What You Need To Know About Cloud Computing - Part 2...Cloud Based Data Backup & Recovery
Today's data backup and recovery solutions have moved from traditional tape and hardware-dependent solutions to cloud-based solutions that offer organizations a far more agile means of recovering critical data in the event of any disruption. Although the cloud is becoming more accepted by the public and private sector, there still remains concerns about moving data to the cloud and then relying on the cloud to continue workflow without disruption should a primary server fail, for example.
Cloud Backup, also known as Remote data backup, is an excellent tool used by many enterprise and small-medium size businesses to ensure data and other electronic files are backed up on a consistent basis. Many times, due to it being classified as remote it is commonly located in some type of data center or offsite facility. Remote data backup is also known through terms like Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) or managed backup service as well.
These services are usually built on a scheduling platform such as through one of the many suppliers in the FreedomFire Communications portfolio. The platform determines when and how frequently critical data is backed up. The software is also efficient with replicating only items that have changed and are in need of being backed up. Typically, encryption is required as many of these services use internet access to connect end users with cloud providers. Encryption allows the files to be transmitted securely.
There are many products available in this space. Some are targeted to high end enterprise customers and services while others target single end user configurations.
Benefits of Cloud Backup
* Access Everywhere
* Billing Metric (unlimited or metered)
* Enterprise Class Backup
Integrating the cloud into an organizations's day-to-day backup and recovery operation is not a one-size-fits-all solution. There are key considerations your organization must explore before completely commiting to cloud-based data backup and recovery solution. Upon careful consideration you may then determine the right design for the solution which best fits your organizational needs.
1. Cloud cost analysis While in an ideal world all data may be stored in the cloud, budget decisions often necessitate making a judgment call on the most critical data. When pursuing integrated cloud recovery, determine what technology fits the budget. Pricing considerations should include the backup and recovery of files, databases, server images for both physical and virtual servers with no limitation on the number of servers and endpoints, auditing and 24 x 7 U.S.-based engineer-level support. When talking about operational expenditures, scalability related to pricing should be considered. If your organization becomes responsible for new services with an accompanying influx of new data, what will be the additional costs?
2. Determining desired backup speed As datasets continue to increase in size, the optimum solution is one that can handle capacity as well as provide the backup speed required. Speed is important to meet the backup window and to recover data quickly. A high-speed data transfer rate (advanced technology can transfer up to 5TB of data in 12 hours) gives organizations a much better shot ensuring systems and applications are backed up within a specified window with minimal disruption.
3. Transitioning from hardware-focused approach According to analyst firm IDC, the average cost of downtime is about $100,000 per hour. Even more surprising, most organizations experience 10 to 20 hours of unplanned downtime every year -- and that’s without any natural disaster taking place. Legacy backup and recovery systems have relied on tape backup and hardware that is neither cost effective nor able to efficiently withstand the onslaught of data that exists in agencies today. These legacy systems are also ill-equipped to provide prompt recovery from natural disasters such as hurricanes, to unplanned downtime as the result of system failure.
The hardware approach is costly because an organization may have to wait days for an appliance replacement. Moving to a direct-to-cloud approach eliminates the need to wait for a hardware appliance and accelerates data recovery. This enables an organization to recover data...in the cloud...without having to wait for an appliance replacement when a disaster event occurs.
4. Setting recovery time objective When developing a cloud-based backup and recovery platform, consider how long your organization can go without having access to data. Setting a recovery time objective provides the parameters IT managers need to work with in providing backup and restore. This can be as long as a day or as short as an hour.
5. Providing an efficient user experience For an IT pro, an appliance-free, cloud recovery solution should be manageable from any organization location. Managers should be able to log in via the web and commence a restore. More advanced solutions enable downloading files without recovering an entire server image first. However, ease of use is only one standard in evaluating cloud recovery options. There should also be the expectation of 24 x 7 technical support, with a live person. Any solution should also be compliant with the Statement on Standards for Attestation Engagements, No. 16, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and International Traffic in Arms Regulations.
These five issues described – cost factors, desired backup speed, the advantages of eliminating hardware appliances, setting recovery time objectives and user flexibility in recovering files -- are a good beginning in evaluating moving to a direct-to-cloud platform.
Clearly this technology sector will continue to make advances, driven by the growth of data and the need to provide fast backup to protect critical files. But the future of fast, reliable data recovery lies in the cloud as tape and hardware have already proven to be costly and inefficient.
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