In a previous post, we discussed the fact that many organizations seem to be stuck in the past with their data backup solutions. Despite the increased importance of backup, the increased cost of downtime, and the increased availability of modern solutions that meet modern demands, a large percentage of backup technology used today is outdated, insufficient and untested.

The cloud has emerged as a popular option for organizations seeking to modernize their backup solutions. While small businesses often turn to the cloud to completely replace traditional solutions, most organizations view cloud backup as another tool in the backup arsenal. The cloud is commonly integrated with existing infrastructure investments, or used as a supplement to it, as part of a hybrid backup strategy.

There are three cloud backup tiers. Tier 1 is for direct backup for remote offices and desktop and laptop computers. This typically occurs through a third party. Tier 2 is a private cloud that is capable of more specialized, controlled services and higher performance. Tier 3 is for more general, low-cost backup services, which generally occurs in the public cloud. Disaster recovery-as-a-Service is a model in which a third-party provides failover to a cloud environment by hosting physical or virtual servers, as well as configuring, testing and executing the disaster recovery strategy. We’ll discuss this in more detail in a future post.

According to a study from Gartner, 15 to 25 percent of backup solutions don’t work. When organizations rely on a single tier of backup, they risk significant data loss if that one system fails. The cloud not only acts as a bridge between legacy systems and today’s backup demands, but also provides valuable redundancy and failover for onsite solutions. Cloud-based solutions and modern backup software make it possible to prioritize and categorize data and applications so they can be backed up and recovered quickly and efficiently from local or cloud-based storage.

Cost savings are also a primary advantage of cloud backup. The cloud enables organizations to outsource part of the backup burden, leveraging virtually unlimited storage capacity without significant capital and operational costs for hardware, software and management. Offsite tape storage strategies (disk-to-disk-to-tape) can be gradually replaced with cloud storage strategies (disk-to-disk-to-cloud). Cloud backup is easier to scale, and concerns about security and performance have largely been overcome in today’s backup solutions.

As valuable as cloud backup can be, there is a downside. It can be difficult to find a solution or vendor flexible enough to meet your organization’s specific needs. Full, seamless integration of a cloud backup solution with an in-house solution can be challenging, and you may have to work with multiple vendors, which can make it complicated to troubleshoot your backup strategy.

When choosing a cloud backup solution and vendor, determine the levels of efficiency and cost savings gained in terms of infrastructure, personnel and time savings. Ask the vendor to provide data that shows the success rates of their backup and recovery solutions. Look for backup solutions based on your needs for the next three to five years, not current needs. You should also find out about the vendor’s security system and ensure that they’re capable of meeting regulatory compliance requirements.

It’s time to make sure your backup strategy is current, effective and tested. Let IPC guide you through the backup modernization process and help you determine how you can benefit by adding the cloud to the mix.