Secure Cloud Data Backup

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Written By Alpha J. McElroy

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It used to be that people were divided into those who do backups and will do backups. Today it’s louder about those who do them in the cloud or will do them in the cloud. What has changed? Information has become the most important resource in business. And for their effective processing, security and recovery, the capabilities of cloud computing are increasingly used.

BACKUP IN THE “OLD WORLD”?

The classic method of data storage is tape backup. It became popular in the sixties and continues to function today. Tapes are not expensive media and after recording we can put them in a closet or safe. They are also very durable and do not require a permanent place in the array. However, the high time it takes to recover data from them (RTO) makes them play a diminishing role in times of shrinking backup windows.

Over time, tape has gained competition in the form of hard drives. These have much better recovery time (RTO) and RPO (a factor that determines the maximum amount of time we would have to roll back in the event of a failure). Disks allow us to store smaller amounts of data, and therefore more frequent, shorter backup windows. However, their main disadvantage is failure-prone, the possibility of data writing errors and shorter lifespan.

Sometimes large companies decide to replicate the environment in a remote location. Using synchronous replication allows you to have the same data in both centers. When a failure occurs, you can automatically switch to the backup environment without any system downtime. However, this is an extremely costly solution, requiring the use of appropriate technology, equipment, additional space and employment of qualified staff to ensure the functioning of the structure.

An increasingly popular alternative to traditional solutions is the use of cloud computing and Backup as a Service.

WHAT IS BAAS?

Backup as a Service (BaaS) is a modern solution for data security. You do not need your own hardware or IT department to use it. Instead of backing up the data onto traditional media (e.g. hard disks or magnetic tapes), we buy a service that an external company performs the whole process. The copies are made over an Internet connection – according to the client’s needs, who defines the characteristics of the service. Then they are stored by the service provider in the cloud, which provides us with constant access and complete security against data loss.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF BAAS FOR COMPANIES ?

One of the many advantages of such a solution is flexibility, typical for cloud services. It is an answer to the problem of the growing number of stored data and the dilemma of whether it is better to buy more storage media or delete some of the stored information. In the case of BaaS, none of these options is necessary.

Thanks to the extensibility of the cloud, we can at any time increase or decrease the space that we want to allocate for our backup. This is primarily a great advantage for fast-growing companies that often find it difficult to estimate the precise demand for data security infrastructure. BaaS relieves them of the need to plan ahead, purchase hardware and hire additional staff to support them.

For such companies, the second benefit of cloud backup is also important – we do not have to work out the logistics of copying and storing data on physical media. Performing a traditional backup requires planning so as not to negatively affect the daily operation of the company, as well as finding a safe place to store the copies. This solution also saves money that would have been spent on space and securing the physical media being backed up.

In larger enterprises, for which these aspects are not so problematic, BaaS is an effective complement to data security procedures. According to the 3-2-1 rule, you should always have three copies of your backup, using two different technologies, and one copy should be in a different location than the other two – preferably offsite.

By adding a cloud backup to the one you already have physically, you are satisfying two points of the 3-2-1 rule. Keeping one copy in a separate location obviously refers to protection in case of fire or other unfortunate event that could destroy the physical media. Keeping a copy in the cloud guarantees us complete protection against such threats.