Not Using the Cloud for Data backup and Recovery? Why not?
Cloud backup – backing up your business data to a remote cloud server as opposed to storing them locally on a physical disk or on online servers – has been steadily increasing in popularity. 54% of companies use cloud based services to protect their mission critical data with 39% planning to expand their cloud storage in the near future.
1. Affordability: By storing data in the cloud, you can eliminate the costs required to purchase, install and maintain infrastructure otherwise required for physical storage of data. Administration costs are negligible as the cloud service provider (CSP) takes care of storing and managing the data, including securing the data against accidental or intentional data loss. There is no need to worry about upgrades, migrations, or your ground infrastructure going obsolete. Payment is only for the storage and bandwidth you use, which makes it an attractive option for small businesses.
2. Offsite, redundant data storage: Anybody who has experienced data loss knows the value of storing data at an off-site location. Cloud storage gives you that advantage so that your data is safe even when your work location is hit by a natural disaster or fire. Most large CSPs also store data in redundant servers at separate locations so that if one server experiences a downtime, your employees can still access data from alternate servers.
3. Efficient, Reliable and secure Backup: With advanced concepts like data deduplication and compression, cloud based backup is highly efficient. With redundant data servers, availability can be as high as 99.9%. Also, data in motion and at rest can be encrypted, making it less susceptible to data breach.
4. Scalability: The feature that makes cloud based data backup most attractive to organizations worldwide is its high scalability. You can increase your storage as your data grows and at any time, you only pay for the storage you consume. Unlike physical backup, there is no need to invest upfront in getting your infrastructure ready to accommodate the growth of your business.
5. Easy data access: Storing data in the cloud gives you access to the data any time and from anywhere in the world. Teams at separate locations can share files and collaborate better. You can choose to backup from one site and restore to another.
6. Simple backup and recovery process: The data backup process can be automated so that your data is regularly backed up. And all it takes is a few clicks to recover the data.
Like everything else, cloud-based backup also has its own disadvantages:
i. Taking a full data backup, as is done in the initial backup operation, can be time consuming. Further backups are fast as they write only the new or modified data. Similarly, a full data recovery will also be time-consuming. Companies that require frequent backup and restore of large files can use a hybrid cloud where data is backed up to an on-site server and from there to the cloud. During restoration, data can be recalled to the on-site server and restored from there.
ii. Depending on the bandwidth, you would need to redraft your backup strategy to accommodate the amount of data that can be backed up daily.
iii. You might encounter latency issues if there is a problem with the CSP network.
iv. Discontinuation of service may invite penalty in the form of early withdrawal fees.
v. Cloud data backup involves entrusting your company data to a third party. Ensure the CSP uses modern encryption tools to safeguard your data or choose to encrypt data before backing it up.
Switching to a cloud based solution requires a rethinking of your backup and DR strategy. Make an assessment of your data backup priorities to arrive at a backup plan that meets the needs of your business. What cannot be denied, however, is the affordability, scalability, and convenience of a hassle-free backup process that cloud-based backup provides.