Should you be working with the Cloud? Michael Davey answers the key questions
This year brought many new challenges, yet drew out more of the same questions I get asked every day from businesses thinking of making the move to the cloud…
- How can I make sure my backups are being safely taken off-site if I’m not in the office?
- Is my data secure in the cloud?
- Should I be migrating my data off-site?
- Which is better, Private or Public Cloud?
I wanted to look at some of these questions and give my thoughts on how your business can use the cloud to help strengthen your infrastructure and automate your disaster recovery processes – which, let’s be honest, is a key requirement given the business landscape at the moment.
1. Why backup to the cloud?
There are a number of benefits to using the cloud as part of your backup & disaster recovery plan. Some are general features that are applicable to mostly everyone, whereas others can be more specific.
Objectively, the cloud is physically separate to your infrastructure, it’s someone else’s hardware (that you don’t have the responsibility of maintaining, upgrading or monitoring), and it’s very scalable.
When applying this to a backup environment, it provides an off-site backup and ensures that in the event of a local physical disaster, you have a copy of your data from which you can recover. It also grows with you without having to worry about running out of space. Most providers allow you to scale your storage up or down to meet the requirements of data growth and consolidation without needing to worry about new hardware, backup file migration and restore point integrity.
More specifically for those using tape or disk rotations, cloud repositories offer an automated solution to getting your data off-site, meaning you don’t need anyone on-site to swap disks/tapes and worry about storing them securely in another location. This has been a particularly relevant point this year!
2. There are a lot of options, where do I start first? Should I look at Private or Public Cloud?
Whilst it is true that there are more cloud storage providers now than there ever have been, you first need to work out if you want to work with a Private or Public Cloud provider.
Typically, Public Cloud providers such as AWS or Azure have options for lower cost storage with additional costs for importing and exporting data to their platform, utilising bandwidth and long term retention. The storage cost in these instances typically scales with their performance, the slower the disks, the lower the cost. This is important to look at as it can significantly impact the performance of your backups. On the other hand, these providers are also among the most compatible, regardless of your backup system, and are easily integrated to most systems. There are also options with Public Cloud Providers for immutability which protects your backups from being compromised by malicious attacks.
Private Cloud storage typically means that you are either renting storage space from an independent provider or renting physical space for your own storage in a datacentre. These instances are more often tailored to your specific requirements and/or backup product but will provide more transparency in costing (though also commonly slightly higher cost than Public Cloud), more consistency in performance and more control over the environment.
A specific example of this, would be Veeam’s Cloud Connect offering that allows you to mount a storage repository that is presented in the same way as local storage, hosted in the cloud, as a target for backup copies. Whilst very specific, this solution allows for seamless integration of your backups to a cloud location with minimal setup and complexity.
Ultimately, both options provide unique advantages, but in order to avoid losing your attention before point 3 of this article, I’ve tried to keep this condensed!
3. What about services we already have in the cloud? Are they safe?
There is a common misconception that once you have something hosted in the cloud, it’s safe and no longer needs to be backed up. The thought often stems from the fact that the hardware is assured by the service provider and the associated risk of hardware failure is no longer present. Whilst this (for the most part) is correct, there are more things to take into consideration, such as:
- Malicious external attack against yourself or the service provider
- Internal errors such as mistaken data deletion
- Malicious internal attack or intentional data breach/deletion
- Associated devices becoming compromised (home devices especially that are not governed within the corporate network)
We would all like to think that the above scenarios “would never happen to me” and for the most part, thankfully this is often correct, there is however still a risk present. We have found that following the global push to work remotely or work from home in the last 12 months, cloud services and non-corporate devices have become the honeypots for malicious attacks, they are often taken advantage of as many companies are still in the early stages of adopting and understanding this technology within their business.
With this in mind, you are most certainly safeguarding yourself from hardware and physical threats when adopting cloud technologies. You should however always be aware of the disaster recovery principles of your cloud systems and work to safeguard them to the same level as your on-premise solutions.
Moving to the cloud, whether it be your entire infrastructure, or just some core services, can be equally exciting and daunting. At Planet IT, we work hard to remove the guesswork and de-mystify the associated technologies to make sure you and your business can grow and develop without worrying about the security and safety of your data systems.
If you would like to know more, please do get in touch, our experts are always on hand to help you achieve your IT goals and stay in control of your IT integrity and security.
Similarly, if you would like to book a no obligation, FREE cloud readiness assessment, to gauge which solution is correct for you, PLEASE BOOK ONE IN HERE