Backup solutions are storage solutions that help organizations backup and save their data and information in secure, encrypted storage units. Files can be copied virtually, or in a physical format, then saved to a secondary location. This ensures that data can be backed up to provide on-demand access to files when needed. For instance, if a cyber-attack or technical fault wipes out your data, you can restore your systems from the most recent backup.
Backup solutions provide a range of benefits. However, they’re not just a “nice to have” feature in your security stack, but a legal and compliance imperative in many industries. When you consider how effective and cost-efficient backup solutions are, there is no reason why you shouldn’t have one.
Types Of Backup Solutions
There are a large variety of backup solutions that offer a range of different features for different use cases. We will explore some of the different backup types, then explain the subtleties of how different backups are stored.
Method-based Backup Solutions
Full data backup solutions: This form of backup makes at least one additional copy (duplicate) of every single file. As this is a full backup, all data (including metadata, logs, and configurations settings) will be stored. While this is the most comprehensive type of backup, there are one or two practical factors to consider. Full backups take longer to run that other types of backup due to the sheer amount of work that must be done. They also take up a lot of space, meaning that organizations need to have sufficient memory resource, or must delete older backups.
Incremental backup solutions: Incremental backups only make a record of changes that have been made since the previous backup (be it full or incremental). This means that they can be carried out much faster than full backups and usually require less storage space. The caveat is that recovery time can take longer as the full backup will need to be restored before any data on changes from the incremental backups can be restored. Incremental backups have low API utilization if performed daily, as the volume of API calls are dependent on the number of incremental changes performed each day.
Differential data backup: The differential method means that only the files that have been changed since the last full backup are recorded. In practice, this means that if a full backup is performed on a Monday, on Tuesday a differential data backup will only back up the files that have been altered or added since the day before. This results in only needing to restore two backups to have a complete data restore.
On-premise backups: This form of backup solution stores data on a device that is situated within your direct network or “in-house”, in an on-prem data center. On-prem data backup tools can be configured to store data manually or automatically. With this option, you are responsible for your data’s security, backup and restoration procedures, and the tools needed to make sure that data stays safe. You don’t have to worry about a third-party’s policies as you have total control. You can backup, move, or archive data as you see fit. On the flip side, this solution means that all security, responsibility, and maintenance work lie with you. This can require a greater resource and time investment. It is also worth noting that while these solutions are often initially cost effective, as your organization scales up, the benefits are quickly dwarfed by increased infrastructure, and outsourced maintenance costs.
Cloud/SaaS backup solutions: Cloud and SaaS backup solutions store your information on third-party cloud systems that are both secure and flexible. These solutions will have built in redundancy to protect from equipment failure, malicious human intervention, site and network downtime, and other cyberattacks. These backup services will run on a monthly or annual subscription model, and be dependent on the amount of data stored, number of users or servers. Cloud and SaaS solutions offer multiple benefits: they require little to no-maintenance for end-users, have security maintained by a third-party, provide enterprise-grade security, have out-of-the-box installation, and are easily scalable. Drawbacks include the high level of trust needed; you are not in total control of your data. No matter how robust a vendor’s security is, no one is completely immune from attacks. The cost of these solutions will increase as your organization grows and requires more storage space over the years.
Disk mirroring solutions: Disk mirroring involved the replication of data to two or more disks. As this uses solid state storage, it is a very quick method. This format is a strong choice for applications that require high availability and performance, such as email systems, transactional apps, and operating systems. Disk mirroring can be especially beneficial in instances of disaster recovery as it provides quick failover for data needed by mission-critical apps.
The Difference Between RTO And RPO
When purchasing, installing, and running a backup solution, two abbreviations will frequently come up: RTO and RPO. They stand for Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (RTO). RTO and RPO are incredibly important when it comes to disaster recovery plans and ensuring that your solution is configured effectively.
Recovery Point Objective
Recovery Point Objective (RPO) refers to the frequency that backups are performed. This can be anything from a month, to a minute. If a company opts for daily backups that occur at midnight, an attack that occurred at 23:59 could see that entire day’s work wiped out. You might choose to configure backups to be carried out at 18:00, as soon as most employees have gone home.
Recovery Time Objective
Recovery time objective (RTO) is the length of downtime a company can reasonably tolerate. Being offline for any duration of time can equate to hundreds or thousands of dollars in lost revenue, loss of productivity, and damage to credibility. RTO defines how long it will take a system to recover after a failure or attack. Generally, the shorter the RTO the better. Recovery time is one of the most important parts of a disaster recovery plan.
With cloud solutions, the recovery process can be much shorter than on-prem or off-site solutions. On-prem backups can take hours or days to recover, depending on the amount of data, storage type, and location. Any backups stored in an off-site location will have to be physically retrieved before data recovery can start. Cloud backup recovery can take a few minutes to hours, depending on how strong the internet connection is.
CloudAlly is a leading provider of cloud-to-cloud backup solutions and have designed products that suit the SMB market too. Their solutions are pre-set to make incremental backups once a day, thereby balancing the need for security and efficiency.
With CloudAlly, backups can be carried out quickly, due to their incremental method. These backups can be stored on the high-performance Amazon S3 storage, meaning that recovery is often faster than other incremental backup solutions. Utilizing Amazon S3 storage also provides customers with AES 256-bit encryption for data at rest and in-transit.
The solution is easily integrated with a wide range of SaaS platforms including the Google Suite, Microsoft 365, Salesforce, Dropbox, amongst others. They also offer 24/7 customer support to assist in any remediation for backup and restoration challenges.
You can set up a free trial of the CloudAlly service here.