Being a cloud backup managed service provider we run into common myths surrounding cloud backup. We hope we can dispel some of these more pervasive, and incorrect, perspections of cloud backup.
1. Cloud backup is “Not secure.”
One of the biggest concerns with cloud backup is around security and privacy of data. This is understandable in today’s world where data breach headlines are everywhere. Ironically, with the right cloud backup solution, your data is most likely many times more secure using an enterprise-grade cloud backup solution than with more traditional backup methods. When we encounter folks who think cloud is not secure, it is usually quickly apparent their existing backup solution is far less secure. Traditional, customer managed backup systems, struggle with getting data offsite quickly, securely, which also includes managing media rotations, encryption and other best practices that are not strictly adhered to. Security is a top priority for a cloud backup service provider where these security issues are easily handled.
Summary: Cloud backup providers have gone to great lengths to make sure their managed services are extremely secure. We offer highly encrypted services (AES 256-bit, FIPS 140-2 certified encryption) with the client’s control of the encryption key. In other words, we do NOT store the encryption key unless you request us to and therefore we do not have access to customer data.
2. “Restoring from the cloud takes too long.”
Most enterprise cloud backup systems have the option to store data locally as well as having multiple copies offsite. 99% of the time recoveries are made from local storage at LAN speed. It is rare that restoring data from cloud is required.
In the rare event of a site disaster, in which the local backup has been compromised or destroyed, most business-class cloud backup service providers will provide the ability to ship your data on portable media (fully encrypted) within 24-48 hours. If that sounds like a long time, consider whether you will also have the spare equipment on hand to restore your data to. Some cloud backup service providers will also provide the ability to spin up recovered servers in the cloud for quick recovery.
Summary: Restoring massive amounts of backup data from the cloud is rare. Cloud backup service providers have a number of alternative methods to provide for quick recovery.
3. “Too much data to backup.”
While this statement is sometimes true, it rarely is. Backup administrators are used to the legacy backup systems in which a full backup is made daily, or weekly and they think full backups are required for cloud backup. Actually, repeated full backups to cloud is not a good practice, and impractical in most circumstances.
A business-class cloud backup system will support “Incremental Forever”, which means that after the first full backup only incremental backups are made. Incremental backups only send the changed data (at the block level) since the last full backup. This drastically reduces the amount of data needed to backup.
In addition, the first full backup is typically performed on mobile media such as a USB drive and shipped (encrypted) to the data center instead of sent over the internet. This avoids the large transfer of data over the internet.
A general rule of thumb we provide to clients is that for every 1TB of customer data you need 1 T-1 (or 1.55Mbps). A 20Mbps internet connection could support a 12TB environment.
[Related: Use Archiving to reduce cloud backup costs]
Summary: Having too much data is rarely a concern for the right cloud backup solution.
4. “Incremental forever means hundreds of restores.”
Related to #3, people think “incremental forever” means lots of little restores. They think if they have a years worth of backups they will have to restore the first backup, and then 364 other backups. This could not be further from the truth. Incremental backup software has the intelligence built in to assemble the data to any point in time. Restoring data can easily be accomplished, to any point in time, with just a few mouse clicks and a SINGLE restore operation.
Summary: Incremental forever does NOT means many restores. Rather a restore operation, to any point in time, can be made in one step.
5. “Too costly.”
Nothing is more costly than losing your business or data. Our solution is based on the size of the backups, not the number of devices/servers being backed up. The storage size is also after de-duplication and compression, which will lower costs.
Older archived data can be stored at lower cost as well. Which allows you to align the cost of the backup with the value of the data. In many cases we can drastically reduce costs by moving older data to lower cost tiers of backup storage.
In addition to the backups, you are receiving expert management, monitoring and support services from the service provider. For many clients utilizing an “unmanaged service” many backups go without being properly monitored, tested, and restored. Our services allow full expert support and monitoring at a much lower cost to you, without the worry of losing any data.
Summary: When you look at all aspects of backup and recovery, the costs can be easily justified.