The Importance of Off-Site Cloud Backups

Posted by · May 11, 2017 9:00 am

You get a call in the middle of night — your company’s internal hardware system has been hacked. The server and the offline backup disc have been compromised. You jump out of bed and immediately begin to panic… that information is crucial to the success of your business. It includes important data, such as account tracking, revenue logs, proprietary research, and private client information. This grave news has you wishing you would have moved faster with your disaster recovery plan of off-site cloud backups. But it’s too late now.

“Disaster recovery”. That’s a loaded phrase, and yet it’s an important phrase in the practice of data backups, especially when you want to avoid a situation like that outlined above. All companies house data and if it’s only stored on-site and something were to happen to a local network or server, all past documents and sensitive information could be lost forever.

With the changes in technology and the emergence of cloud storage options, companies are better able to protect themselves from local issues like faulty servers and hacker or ransomware attacks. The responsibility of protecting data, however, is no small undertaking. IT teams and administrators tasked with this role have many factors to consider, including the size of the business, the type of data recorded and saved for day-to-day activities, and levels of security required for backup safety.

There are effective and efficient ways to backup data, and other ways that can create gaps and large margins for error. The endgame in this process is to ensure all information vital to business operations — as well as sensitive company and client information — is recoverable from hackers and from software or hardware errors.

When choosing how to backup data, there are three main locations to consider: Local storage locations, like your server; offline storage, such as an external server or disk not connected to the network; and cloud storage, used for recovering files in case of a downed piece of local infrastructure — in other words, for disaster recovery.

We recently spoke with CloudBerry Lab, a provider of cloud-based backup and file management services, about cloud storage best practices. With the addition of the Windows Server capabilities to their CloudBerry Backup software, they’re pros at backup best practices. Their new product allows for protected transfer of files, folders, and system images to a cloud storage location of each company’s choosing.

Here’s what Alexander Negrash, director of marketing, had to say about the importance of incorporating cloud backups into the company protection plan:

Experts Exchange: Why should companies diversify which cloud service provider they use for backing up system disks or servers?
Alexander Negrash: The main reason to use cloud service providers for backup is the requirement to store at least one backup copy off site. That is required to achieve business continuity in case of disaster recovery. Major cloud providers such as AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud offer durable cloud storage that can be used as a reliable off-site storage location for backups.

EE: What is the importance of backing up both to cloud-based servers and local hard drive locations?
AN: There is a well known 3-2-1 rule in the backup and disaster recovery world. It says that you need to have three copies of your backups that are stored in two different places, one of each off site. Storing backups on site is important for fast recovery, while off-site storage is critical for disaster recovery when local storage media is damaged or unavailable.

EE: Should specific, sensitive data be reserved for local backup locations?
AN: Full backup sets should be stored both on site and off site. See 3-2-1 rule above.

EE: What backup frequency does CloudBerry recommend?
AN: It depends on the type of data and how frequently it changes. Some data should be backed up in real-time, while other data can be backed up on a daily and weekly basis. This is something that the system administrator or backup administrator should decide on.

EE: What level of encryption is recommended when using an external cloud or network-based server?
AN: We recommend to encrypt everything locally with the user-controlled password before uploading to backup storage. 256-bit AES encryption is recommended.

EE: How has CloudBerry met this need for encryption?
AN: CloudBerry Backup comes with the 256-bit AES encryption and allows customers to set their own password for encryption.

EE: How can an easy-to-use solution save companies time and money?
AN: Well… if the solution is easy-to-use, you don’t need to spend a lot of time on setting up and maintaining your backup routines.

EE: Can CloudBerry backups be automatically scheduled?
AN: Of course. That is a must-have functionality for any backup solution.

EE: How can companies achieve higher protection on client workstations and server systems where customers can’t run manual backups on a daily basis?
AN: Have a backup solution with scheduling capabilities or even real-time backup functionality.