and the frequency of backing up.
7. Implement Your Backup Strategy
Having the best cloud backup provider is not enough to ensure you have adequate backups and your data is secure. You also have to do your part.
This comes in the form of implementing your backup strategy. Ensure that personnel follows the appropriate procedures through regular monitoring. Also, conduct disaster preparedness trials frequently.
What are the Benefits of Cloud Backup Solutions?
As you look into cloud backup solutions, it's understandable to be curious about their benefits. Cloud backups are a reliable insurance policy against disasters and cyberthreats. But they also offer the following benefits.
- Scalability- As your company grows, the data you generate and need to back up will increase. This is where cloud backup has the greatest edge over onsite data centers. There'll be no need to buy additional equipment to increase your backup capacity. Most providers offer a pay-as-you-go model, meaning you only pay for what you use with no limits to capacity.
- Cost-efficient- Since you do not have to invest in equipment, cloud backups are much cheaper to set up and manage than onsite data centers. Moreover, you will also save on the cost of hiring personnel to manage your data center.
- Security- Cloud backups are stored offsite and protected with robust security measures. Also, they do not run on your network. Therefore, your backups will remain safe even if your systems are breached.
- Accessibility- Cloud backup offers 24/7 accessibility of your data using a wide range of devices and from anywhere.
- Low maintenance- With the vendor handling all the backup tasks and managing the equipment, there'll be no maintenance tasks on your part. They'll handle equipment servicing, repairs, and upgrades.
How Veritas Can Help You
Finding cloud backup solutions that perfectly meet your needs is not easy. Many vendors offer, at best, basic services. And those that offer numerous services do not have the feature-depth necessary to make them worthwhile.
These attributes help Veritas stand out as a cloud services provider. The company goes above and beyond to meet all your data needs.
But that’s not the most important element. Beyond offering services, Veritas is invested in your success and is committed to helping you achieve it through robust and reliable data backup solutions.
Here are some of the ways Veritas can help you:
1. A Unified Solution for Enterprise Data Protection
One of the stand-out features of Veritas is its holistic approach to offering data solutions. The platform makes it easy for you to back up data and recover 100% of it.
But that’s not all. With Veritas, you'll have:
These features reduce risk and worry, allowing you to focus on growing your business.
2. Enhance Flexibility and Control
Cloud adoption is necessary for modern-day organizations. However, it’s pushing enterprises to the limit. Some of the challenges IT professionals face include data complexity which limits them. This translates to costly wastage of time trying to look for the relevant data.
Veritas uses a hybrid cloud model that’s designed to eliminate such inefficiencies. It offers you:
- Enhanced visibility and frictionless migration thanks to automation
- Freedom from vendor lock-in allows you to move workloads wherever you want
- Enhanced threat detection
- The ability to test for success without disrupting operations or production
- End-to-end visibility into your current system
- Insight to patch gaps in data management
Why Is Cloud Backup Important for Business?
In recent decades, the global business ecosystem has evolved significantly. Disruptions that change the fortunes of large corporations and industries have become the norm. And at the heart of all this is data, the currency that buys brands a distinctive competitive edge.
With this in mind, protecting your data and intellectual assets is crucial to safeguarding your brand's future. A robust cloud backup and recovery solution is the best way to ensure sensitive data is safe and accessible even after disaster strikes.
Veritas customers include 98% of the Fortune 100, and NetBackup™ is the #1 choice for enterprises looking to back up large amounts of data.
Learn how Veritas keeps your data fully protected across virtual, physical, cloud and legacy workloads with Data Protection Services for Enterprise Businesses.