June 24, 2016

The Difference Between Cloud Backup and Cloud Storage

A major challenge described to us by our partners revolves around clients lack of understanding  when it comes to the cloud backups, and cloud storage. This is even more prevalent amongst small and medium sized businesses where products that are perfectly acceptable for personal use fall very, very short in a business context.

Too often, end users blur the line between backup and storage, understandably attracted to the incredibly low cost of storage with vendors like AWS, Google and Microsoft. In their search for ever-lower prices, end users fail to account for security, redundancy, versioning capabilities and recover-ability. The assumption is often made that the tech giants are infallible and immune to errors, outages or any other problems that interfere with their data. A quick google search will reveal that Amazon has had more than it's fair share of outages and database errors over the last 5 years, the most recent of which was in Sydney, Australia.

 

 

Cloud Storage

Simply put, apps like Google Drive, DropBox and OneDrive are all storage & sharing solutions. It appears like any other networked folder on your computer, with the added convenience of being able to access said files via the app or a browser, on any device wherever you have an internet connection. Incredibly handy for the road-warrior sales rep who forgot to bring some important presentation documents, but still not a backup solution. If your local version of any file becomes corrupt or falls victim to malware like Cryptolocker, then the 'cloud' versions become infected too - After all, they're just an identical copy.

Suppose you lose a significant portion of data, or an entire server due to hardware failure, rain damage or theft. You may still have access to the latest version of your files from home, but what if those files require special applications to be useful like graphics software, accounting software, word processors or an email account?

 

Cloud Backup

Cloud Backup is facilitated by clever software like Veeam® or ShadowProtect® - Where both applications and their data can be reliably and quickly protected multiple times a day. Only the data that has changed during a work day is backed up and added to a chain of incremental backups, further protected by the ability to keep multiple versions of files as they were at any given point in time. This feature (versioning) is the key to being able to recover from something like a Cryptolocker attack.

It is versioning that also protects against accidental (or deliberate) deletion of data.

Where backup really excels though, is in the recovery of lost information. The software (Veeam®, ShadowProtect®, etc) have incredibly sophisticated methods of restoring massive amounts of data to new hardware, whether physical or virtual, and restoring users to productivity.

In a business context, a backup should be managed by the SYsAdmin or the external IT provider, adding even more capability when it comes to restoring entire servers or user groups, not just that spreadsheet you deleted by mistake.

 

So whats the point of all this?

Education, and understanding what applications are fit for purpose when it comes to backup and storage. Clients have to understand that backup, both local and offsite, is a necessary form of insurance that they must have if they are to remain as resilient as possible. They should also be shown that the cost of backups is insignificant compared to the cost of purchasing and maintaining their existing IT assets, under normal circumstances less than half of 1% of their total revenue!