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What is cloud backup and recovery?

Cloud backup and recovery is needed for organizations to protect their data–vital info including documents and spreadsheets, financial databases, customer info, protected health data, and data in web-based applications or servers. Regardless of organizations’ size, secure and recoverable data is paramount.

02 / 3 / 2023
6 minute read
Cloud backup

But what is cloud backup? Think of it in terms of how you might save a second copy of an important document on your computer so that you have a backup version. There are numerous options:

  • Save directly to your PC’s hard drive - this is the least safe option. If your PC’s hard drive breaks or gets corrupted, or your PC is lost or stolen, so too is your file.
  • Save to an external hard drive or SSD - this option is a little safer. Even if you spill your coffee on your PC (a mini natural disaster!), you’ve saved your doc to a separate device, and it can be uploaded to a working PC. But keep that external drive safe!
  • Save to cloud storage - this option is the safest. If you save your document to storage services like Google Drive, Box, or Dropbox, a version of that file exists “in the cloud.” That means it can be recoverable for you on any device connected to the Internet, even if your PC and external hard drive are corrupted or stolen.

For individual users, the 3-2-1 backup strategy works best: having at least three copies of your data, two local (on-site) but on different media (or devices), and at least one copy off-site.

But cloud backup becomes essential when it comes to something more vital than a Word document—massive amounts of sensitive financial data, private health information, consumer info, critical application data, or other digital data that an organization relies on.

Read on to learn more about how cloud backup benefits organizations of all sizes, the differences between cloud backup and cloud recovery, and how Flexential helps with data storage and recovery.

The benefits of cloud backup for organizations

Cloud backup and recovery isn’t just for files. As software as a service (SaaS) becomes more integral to customers and businesses globally, so too does the protection of the components that make them possible. Here are two examples of things that can be protected through cloud backup:

  • Databases - often containing business-critical data or protected customer info; third-party cloud providers typically support the most common databases like SQL Server and Oracle.
  • Applications - what gets “saved to backup” are the apps’ settings, data, user preferences, and even IP address(es).

It’s both possible (and recommended) for almost every component of an organization’s data and its related services to be recoverable. But what are the specific benefits of cloud backup and recovery for organizations of any size?

1. Protection for data

Like in our initial Word doc example, storing critical data off-site means keeping those components safe in case of a natural disaster, human error like overwriting, infrastructure failures, or malicious cyber-attacks.

Responsible third-party cloud providers will feature data encryption as part of cloud backup or backup-as-a-service (BaaS). That means data stored off-site and “in the cloud”–financial data, credit card info, personal health info, critical application data–feature security measures in line with HIPAA, PCI, GDPR, and CCPA regulations.

2. Flexible storage

Wherever data is stored, it takes up space. Traditional storage devices like hard drives, tapes, or a personal cloud storage account have limited capacity.

Relying on cloud backup as a service means that organizations can offload some of the work of managing their backup solution. And unlike physical on-premises storage, cloud-based backup can be more quickly scaled up and down as requirements change.

And businesses operate differently today than they did even a few years ago. Flexible storage and recovery are especially important for remote work and today’s fast pace at which company data is growing.

3. Reliable recovery

Companies of any size that work with critical data should consider their recovery time objective (RTO) and recovery point objective (RPO). RTO measures how long it should take to recover data in case of disaster or attack; RPO measures the acceptable range for how much data might be lost during a disaster at one time.

Your recovery strategy should consider any type of RTO and RPO requirements that you have. For low RTOs and RPOs, you need to look at high availability and disaster recovery as a service. For higher RTOs and RPOs, and hopefully the bulk of your data, you’ll be able to use cloud backup as a service. You want to back up all data that you can because in a worst-case scenario, restoring from backups is highly reliable.

4. Reduce downtime

Reducing downtime is vital for organizations of all sizes that provide relied-upon services. Whether your organization is in finance, healthcare, utilities, or retail, natural disasters and ransomware attacks should be anticipated.

The single most important element to recovering from a ransomware attack is being able to restore from backup. Reliable backups not only enable the organization to recover their data, but it also means the organization can avoid paying a ransom and incurring both the ransom costs and the increased risks experienced by organizations who do pay a ransom.

For applications that do not have high availability or disaster recovery, failure to have reliable backups can result in vital applications being offline for much longer and then incurring unhappy and lost customers, lost revenue, lost productivity. severed partnerships, and a poor industry reputation for being unreliable.

5. Reduced IT burden

As organizations grow, so too does their data footprint. And often, the in-house IT team can’t keep up with backup and recovery requirements. Relying on a third-party cloud backup as a service provider offloads some of that work. And reputable providers can provide even more robust and scalable recovery services than can be achieved in-house. This includes elements like disaster recovery as a service and more.

Cloud storage vs. cloud backup

Cloud storage and cloud backup are related but distinct. This distinction is important when looking at a third-party cloud recovery provider and what they offer.

  • Cloud storage - the tools and/or services that allow you to free up on-site space by storing data and applications off-site
  • Cloud backup - the tools and/or services that allow you to recover vital data and applications in the event of a disaster, human error, or attack

Services that feature cloud storage may not include the protective or recoverable components that cloud backup provides. It’s possible for even data stored on the cloud to get corrupted, stolen, or lost. What matters is that there are tools and processes in place that restore that data to working order and minimize your business’s downtime.

Leverage the expertise of your backup service provider

Your business requirements are as unique as your services and offerings. It’s why you need cloud backup and recovery as a service that flexes as your data footprint evolves. In addition to offloading much of the IT resources needed, solution providers like Flexential house highly certified engineers who take a consultative approach to backup and disaster recovery solutions that improve business resiliency. Whether you’re a growing organization looking for help with recovery planning or in need of enterprise cloud backup solutions, Flexential provides cloud backup and recovery, DRaaS, BaaS, and recovery design and planning.

If you’re ready for consultation on your cloud backup and recovery needs, reach out today and get a quote.


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