Due to the potential impact of data loss and other incidents on organizations, it’s critical to have a clear disaster recovery strategy. Gartner reports that a business’s average downtime cost is $5,600 per minute. Unfortunately, 93% of companies with no disaster recovery strategy in place who suffer a major disaster go out of business in under one year. Moreover, 40% of small businesses never survive a natural disaster.
A 2019 LogicMonitor study revealed that 96% of businesses experience an outage in three years. While the average cost of data breaches was $4.24 million in 2021, making data security a critical aspect of organizations and businesses. Hence, the need for backup as a service (BaaS) – a fully-managed service that gives different-sized companies peace of mind.
Organizations can set up flexible data backup operations using in-house architecture or use available BaaS solutions, in addition to their local storage. Fortunately, several corporate storage TCO (Total Cost Ownership) solutions help calculate costs, prevent data breaches, and avoid loss.
What is Data Backup?
Data backup refers to data copying from a primary location to a secondary one to protect it from malicious actions, accidents, and disasters resulting in data loss.
Data is the lifeblood of organizations, so losing it can cause massive, and sometimes irreparable, damage and disrupt business operations. Hence, a backup plan is critical for all businesses. Backup data includes documents, configuration files, operating systems, media files, registry files, and machine images.
Data backup includes the following essential concepts:
- Backup solutions and tools: Regular and consistent data backup requires organizations to use technology solutions rather than manual backups.
- Backup administrator: Organizations should designate one employee responsible for data backups. They should set up systems correctly, test them periodically, manage their operation, and ensure critical data gets backed up.
- Recovery Point Objective (RPO): RPO refers to the data an organization is willing to lose should disaster strike. The frequency of data backups usually determines the RPO. For example, if the organization backs up its systems once per day, the RPO is 24 hours. Lower RPOs require more data storage, network, and resources to achieve frequent backups.
- Recovery Time Objective (RTO): RTO is the time it takes an organization to restore its data and systems from backups and resume operations. Restoring systems and copying data takes longer for large volumes and backups stored off-premises. Therefore, the organization needs robust technical solutions to ensure a low RTO.
- Backup scope and schedule: Organizations should have a backup policy specifying which systems and files are critical enough to warrant backups and how frequently to do it.
What is Backup as a Service (BaaS)?
BaaS is a subscription-based approach to backing up organizational data and involves purchasing online backup, storage, and recovery services from a data backup provider. Therefore, BaaS connects systems to public, private, or hybrid clouds managed by an outside provider instead of performing backups with a centralized, on-premises IT team.
BaaS is easier to manage and run than other offsite services. Data administrators offload management and maintenance to the provider instead of worrying about managing hard disks or tapes at an offsite location.
Many organizations switch to BaaS when they have outgrown their legacy backup systems and cannot afford costly on-premise, high-level backup upgrades. Furthermore, outsourcing backup and recovery keeps data accessible and restorable from a remote location after an outage or failure.
While larger organizations can afford to run on-premises private and hybrid cloud storage, many small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) cannot afford it. Therefore, BaaS delivers enterprise-grade services for a predictable monthly subscription rate, making best-in-class data security and backup accessible for any organization.
SMBs cannot afford to remain non compliant to data security regulations because they risk steep fines, legal consequences, and loss of reputation should a data loss occur. Besides, data losses threaten business continuity, and downtime is expensive. Therefore, BaaS is a data insurance policy that protects organizations if their data gets compromised and allows them to get back up with minimal downtime and effects.
What is a Backup Server?
A Backup server is a type of server that backs up data, applications, files, and databases on a specialized remote or in-house server. It combines software and hardware technologies for backup and retrieval services to connected servers, computers, and related devices.
Enterprise IT environments use backup servers when the organization connects its computing systems to a backup server. The backup is retrievable or recoverable during disaster recovery after a data loss or corruption. When the backup server connects remotely to a cloud service provider or BaaS, it uses a web interface or vendor application programming interfaces (APIs).
How Does Backup as a Service Work?
BaaS is a secure and reliable managed cloud service offering backup and recovery to organizations and businesses. In turn, client businesses don’t have to invest in costly additional hardware such as servers and standalone hard drives. Instead, the client can connect to the cloud backup application, configure their preferences, and leave it to work magic.
Additionally, your backups could run at set intervals or simultaneously in the background, depending on the service level you want. After backing up the system, it transmits data to the cloud server over a secure network. Thus, data gets saved directly to the cloud instead of an on-premises server.
In turn, BaaS providers rely on industry giants such as Microsoft, Google, and Amazon for distributed cloud storage, application services, and data processing.
The BaaS provider manages the entire process, providing clients with a user-friendly dashboard from where they can manage their data.
Since providers deliver BaaS on a subscription basis, they bill it monthly or annually. Pricing plans depend on the storage, backup frequency, bandwidth clients require, and how often they access their data. Backups contain an exact copy of the original business data at the last backup and often the associated metadata.
Once a client experiences data loss, they can recover what they need from their backups, whether a single page, image, product line, or the entire system.
Finally, organizations of all sizes can use cloud backup. Most SMBs rely on it as their only offsite backup solution. BaaS helps them stay lean and maintain a high level of availability and protection. However, enterprises often use it as a supplemental option.
Types of Backups
Organizations can either back up their data manually or use a backup program. The latter is an intuitive and more efficient way that uses different approaches in executing a backup. These approaches are categorized into different backup types and define how the organization copies its data from source to destination. They also lay the groundwork for data repository models.
The four main types of backup are:
1. Full Backup
A full backup is always the starting point and contains all the data, files, and folders selected for backup.
- Advantage: Since full backups store all files and folders, frequent backups lead to simple and faster restore operations. For example, performing a full backup daily ensures you copy everything selected every day. Additionally, you will get the data backed up from the previous backup when you restore it.
- Disadvantage: It is slower compared to incremental and differential backups.
2. Differential Backup
Differential backups don’t take as long as full backups because they only copy files that changed since the previous full backup.
- Advantage: It shortens the restore time compared to a full or incremental backup.
- Disadvantage: Performing many differential backups could make the backup size surpass the full backup.
3. Incremental Backup
Incremental backups store all the files changed since the previous full, differential, or incremental backup.
- Advantage: It takes less time to complete than a full or differential backup.
- Disadvantage: Restore operations must process each incremental backup, resulting in a lengthy restore job.
4. Mirror Backup
A mirror backup is identical to a full backup, except it does not allow for the compression of zip files or their password protection. Instead, organizations use mirror backup to create exact copies of their source data.
- Advantage: Allows the ready access of backup files using tools such as windows explorer.
- Disadvantage: It does not allow for the compression of zip files or their password protection.
Organizations must ensure data security and compliance for all the above backups. Outsourcing to a BaaS provider means ensuring backup solutions and endpoints are protected from unauthorized or unlawful access. Some features to look out for include:
- Does the data backup software provide version control for all backup files?
- Does the software ensure strong data encryption?
- Can the system back up the user data on an encrypted hard drive?
Failure to comply with data backup security and compliance could lead to severe legal actions, including steep fines and penalties.
Here are some commonly asked questions about additional backup types:
Managed backup services use third-party service providers (MSPs) to create and store data backups. Some industries, like finance and healthcare, require the creation of backups to protect customer information and remain compliant with regulatory practices. Sometimes companies must keep their data backups for several years, which eats into available hard drive space. Therefore, they turn to MSPs to store their backups and free up space on their networks.
Organizations also turn to MSPs as part of their disaster recovery strategy to mitigate against security breaches and network compromise.
Offsite backup processes or facilities store data and applications outside the organization or its core IT environment. It is similar to the standard backup process but uses storage media or facilities outside its core infrastructure. The primary aim is to secure data from malicious attacks and keep a backup copy should the primary site get damaged or destroyed.
Onsite or on-premise backup refers to backing up systems to a local server, drive, or disk. It usually occurs on the business premises.
Endpoint backup offers data protection for employees’ devices such as laptops and desktops which is particularly important for a remote workforce. Without end-user intervention, it collects and transmits data on employee devices to a secure backup offsite or on the cloud.
FTP backup refers to transferring and securing organization data using the File Transfer Protocol (FTP) from source devices to dedicated FTP servers. It occurs remotely since FTP servers are in a centralized data center, either onsite or offsite.
Why is Backup as a Service Important?
Today’s increasingly digitized business landscape makes data backup vital for the survival of organizations. Without data backup and storage, an organization can get ransomed or hacked and lose its data to thieves who end up selling its trade secrets to the highest bidders.
For example, malware injected into a company’s systems can corrupt its hard-earned information. Alternatively, disgruntled employees and other insider threats can delete valuable digital assets. Organizations must be able to recover from such data loss, hence the need for backup as a service (BaaS) to help with disaster recovery.
Data loss is also a primary concern for software-as-a-service (SaaS) companies since their SaaS backup and recovery policies alone cannot guarantee an expedient return to normal operations.
BaaS helps organizations and businesses avoid data loss and disaster by automating the backup and recovery process. Today, backup as a service is a vital part of comprehensive disaster recovery plans (DRPs) for many organizations. It supports business continuity and prevents prolonged downtime and loss of reputation and revenue.
Other benefits of backup as a service include:
- Improved data security: BaaS providers keep data in secure locations heavily encrypted for protection.
- Increased productivity: BaaS helps businesses recover and restore their lost data, reducing downtime and increasing productivity.
- Allows easy access to data: BaaS solutions give employees ready access to company data from any device.
- Increased efficiency: BaaS solutions ensure business owners no longer need to worry about their storage and backup systems. Thus, they can focus on core business operations.
- Reduces costs: Offloading data backup responsibility to a third party helps businesses reduce operational costs and saves employees time.
- Peace of mind: BaaS solutions give businesses peace of mind knowing their data is safe, accessible, and backed up.
What is Cloud Backup?
Cloud backup is also known as remote or online backup. It’s a strategy for sending copies of physical or virtual files and databases to a secondary, offsite location to preserve it from loss, corruption, or destruction.
A third-party service provider usually hosts the secondary data storage and server systems in exchange for a fee. They charge fees based on several things such as storage space used, data transmission bandwidth, number of servers, number of users, and the number of times customers access their data.
Implementing cloud data backup helps bolster organizations’ data protection strategy without increasing their IT staff’s workload. Also, SMBs don’t have to invest in data backup and recovery systems and human resources.
What are the Types of Cloud Backup?
There are three main types of cloud backup:
1. Private Cloud
Private cloud services are only available to the organization, and the public has no access. They are also called enterprise or internal cloud services. The cloud storage is inside the organization and has firewall protection to reserve data access.
2. Public Cloud
Third-party providers like Office 365 and Amazon Web Services offer public cloud services over the internet. Therefore, these cloud services are available to anyone to purchase or use. When sold on-demand, public cloud services allow customers to pay per usage for storage or the CPU cycles and bandwidth they consume.
3. Hybrid Cloud
A hybrid cloud is a computing environment combining on-premises data centers (i.e., private clouds) with public clouds. It allows the sharing of applications and data between the two cloud computing environments. Some people define hybrid clouds to include “Multi Cloud” configurations where organizations use several public clouds on top of their on-premises datacenter.
What are the Differences between Cloud Backup and Cloud Storage?
Cloud storage is not cloud backup. Services like OneDrive and Dropbox offer cloud storage for files, videos, photos, and other documents. They enable remote access to files, syncing, and sharing files. However, cloud storage does not protect against data loss or corruption.
On the other hand, cloud backup makes copies of files uploaded to the cloud, ensuring a continuous backup with an easy restoration option.
Differences between cloud backup and storage include:
- Cloud storage supplements hard drive space, making it easier to access and edit files remotely, while cloud backup restores files after data loss.
- Cloud storage allows users to manually select files to store in the cloud while backup services work automatically and regularly to save and sync files.
- Cloud storage services only encrypt files on the server side, so the data transfer process is less secure than cloud backup providers who encrypt files during transfer and storage.
Backup as a service is the new normal welcomed by businesses big and small because of its cost benefits and convenience. However, when looking for a BaaS provider, it’s critical to choose a competent one that will give you the best features at the best market prices.
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Frequently Asked Questions