Pros and Cons of Cloud Backup and Recovery
What are the advantages and disadvantages of cloud backups? Why should you use them and how can they fit your backup strategy. Learn this and more in this blog.
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Cloud backup and recovery help businesses prevent data loss and downtime. For SMBs, downtime costs an average of $8000. It costs more for medium-sized and larger organizations. With the threat of ransomware roaming about, cloud backups can’t be an afterthought anymore.
Data protection used to be farther down the priority and budget-allocation list. Today, organizations cannot afford to risk downtime, data loss, and data breaches. Cloud backup and recovery is a popular means of data protection. In this blog, we’ll take a closer look at the advantages and disadvantages of cloud backups.
Before we discuss the pros and cons of cloud backups, let’s define what they are for context.
What are Cloud Backups?
The term cloud backup combines cloud technology with backups. Cloud refers to offsite data centers provided by Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) such as Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS), etc. Backups provide a secure copy that you can use to restore data. When the two are used together, they mean creating backups and storing them in the cloud (offsite data centers).
Examples of cloud backup service providers include Veritas, Backblaze, StoneFly, etc.
Every innovative solution comes with its share of advantages and disadvantages. Cloud backups are not an exception to that. Now that we know what they are, let’s look at the pros and cons of cloud backups:
Pros of Cloud Backup and Recovery
Recover Your Data From Any Location to Any Hardware
Cloud backups provide the ability to recover your business data, regardless of where you are.
With cloud backups, there’s no need to restart a physical server manually, change any corrupted hard drives, or fix networking issues. Cloud recovery involves a few clicks, as long as your target hardware is up and running.
Business data can be recovered to similar or dissimilar hardware. If your primary production fails completely, you can set up a new one and restore data without losing much. Or if your primary production is fixed, you can restore data to the same hardware.
The key difference to note is that cloud backup does not provide direct access to your data. To access the data, it has to be restored somewhere first. The backup data stored in the cloud is “dehydrated”. Dehydrated means that it’s compressed and in a format that cannot be read directly.
Recover Quickly with Cloud Disaster Recovery
Cloud disaster recovery services enable you to “hydrate” data in the cloud in the event of a disaster. Hydrating data means restoring it in a format that can be read directly.
The ability to restore and access your data with minimum delay effectively reduces Recovery Time Objectives (RTOs). This capability is especially useful in the event of natural disasters, hardware failure, and ransomware attacks.
Less Hardware – Little Maintenance
Cloud backup and recovery does not need any extra hardware. To set up cloud backups, all you need to do is install backup agents on your systems. Once you’ve configured the backup and restore jobs, most of the process takes care of itself.
The absence of hardware leads to the following benefits:
- Hardware costs are cut to zero.
- Maintenance and hardware power consumption are reduced to zero.
- Less IT staff is needed to manage data protection.
- Installation and setup can be finished in a few hours rather than months.
- Data management is simple, easy, and less costly.
Compliance is Easier
Regulations such as HIPAA/HITRUST, FedRAMP, CJIS, FISMA, and others are specific about how organizations need to secure their customer data. Compliance is a complex and challenging ordeal. Cloud backups help with compliance as most CSPs invest aggressively in data security.
Although using compliant services does not make your organization compliant, it does help. By using compliant cloud backups, you can simplify your compliance journey.
On-Demand Resource Consumption
Cloud backups are easy to scale. This capability creates an opportunity for cloud users to start small and scale when data grows. The on-demand resource consumption makes cloud backup affordable. And a great choice for businesses looking to spend less and get more.
As backup data grows, cloud users can add CPU, RAM, and storage capacity.
Pay for What You Use
On-demand resource consumption also helps control cloud backup costs. Cloud backup users only pay for what they use. Conversely, hardware requires significant investment upfront. The bulk of which remains unused for a long time.
While cloud backups are in no way a complete alternative to hardware, they sure are an important part of an effective data protection strategy.
Cons of Cloud Backup and Recovery
No Internet – No Cloud Backup and Recovery
The primary disadvantage of putting your backup data offsite is that if you don’t have internet access, it cannot be used. Without the internet, you cannot back up your data or restore it.
Full Data Restore Takes Time
If the entire production environment fails, it takes a lot longer to download and restore data from cloud backups. The recovery speed (RTO) depends on the volume of data, internet speed, available bandwidth, and hardware capabilities.
This is not to be confused with cloud disaster recovery. Cloud disaster recovery helps you recover operations by restoring data to the cloud. Restoring data from the cloud to your hardware is time-consuming.
Technical Support is Frustrating
Public cloud service providers aren’t exactly known for their quality support. Depending on the issue, support requests consist of back-and-forth emails, long queues, and months of resolution time.
The quality of support for private clouds varies depending on the vendor. The same is true for third-party service providers that use public/private clouds.
Regular Cloud Backups Need Bandwidth
Cloud backups can be scheduled on an hourly, daily, weekly, or even monthly basis. For hot-tier workloads, backups can be scheduled in real-time. Depending on your business priorities and cloud backup schedules, bandwidth consumption tends to be high.
Safe to say that if your business uses regular backups, then the data protection system will need a greater part of the bandwidth.
This creates the challenge of distributing available bandwidth between cloud backups and daily business operations.
Cloud backups provide a cost-effective way to secure your critical business data. They can automate routine tasks and simplify data protection for the bulk of your data. When configured correctly, cloud backups are not only a necessity but an asset to your business.
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