Where Should Cloud-Based Data Be Backed Up?

Cloud computing is an Internet-based technology and involves sharing of resources, despite having local infrastructure, like storage medium and devices for handling data. Wikipedia defines Cloud Computing as “shared pools of configurable computer system resources and higher-level services that can be rapidly provisioned with minimal management effort, often over the Internet. Cloud computing relies on sharing of resources to achieve coherence and economies of scale, similar to a public utility.”

There are several advantages of cloud computing, which include high-performance computing power and lower costs. If one uses cloud computing to perform their daily routines, it means that they use remotely based servers, and their data could possibly reside at far away locations. Therefore, a cloud computing user must have their data backed up at all times to prevent any loss of data that is already in the cloud.

Cloud Based Data – Cloud Backup

Cloud backup uses a backup software solution, which backs up the data on to remote or offsite servers over the Internet. These servers are usually hosted by third-party service providers. Cloud backup solutions are also known as online backup. Organisations are struggling with the amount of important (in some cases very critical) data, which they do not want to lose. Backing up data on the cloud involves collecting, compressing, encrypting and then transferring that data to remote servers.

In a cloud computing environment, tens of hundreds of users may be using the same infrastructure simultaneously at any given moment. These users may be sharing and using the same computing and storage resources, and the same applications, as the nature of cloud computing is to share resources. This creates the need to come up with a system, which can encrypt the this data, and prevent others from accessing it either intentionally or unintentionally. In addition, in case another user accesses your data and edits or deletes it accidentally, cloud backup allows the data to be recovered in its original state, making it a very essential tool in protecting data and making recovery process easier.

Options for Cloud Backup:

• Backing-up Data with Service Providers: This option provides enterprises to utilise the services of selected provider(s), who manage all backup services, and create a backup within their data centre. Servers could be configured as private or public. Organisations, hence, have the choice to backup their data to public or private cloud infrastructures.

• Cloud-to-Cloud Backup: This is the practise of copying data stored on one cloud to another cloud service provider. For instance, your online cloud-based data (like Salesforce.com) can be backed up, to a cloud-to-cloud service provider’s vault. Solutions offering this service include: Asigra, Backup Everything, Backupify (a Datto company), Cohesity, Commvault, Dell EMC (Cloud Data Protection), Rubrik, Veeam, and many others.

Is Cloud-to-Cloud Backup Practical?

Within small-scale scenarios, users may copy data files from different applications like G-Suite and Office 365 to a local network or if the company IT guidelines allow to an external drive. However, such process is not scalable nor reliable, as it is a manual process. On the other hand, for larger enterprises (hence larger applications and files), such a manual job is not practical at all. Organisations utilising infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) can also involve application programming interfaces (APIs) or other third-party applications for creating backups to local servers; network attached storage (NAS) equipment, and/or to the company’s own data centres.

However, creating a backup of data already residing in the cloud to local servers is not a bright idea. Rather than benefiting from cloud services, this will force organisations to retain on-site infrastructure, limits their flexibility, and increases their cost of storing data, and defeats the whole purpose.

Companies that have implemented cloud-to-cloud services should be reassured that their data is backed up regularly, as they don’t have the ability to replicate the environment in their premises. In case of a data loss, recovery or migration to a new platform will take too much time, as local backups don’t exist. Therefore, backing up cloud based data to the cloud is the best option.

According to a recent study by Gartner, 1 out of 10 businesses creates data backups in an IaaS environment. However, this is expected to double by 2020, as businesses realise the importance of data backups, and more and more cloud vendors are joining the bandwagon to offer IaaS services.

Benefits of Cloud-to-Cloud Backups:

Creating a cloud-to-cloud backup offers various benefits over the offerings of SaaS providers’ and local storage, including: a speedy recovery and data backup, reduced infrastructure cost and greater flexibility. Keep in mind that cloud backups can be accessed from everywhere and at anytime. Moreover, organisations can also use and re-use data backups for analytics and data mining while original data remains in tact.

Cloud-to-Cloud Market:

Looking at the cloud-to-cloud solutions, one can see that the market is still immature and fragmented; and in many companies, this has made the CIO’s jobs very difficult to make senior executives understand the need for such services.The cloud computing environment is very diverse and vary from vendor to vendor in capabilities. It is evident that most cloud backup service providers have greatly improved their support level over the years, which in turn had made it easier for organisations to protect IaaS data, as well as backed up data in SaaS applications. The IaaS market has been growing in the past decade, and major cloud backup and storage vendors now provide, or are planning to provide, support for copies of the whole virtual machines (VMs).

Risks of Data Protection in the Cloud:

Backing up SaaS applications to the cloud remain challenging and complex and poses certain risks. Cloud to cloud backed up data is as good as the application itself. If for instance, Twitter service is down, then all your backed up tweets are no good, and can not be recovered to your Twitter account until Twitter is up and running. The same applies to your Salesforce.com and other similar cloud-based accounts.It is important that organisations maintain their due diligence and perform periodic testing to ensure that all is fine. Businesses must plan their backup strategies and should create at least three copies of their data so that the recovery process will be quicker in case of data loss. Restoring data within the data needs to be faster than that of an on-premise data recovery application. However, companies should not assume that this process will be an easy task.

Backup Everything is here to guide you in your search for a better cloud-to-cloud backup strategy. Please contact us at any time.

Should I Transfer my Data to the Cloud or Not? If Yes, How Do I Go About It?

If you are now ready to transfer your data to a remotely based cloud backup server over the Internet, it is time you understood how your data will actually be transferred.

Data Medium

Before you start transfer my data to the , you must first find out where your current data resides. Information stored on disk drives can be easily transferred compared to data stored in tapes. However, transferring tape based data is not easy. Although tape technology is in the verge of becoming history, it could still be orchestrated for backup; the process could be tedious and many service providers might not be ready to handle tape technology.

Tape and D2D2T

Modern data transmissions focus on disk-to-cloud and do not allow for easy online transfer of data from tapes to the remote cloud based server. In some instances, the tape based data may need to be transferred to disk drives before it can be sent to the cloud. In this case, it is advisable for you to follow up with your service provider to confirm that they are able to accommodate your needs to transfer your data from tapes to the cloud before you agree to sign up on the dotted lines.

Many cloud backup service providers offer disk-to-disk-to-tape (D2D2T) backups for data archival and additional backup requirements of enterprises. The cloud backup service provider transfer my data stored in the their cloud servers, copy it back into tapes, and ship them to the enterprise for on-premise archival and local data restores. Such local based data recovery definitely help reduce cost by eliminating the need for expensive bandwidth, by making the data available for immediate recovery from the tape archives.Freed cloud backup resources could instead be used for other backup jobs.

You can also enquire if your cloud backup service provider allows you to plug your tape drives to their network and possibly orchestrate an on-premise and cloud based backups at the same time. Therefore, a very useful feature in Cloud backup and recovery is Disk-to-disk-to-cloud.

Seeding

Your initial data backup, data seeding, may take a long time to complete and could be a tedious task. Bandwidth costs will add up quickly if you decide to transfer Terabytes of data from your local servers over the Internet. However, many cloud backup service providers offer data seeding services. Some even send you storage medium in the mail and instruct you to seed your disk and ship it back to them on a tape or disk depending your agreement. The cloud backup and recovery software must support this for first level seeding of information in the cloud or for storing data locally before vaulting it to the cloud.

Process Changes

Data being backed up to the cloud actually goes through some changes during transmission to the cloud. Cloud based data these days go through steps before they are actually stored in their final destination servers. The uploaded data is compressed, de-duplicated and encrypted using the commonly used algorithms, such as: AES 256, Triple DES or Blow Fish 448. These encryptions can not be easily penetrated and are industry standards.

E-Discovery

To transfer my data in heterogeneous environments, standard protocols can be implemented, assuring data integrity. For an easy e-discovery, data — including files and folders — can be converted into objects using metadata.

Company Strategy and Growth Plan

Now that you have some information on tape based data, data transmission, seeding, encryption, and e-discovery, the next question is ‘What do I need to do before I sign up for a Cloud Backup and Recovery service’? It is now 2019! Cloud backup is no longer an option, but mandatory. An organisation’s strategy and growth plan determines how effectively they can ride the whole cloud computing and backup and storage offers. However, factors like the kind of user you are, de-duplication, your data structure, archival needs, etc. play important roles:

Transfer My Data to the Cloud – The Kind of User you are

Your organisation may be using on-premise built software, off-the-shelf software, a number of operating systems, applications, databases, and technology stacks. As a medium to large corporation, you may be wanting to link up to the cloud based backup and recovery data management console from different devices like, mobiles, desktops, laptops and servers.

It should be stressed that the cloud backup service you sign up for must provide you with multiple platform support. This means, your system must work and get connected to all kinds of computing environments, like application servers, virtual servers, data servers and replication servers. The system should be capable of managing multiple environments and allow you to store data from a number of connections, using a centralised console.

De-Duplication

Without getting too technical, there are two types of de-duplication based on where the actual de-duplication takes place.The first is source based de-duplication is the removal of redundancies from data before the data is transferred to the backup target. The second is the removal of redundancies while the data is in flight to its target (as it passes through an appliance sitting between the source and the backup target). Source based de-duplication is better as it uses bandwidth usage is optimised through out the network for the purpose of cloud backup and storage services, resulting in lower overhead.

How do i Transfer My Data – Backup is as Good as its Recovery

Data backed up in the cloud is as good as its recoverability. Such cloud based data is useful if and only if it can be restored to the local, on-premise network with in the time frame specified by the organisation. In addition, recovery must include facilities for bare metal restore to similar or dissimilar hardware. Various levels of backup and recovery should be implemented, such as block level, file level, image level, or message level.

Dispersed Data

The cloud backup service vendor should provide for a continuous data protection (CDP) and replication by allowing a global data management with in the distributed environments. The eventual goal of the system and service is to provide a unified disaster recovery system with geographically dispersed replication for high availability of data.

Data Archival

You must also insist that the service provider archives your data to a less expensive storage servers, freeing resources for hot data. Data archival should be part of the data life cycle management features provided with the cloud backup and recovery system.

Software Updates

Finally, the cloud backup vendor should be proactively conscious of future market shifts and must constantly update the software to meet the emerging demands of the market. For instance, the shift from tape to disk should be factored in, and support for tape-to-disk-to-cloud should be implemented.

Backup Everything, a UK based cloud backup and storage firm, is here to help you migrate your data to the cloud by assisting you from the start, all the way to the end, until all of your data is transferred and backed up to the cloud. You have come to the transfer data, cloud backupdata storage, and data recovery experts … You are at the right place! Visit www.BackupEverything.co.uk