Choosing a cloud backup provider to protect your business
When it comes to choosing a cloud backup provider there is a myriad of options on offer but what should you be looking for? There are a number of points that you need to consider before making the leap and trusting another company to look after your data.
How will they look after your data?
When people see the word cloud it conjures up images of servers in the sky. But really, the cloud is just a collection of servers in another location like the ones you may have in your office.
When talking about cloud there are 2 main types of cloud providers
Public Cloud – these providers primarily use Amazon AWS, Google Cloud or Microsoft Azure. They don’t own any servers but take advantage of cheap storage offered to them by the public cloud to build their services on top of.
Public cloud services come from huge, shared cloud platforms and tend to be reliable, but it is very difficult to know where in the world your data is being stored and how it’s being handled or secured. The provider relinquishes this responsibility to the public cloud provider.
Private Cloud – these providers either operate their own cloud server platforms or re-sell a service from another provider who does. Private cloud providers will be able to tell you exactly where your data is being stored and what security measures are in place to protect it. It is critical to make sure your data is stored in a secure, resilient data centre facility and not in the provider’s office. A Tier 3 data centre, with redundant and dual-powered servers, storage, network links and other IT components is the recommendation to ensure your data is fully protected.
Private cloud can also offer other benefits such as cloud backup seeding (which helps the provider get the first full backup of your data if there is too much to send across the internet) and quick physical access to your data if you should ever need it.
It is important when comparing cloud backup providers to find out how and where your data is being stored.
Encryption is another factor to consider. You should be looking for a provider who can offer encryption both in transit as your data passes across the public internet on its way to the provider, and at rest once it reaches the provider and is stored on their servers.
Simplicity and compatibility
Usually, when you are wanting to restore something from a backup you want it back quickly and don’t want to waste time navigating complicated software options. For this reason, it’s important to examine what backup software the cloud provider is using. There are a handful of market leaders such as Veeam, and it’s important to make sure that everything you want to back up is being backed up efficiently and that you have simple restore processes in place.
Compression and deduplication
Because most cloud providers charge per GB or TB of storage, for the system to remain as cost effective as possible you want your backup to be the smallest it possibly can be.
For this reason, it’s important that your cloud provider’s software offers compression to compress your data and deduplication to eliminate the backing up of duplicate files more than once, which is wasteful on cloud space. Because business servers share a lot of the same operating system files this can cut your backup size down sometimes by around 50%, saving you money.
Monitoring and Support
The most important part of a cloud backup solution is to ensure it is working and stays working. For this reason, you need to consider who will be responsible for monitoring the backup, and do you have adequate support for the solution should you run into any technical issues?
Some solutions come fully managed which means that the provider is responsible for monitoring your daily backups and should pick up any problems and resolve them. If you don’t have any in house IT expertise or don’t want to have the worry or responsibility of looking after it yourself these are recommended.
A cloud backup provider that meets all your requirements and can offer the best level of service and support is likely to cost a little more than one who cannot. Therefore, when examining your options, it’s important to understand exactly what each provider offers so you don’t end up with a shortfall in service. Private cloud providers are the only ones who can offer a true end to end managed service with full accountability and the highest level of security of your data.
In order to get a price from a cloud provider, you will need to know the following technical information:
- How much cloud storage space do you need?
- How many servers/workstations do you want to back up?
- What is the upload speed of your internet connection?