Cloud-delivered backup services are the optimal way to protect your data, but how do you choose the right one?

There is a lot of noise in the market right now about cloud-based services of all kinds. Perhaps the most obvious of these is the idea of using the cloud – or some version of the cloud – to back up a primary, on-premise data center for disaster recovery purposes.

A quick search reveals that you can choose from a huge range of services — from cheap, consumer-grade offerings designed for individual users to enterprise level (read: “expensive”) services intended for the Fortune 500.

In the IT world, we spend a lot of time sorting through “bright shiny object” technologies, but in the end it’s nearly always about the value to the business and our customers.

In the case of cloud backup, though, it’s really about two things: value AND quality. After all, a cloud-based backup is completely worthless if you’re not able to recover data from it when the time comes, regardless of the “bargain price” you negotiated when you signed up.

Don't worry - you can still have a disaster recovery plan on a budget!

Image Source: Scott Adams, Dilbert.com

Regardless of their size, customers considering cloud solutions for their data protection and disaster recovery plan should always ask these critical questions: 

  • How easily and quickly can I recover my data?
  • What SLAs are in place that prove I trust this vendor to do a good job handling by backups?
  • How secure is my data?
  • How much is it going to cost me? 

Data Backup in Many Colors 

On-premises ("on-prem") backup has been a popular solution for many years; many companies tend to look at that as a safe bet, especially in terms of security, since the data physically stays under the company’s control at all times.

In addition, on-prem solutions tend to support very fast recovery times since there are no significant bandwidth bottlenecks to contend with.

The biggest downside of on-premises backup, however, is indeed significant to any business: Cost.

The company must tie up a lot of capital building out and maintaining its own on-premises backup systems. Not only that, all IT systems age and become obsolete; they have to be refreshed on a fairly regular basis, which takes more capital out of the business.

Another issue, of course, is resiliency. Relying solely on a local backup system is almost literally a case of putting all your eggs in one basket. Think of what can happen in the event of a major fire, flood, or hurricane? Even rather mundane things like human error can jeopardize the quality and recoverability of data stored on-prem.

Traditional on-prem storage subsystems also require engineering expertise; you must have well trained, knowledgeable people on staff who understand storage architectures and who stay on top of the latest trends and technologies.

Tech is constantly changing, don't bet data protection on old, premise infrastructure!

Image Source: Scott Adams, Dilbert.com

Moving from on-prem backups to cloud offers numerous advantages:

  • 100% OPEX with no CAPEX required
  • Scalable — almost infinitely in practical terms
  • Expert specialists maintain the system for you
  • Security in the cloud today can be as good as any on-prem system (when you work with the right partner)
  • Deduplication, WAN acceleration, and high capacity pipes mean negligible latency

Making Your Backup Plan

 At a basic level, it’s fairly easy to develop a backup strategy that takes advantage of the latest developments in cloud technology and services. As a first step, figure out answers to these questions: 

  • How much data needs to be backed up?
  • Is this data being backed up as part of a disaster recovery plan or is it just for data recovery if a file is lost or corrupted?
  • If this is part of a disaster recovery plan, what are our Recovery Time Objectives (RTO) and Recovery Point Objectives (RPO)? 
  • Do you have people who can properly handle testing, maintain, and use a disaster recovery system or will you need outside help?
  • How much of your data resides on physical systems and how much resides on virtual machines (VMs)?
  • Do your existing backup and disaster recovery applications support data stored on VMs? 

The answers to these questions will help you to begin identifying what the backup environment will contain.

Be Serious About Data Security

If you’re looking to save money, data security is the wrong place to start. You must have assurance and the SLAs that go with it, that your confidential data is encrypted in motion and at rest. This raises a host of issues around performance and, to some extent, cost.

Good encryption systems must be implemented properly by an engineering staff that understands how encryption works and how hackers might try to bypass them. They require hardware that can handle the encryption and decryption chores without choking.

Be sure your cloud backup provider can back up claims about data security with a track record, and ask lots of questions to satisfy yourself that your data will remain yours alone.

Dilbert cartoon describing how encryption is better than Mordac, an IT naysayer

Image Source: Scott Adams, Dilbert.com 

Don't be Mordac, encryption is a valuable data security tool!

Deduplicate!

Data deduplication is almost magical, and it’s the lowest hanging fruit for optimizing data protection to the lowest cost per gig possible. Doing it right means you can cram as much as a Petabyte of data into as little as 70 Terabytes of storage.

Duplication not only reduces the amount of storage hardware required in your cloud backup, it also reduces the amount of bandwidth you need to move your backups back to your production environment if that becomes necessary. Deduplicated data in a WAN optimized environment can actually recover your data faster than on-premise tape systems can - but not all cloud providers offer these features.

Be Ready to Grow

In addition to the cost, CAPEX versus OPEX, and flexibility advantages, moving to the cloud also means your business can never outgrow its backup capabilities. Cloud-based systems are inherently elastic; as you need more storage, more becomes available. 

All Cloud Providers are Not Created Equal

Moving to the cloud for your backups is almost certainly the right thing to do for almost any business. You just can’t match the scalability, performance, and prices available in the market today by building out your own offsite data backup facility. Not only that, the capital outlay required will be difficult, if not impossible to justify; cloud-based services are nearly always 100% OPEX, something your CFO will like quite a bit.

The business question comes down to finding the right balance between cost, reliability, speed, and security. That's why Neverfail has partnered with the best technology providers across the world to create a unique range of solutions that provide excellent business value across all four of these criteria. For Neverfail's Cloud Backup service, we've partnered with Veeam® to provide feature-rich backup and recovery in the cloud at highly competitive prices. 

Our Cloud Backup service - which includes licensing for Veeam Cloud Connect, Veeam™ Backup and Recovery, and Neverfail Cloud Storage - stands out from the crowd with it's unique technology stack. With Neverfail's Cloud Backup, we enable:

  • Recovery of data from cloud-based backup repositories with just a few clicks
  • WAN acceleration to increase data transmission rates
  • Forever incremental backups
  • GFS (grandfather-father-son) retention policies
  • Data encryption in-flight and at rest

Neverfail is an authorized Veeam Cloud and Service Provider (VCSP), which gives us access to the latest tools, technology, and training on best practices so you’ll be sure you’re getting the highest quality of service and support. We can help protect on-premise, cloud and virtual infrastructures (including Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware) by moving them into one of Neverfail's secure, global cloud locations. 

A graphical list of technologies that Neverfail uses for data protection including Hyper-V, VMware and Veeam

But Neverfail goes the extra-length as a VCSP to add an extra level of availability to your backup and recovery service that no other VCSP can provide. We use Continuity Engine, Neverfail’s enterprise-grade business continuity solution, to protect the availability of our own servers. This provides unparalleled protection against any type of downtime, making sure your backup service receives a 100% uptime SLA.

Additionally, Neverfail supports world-class deduplication using our HybriStor secondary storage appliance. HybriStor delivers deduplication for inline/post transmission locally as well as globally. It uses a hub and spoke architecture that can deduplicate data across hundreds of remote sites if needed. Its InstaCache™ technology provides instant recovery for virtual machines as well, which makes it a perfect fit for disaster recovery applications. This storage and cost optimization solution helps us save money across our data centers, a benefit we pass on to you for rock-bottom backup and recovery prices without sacrificing quality.

Though Neverfail competes head-to-head with AWS, Azure, and other major players, our feature-rich platform comes out as a better choice in terms of total business value. We deliver more in terms of technology and provide more personalized services than the big guys can afford to do for anyone except their largest customers. Our talented engineers have worked with a huge variety of businesses and have the experience necessary to deal with any special requirements you may have.

Choose a Partner, Not a Provider

Neverfail offers several different flavors of cloud backup, and we can help you pick the combinations of services that will be the best deal for your business, work with you to implement and test your backup systems, ensure that your backups are fully secure, and guarantee that they will work properly when you need them. Call us to discuss the specifics of your business and technical requirements. We’ll take the time to explain your options and help you pick just the right combination of services that will keep your data safe and secure without costing you a fortune.

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