As businesses look to break away from traditional methods for purchasing, installing and managing their own infrastructure in house, attractive cloud-based alternatives present a dream scenario that promises all that your existing infrastructure delivers and more, whilst escaping the resource-sapping commitments associated with managing an on-premises environment.
For the most part this is very much the case. Platforms such as Microsoft’s Office 365 and Azure, as well as Amazon Web Services allow businesses to easily move their key applications, email and data storage to the cloud with cost-effective consumption-based models, shifting expense from CAPEX to OPEX and removing the dependency on maintaining physical infrastructure.
Transitioning your data into the Cloud is not where an IT Manager’s responsibilities end however, and we frequently encounter customers who overlook the importance of back-up and business continuity in a cloud-first world. Failing to consider what was a once a key part of the IT strategy inadvertently exposes your business to serious risk in the event of a major outage.
‘I’m in the cloud, I don’t need to back-up’
Many customers assume that using the public cloud means they no longer need to employ their own back-up strategy because they will be covered under the providers cloud service. However, in the majority of cases the harsh reality is that this is simply not true, and most cloud providers will happily provide the infrastructure to hold your data, while offering little in the way of data backup or historical data archiving. Should you lose your data, either accidently or deliberately, or need to locate a previous version of a file or folder, many cloud providers will not be able to offer this level of service. The contractual small print of most services will reveal that data will only be kept for a matter of days.
Managing an on-premises infrastructure has always involved regularly backing up data as part of an ongoing continuity regime. There is no reason to now ignore this crucial process simply because the data is no longer located on a server that you can physically see or touch.
When designing and implementing a cloud based infrastructure, we always include a back-up strategy for our customers, using either new, born to the cloud solutions such as CloudAlly or new products from mature solution providers like Veeam, who have adapted their existing products to meet new challenges. If you’re in-flight with a migration or have already moved to the cloud, it’s not too late to reinstate best practice.
How should I implement my back up?
Introducing a back-up solution to your cloud services doesn’t have to mean you reinstate an on-premises infrastructure to do the job. There are many cloud-based backup solutions available which will allow you to replicate your data to another location and provide the reassurance you need should something catastrophic happen to your primary cloud.
With a cloud-based backup solution, you’ll also benefit from the same flexible capacity and consumption-based economics as your frontline cloud service, so you can still avoid the expense and time constraints of managing a physical infrastructure. It is also important to consider where your cloud backup is located, as a 3rd party back-up provider may actually be hosting your data on the same public cloud infrastructure as your production data, negating any benefit of the backup should there be any issue, disruption or downtime. For example, if your cloud Infrastructure is hosted on the Microsoft Azure, consider using Amazon as the location for your backup data.
Choosing to run an on-premises backup solution for data held in the cloud can provide a certain amount of comfort for IT managers who prefer to see exactly where their backup data is located. Of course, you’ll have to account for the cost and resource required to manage your own infrastructure on site, something you may have hoped to leave behind with your move to the cloud, but you’ll benefit from the security of knowing that should the cloud become unavailable for any extended period of time, your organisation will still be able to access its own data
No matter which route you choose, you’re better off with a back-up
Ultimately, whether you choose to implement a cloud-to-cloud back-up service or revert to an on-premises infrastructure, you’ll be in an infinitely more secure position than operating without any protection measures as is standard with the majority of public cloud providers. You’ll rest easier knowing that the crucial data your business relies on is secured should the worst happen.
To learn more about cloud back-ups, how these can be implemented and which option is right for you, get in touch with a member of the team.