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Cloud backup is your best line of defense against data loss. This makes choosing the right enterprise managed cloud backup solution a critical decision that will have a lasting impact on your business continuity. Bottomline: you need it to work reliably every time if you want to ensure the integrity and availability of your data in the aftermath of viruses, human error, device failure, overwritten or deleted files, and more. But choosing the right cloud backup provider can be a tall order. Every business organizes data differently and has its own unique set of data backup and recovery needs, making the decision of selecting the appropriate backup solution an even more complicated one.
How Do Cloud Backup Services Work?
Cloud backup services for businesses work by providing customers with access to shared, software-defined, virtualized storage infrastructure. This lets providers create a large pool of data storage, parcel it out among its customers, and manage the whole thing down to the byte level. Management is based on customers’ size and demand, changing bandwidth conditions, security requirements and, in some cases, even variable data retention requirements. This means that the cloud backup provider can let customers store frequently used data in fast-access locations, such as primary virtual infrastructure or even an on-site storage add-on component such as a network attached storage (NAS) device. They can then place data that’s used occasionally on cloud-side hardware that’s a little slower to respond but still quick. They can also drop rarely used data onto tape that’s stored securely in off-site facilities and can only be accessed with significant notice. Each such storage tier is priced differently, and the backup tools provided by the cloud storage vendor can automate how your data moves between these tiers based on policies you or your IT staff control.
Checklist to Evaluate Cloud Backup Solutions
The best modern enterprise cloud backup services are able to deliver complete backup & DR functionality for multi-platform server environments with data sizes up to 100TB and beyond. Follow the checklist below to begin your search on the right path:
Performance – Before buying a new solution, test backup performance in your environment. Ask if your vendor offers effective backup speed testing, which it should. Tests should include upload/download speeds and latency tests.
Cost – Evaluating cloud backup costs work best when your compare total costs, not only the “teaser” price. Basic pricing schemes charge the average amount of GB stored in a given month, although this is not universal. Costs may go up for recovering data.
Security – Check that data is encrypted in flight and at rest in the data center, and look for audited data handling standards like SSAE-16. Before you backup data, be sure that you have protected it with anti-malware.
Local backup capability – This is an important component of any cloud backup strategy. Your vendor should enable additional local backup for high-value active data. This enables you to quickly restore priority data over the LAN.
VM and Physical server backup capability – A backup product should be able to backup physical and virtual servers, especially market leaders VMware and Hyper-V.
Disaster Recovery – DR is the reason that you do offsite backup in the first place. Best practice is to evaluate recovery performance during a trial period. Look for a DRaaS vendor who provides not only rapid recovery, but also spins up servers in the cloud as needed.
Archiving – Not the most critical component but large amounts of company data are never accessed, and storing it offsite frees up primary storage.