Disasters that affect data aren’t necessarily the type that Hollywood glorifies in blockbusters. The scenarios that could bring your business to a standstill might be caused by cyberattack, human error, blizzard or hurricane, or any number of other common occurrences. When these events happen – and they will happen to every business at least once – they are far more destructive when there is no plan in place for maintaining uptime and productivity.
In many cases today, comprehensive plans rely on hybrid cloud backup. What was once a costly, time-consuming process to back up data to tape has morphed into a reliable practice that can both safeguard your data and restore your business in minutes instead of taking days or weeks. And today’s proliferation of specialized business continuity approaches empowers organizations to save their entire systems soup-to-nuts, down to individual device settings and snapshots. Here’s how hybrid cloud backup can save your data, your reputation and your money:
The hybrid cloud backup process generates a local backup and a replicated backup offsite, giving you both data security and insurance. You get to keep your data in-house, protected by pre-existing firewalls, security protocols and the encryption inherent to your backup device. At the same time, by sending encrypted data to dedicated data centers, you ensure that there are redundant copies of the data secured off-site. The combination of local and off-site backups creates more secure data than if you simply pushed it over the Web to a backup service provider or kept it solely on-site.
If your equipment goes offline due to a system disruption, you can use your local backup snapshot of your machine’s files, programs and settings, or offload to a cloud provider immediately while your team fixes the on-site gear. In the meantime, your ability to failover to the cloud will help you decrease or eliminate downtime and continue to manage your data and applications. Once your server is back up and running, you can transition back to your original infrastructure with a bare metal restore (BMR), which will return all backed-up data and applications to your repaired server so you don’t lose any changes that occurred during the outage. And if an actual disaster, such as a fire or earthquake, occurs on-site and you lose production machines and local backup devices, you won’t lose your business data, and you can still keep your business running in the cloud.
Storage space in the cloud is nearly infinite, and you can decide how long you want to retain data locally based on your business’s needs for scalability. You can restore files with ease whether they are on-site or off-site, so you don’t need to worry about losing on-demand access to your data. This offers a great benefit to smaller businesses in particular because it provides flexibility if your local backup device has limited storage.
The initial investments for hybrid clouds are low, and you don’t need to own all of the essential pieces of the puzzle. Further, you’ll avoid maintenance costs as well as the steep power, cooling and physical expenses that come with on-premise data centers. And if you utilize a vendor with a purpose built cloud, ask if they have a cloud retention billing option to guarantee a predictable cloud bill each month.
Depending on your industry, you might face HIPAA, payment card industry (PCI), Sarbanes-Oxley or other regulated standards. Cloud services that are purpose-built for backup address these regulations and their mandates for emergency contingency plans and archiving capabilities by ensuring important emails or records never go missing.
For the channel, hybrid cloud is a boon for business. The solutions come with a lot of choice; you can retain ownership of devices and lease them to end-users or charge one-time implementation fees that cover the cost of devices. If you’re reselling hardware to end-users, you can focus on your core capabilities by offering service and support on a monthly basis. With physical assets and service packaged together, you have multiple options for building unique, recurring revenue streams.
You want to know who is in control of your data environment. With hybrid cloud, you can better predict the pricing and roadmap of where your data lives. Additionally, if you work with a managed service provider (MSP), you won’t give up control over your backup and disaster recovery infrastructure. If the vendor-controlled cloud is purpose-built for data retrieval, backup and continuity, it becomes a safety net for true disaster recovery efforts, and you can have an MSP regulate the local side of the backup infrastructure if needed. The result is decreased demand for manpower to support hybrid cloud solutions and fewer responsibilities, risks and expense to you.
Hybrid cloud backup brings together the best of the private and public cloud models to form a feature-rich, highly efficient and affordable system. Such a system is critical when disaster strikes, which it no doubt will, often in the form of something as commonplace as human error or a powerful storm. Hybrid cloud backup transforms what was once a difficult and prohibitively expensive process into one within reach of every business that values productivity and uptime.
This vendor-written tech primer has been edited by Network World to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favor the submitter’s approach.
Robert J. Gibbons Jr. is the CTO at Datto, Inc.