The (dis)advantages of Cloud backup


Cloud backup (online data backup) is a service where data is remotely maintaned, managed and backed up. This service allows the use of storing backup files online, so that they can be accessed from any location due to the use of the internet.

More and more people are backupping their data to the Cloud. Many more people are thinking about it. What are the (dis)advantages?

Cloud backup

Difference between an offline/offsite back-up and a Cloud backup

A cloud backup uses storage in the cloud (provided by a Cloud storage provider) to store the data and is remotely accessible. An offsite backup is a copy of your local backup and is kept offline and offsite. When you have the need for the off-site back-up you have to pick up that storage device, mount it and/or do some configuration and then you are able to restore the data on it.

Disadvantages : the device (data) can be stolen, corrupted (no RAID usage for example), it takes time to use the storage because it’s offsite (you first have to collect the storage device)

Advantages are : data is offsite and any influences on that location (storm, theft, fire) is not appliacable. Data can’t be altered and is safe for malware and corruption.

Advantages of Cloud backups

  • Effeciency, usability and reliability
    Cloud backups are extremely reliable. Due to it being stored in a cloud environment, redundant config compensate for possible hardware corruption and facilitates improved data integrity
  • 24/7 monitoring
    Any decent Cloud storage provider has a 24×7 monitoring solution. So any flaws concering their (Cloud) service are noticed immediatly
  • Scalability & Accessibility
    You can easiliy up- and down scale (pay for usage) and the backup service can be accessed everywhere as long there is access to the internet.
  • Recovery time improvement
    You can increase your recovery time. Because everything is in place all the time. (You don’t have to load tapes etc) It’s as simple as a push on the button.
  • Disaster Recovery out of the box & accessibility.
    You don’t have to build a disaster recovery infrastructure. It’s right there for you to use. It’s important to keep a copy of your backup offsite. Even when all your local backups are in order, there could be a hurricane or flood which could prevent access to your servers. (Cloud backups are offsite too!)
  • Cost savings
    Business and organizations can often reduce operating cost by using cloud storage. But be aware, use of Cloud backup can be more expensive also.
    It’s important to use a solution that makes sense and won’t require to incur a capital expenditure.
  • Your Cloud partner or backup vendor takes care of things for you
    Most of the time it’s a simple one time configuration and afterwards you don’t have to pay any attention about configuring.
  • Protection against physical theft and natural disasters
    A tornado could hit your office, or you could be a victim of burglary of theft. Now you could still rest easy knowing that your personal data is safe offsite in the Cloud.

Disadvantages of Cloud backup

  • A full backup or recovery job can be too time-consuming
    Even if you’ve got a large bandwidth internet connection, it will almost certainly take some time to initially upload and backup your data.
    The same goes for restoring. Slow speeds are, without a doubt, the majority of people’s biggest gripe with online data backup.
  • Limitations of the amount of data that can be uploade to the cloud depending on bandwidth availability. You are completely reliant on your internet connection and on the connection of your Cloud provider. If your internet connection goes down, so does your ability to backup or restore data from the Cloud.
  • No direct control
    When you send your data up into the the Cloud you have less control over it than over the storage you have onsite.
  • Discontinuation of the service. Providers can stop their service
    This is one reason you can’t rely on Cloud storage only. You always need a local backup solution.  For legal reasons you (may) have to hold your backups for several years. What if your Cloud storage provider cancels their service? Then you have to rely on your local backups!
  • Bad or nonexistent service-level agreements
    If a solid agreements with the cloud storage provider is not in place, it could result in disappointment. Make sure your expectations and the provider’s capabilities are cleary spelled out in the contract.(SLA!!)
  • Datasecurity & encryption
    There are concerns with the safety and privacy of important data stored remotely.
    If a Cloud storage provider doesn’t follow adequate data security practices, your data will be exposed to greater risk than with off-site backups.  Any online backup provider worth mentioning will encrypt the data of its customers during both transmissiond and storage using high-level encryption algorothms such as AES or Blowfish, the same used by banks and government agencies. However some provider don’t use those technices and may expose as as security risk.

Conclusion

Backup to the Cloud is easily configured and often works like a charm. But don’t forget to investigate the different vendors and platforms (Amazon, Azure, Google etc) and check the support from your backup application (/solution). There are multiple vendors like for example Nakivo Backup & Replication. There are gigantic differences between costs, possibilities, liabilities and support.

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