When you look at the statistics, businesses are heavily investing in cloud technologies. In fact, just looking at the cloud computing market in 2020, it is set to exceed $330 billion in spending. One of the largest market segments that make up cloud investment is Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offerings which will continue to grow to $116 billion this year and surpass $150 billion by 2022.
With business-critical data in the cloud, backups are extremely important. There are many different solutions on the market to backup cloud data. This includes both cloud-to-cloud backup solutions as well as services and products that can backup your cloud SaaS environment, on-premises. Cloud-to-cloud backups provide many advantages when it comes to protecting your data in the cloud. What are the benefits of cloud-to-cloud backups?
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The Benefits of Cloud-to-Cloud Backups
Benefits of cloud-to-cloud backups include the following:
- Unlimited scalability and capacity for cloud backups (Scale up or down)
- Operational expense vs capital expense
- Built on cloud resiliency
- Multiple geolocations
- Protected backups
Unlimited scalability and capacity for cloud backups
One of the luring strengths of the cloud, in general, is the ease with which resources can be scaled as needed. With cloud subscriptions, it is as easy as “clicking a button” to get additional resources added to your account. A great example of cloud storage that features this type of “scalability as a service” functionality, is Amazon Elastic Block Storage (EBS).
As described by Amazon, “EBS volumes Amazon EBS enables you to increase storage without any disruption to your critical workloads. Elastic Volumes is a feature that allows you to easily adapt your volumes as the needs of your applications change. Elastic Volumes allows you to dynamically increase capacity, tune performance, and change the type of any new or existing current generation volume with no downtime or performance impact. Easily right-size your deployment and adapt to performance changes.”
With these types of powerful scalability features, you can easily grow and even shrink the storage based on the actual needs of your business. These types of scalability features are difficult if not impossible to achieve with on-premises infrastructure.
Adding storage or capacity/performance for your backups using on-premises solutions can take great effort, time, and expense to your business. Physical infrastructure can be difficult to procure and provision. Additionally, when you acquire and provision physical infrastructure in an on-premises data center, that infrastructure cannot easily be “reduced” after the fact, outside of selling or discontinuing a lease on the hardware.
In contrast, cloud environments make this extremely easy. With a few mouse clicks in your cloud dashboard, storage can easily be added or taken away. When you think about using the cloud for storing backups of your cloud SaaS environment, the scalability advantages outlined with cloud infrastructure are available with cloud-to-cloud backups.
Operational expense vs. capital expense
More businesses today prefer the model of operational expenses (OPEX) over capital expenditures (CAPEX). With operational expenses, you are paying for the services you use while you are using them. These are typically day-to-day expenses incurred with running your business. With capital expenditures, you are paying all the cost upfront for the hardware, software, or other component that you will hopefully realize benefits from in the future.
Capital expenditures for many businesses, especially small businesses with little cash flow, can be difficult to cover. IT infrastructure can be very costly to build out a data center. Necessary considerations generally include adequate storage, compute, performance, and other aspects of infrastructure including HVAC and electrical.
Backups, although critical, are a function that is often difficult to show a tangible benefit from normal day-to-day operations when there is no data loss. This is especially true when getting C-levels to sign off on the major capital expenditure that may be needed for backup infrastructure.
A major advantage of cloud-to-cloud backups is the lack of infrastructure cost. The service can begin immediately after signing up for a cloud-to-cloud backup service and is generally a simple “per-user” cost model. This makes the spending on backups much more “palatable” for most businesses and is a simple monthly expenditure.
There are many advantages tied to OpEx spending as opposed to CapEx expenditures. These include:
- Flexibility and agility – you aren’t locked into a solution or a set of hardware. This can be changed quickly if needed to meet changing and unforeseen business needs.
- Less risk – you aren’t buying capacity or features you may not need, unlike CapEx. You can purchase cloud-to-cloud backup services as you need them and assign capacity as needed.
- Less money spent on keeping the solution running – IT staff do not have to spend time just keeping the on-premises solution working. Rather, they can spend time working to improve business processes and applications.
There are many different cost studies that can help compare the advantages and disadvantages of each model. Cloud-to-cloud backups help you shift to Backup-as-a-Service on a per/user basis with very transparent costs for your organization.
Built on cloud resiliency
One of the huge advantages that cloud computing offers to businesses is the level of resiliency and uptime to your applications from an infrastructure perspective. Cloud data centers that service the likes of Amazon, Google, and Microsoft are world-class data centers with ratings that are essentially impossible to match on-premises.
For example, S3 One Zone-IA offers a 99% available SLA and is also designed for eleven 9’s of durability within the Availability Zone. Eleven nines is an insanely high resiliency rating and again, generally out of reach for most businesses who build out their own on-premises solutions and infrastructure.
When you think about backing up your business-critical data that exists in the cloud to your on-premises infrastructure or to cloud infrastructure, you want your backups to be as resilient as possible. Using cloud-to-cloud backups means that you are using a cloud environment to store the backups of your cloud data. As shown by the Amazon uptime SLA, cloud data centers are, from a resiliency perspective, the safest location to store your data.
An extremely important aspect of designing your backup strategy for your business-critical data is where your backups will be housed. Ideally, backups should be physically separated from your production environment. This follows the guidance found in the 3-2-1 backup best practice that states:
- You should have at least (3) copies of your production data, stored on at least (2) different forms of media, with at least (1) copy stored offsite.
With this backup best practice methodology, you want to achieve data diversity. In other words, you do not want to have all your “eggs in one basket.”. If your production environment suffers a major disaster and your backups are stored in the same location, you can potentially be in the nightmare scenario of having lost both your production AND backup data.
It is always recommended to separate the two environments and the data they house. When satisfying the “(1) copy stored offsite” requirement of the backup design best practice, the optimal solution involves storing at least one copy of your backup data in different geolocation or region.
With the big three cloud providers, including Amazon, Google, and Microsoft, each has multiple data centers located around the world and in each geographic region. This amounts to ultra-resiliency and numerous options to store your data. Using cloud-to-cloud backups allows organizations to build their backup strategy on top of the existing resiliency offered by cloud vendors.
Amazon data center locations as shown by infrastructure.aws
You want your backup data to be protected at all costs. All too often, you hear of “horror stories” that include organizations getting hit with ransomware and the ransomware encrypts not only the production data but also the backup data. This is a worst-case scenario.
Much like the scenario described above, you do not want to have a scenario where both your production data and backup data are affected by the same disaster. Housing your backups of cloud data on-premises opens the door to having your backup data accessible and vulnerable, at a file level, to possible corruption, encryption, deletion, or other data loss. This is due to backup solutions literally storing your backups in a set of files that generally reside on a file server inside your network.
Generally speaking, cloud-to-cloud backups are housed in such a way that you do not have access to the low-level files that represent your cloud backups. The only access available for your cloud backup solution is typically a web interface that allows interacting with and restoring backups.
This helps to protect the backups of your production data so that data loss is highly unlikely due to conventional data loss culprits like ransomware or end-user mistakes.
SpinOne – Intelligent Cloud-to-Cloud Backup Tool
There are many cloud-to-cloud backup solutions that offer the ability to backup your cloud SaaS environment. However, there is one that exceedingly stands out among the competition when comparing the features and functionality with other cloud-to-cloud backup solutions – SpinOne.
SpinOne is a true cloud-to-cloud backup solution that offers organizations the flexibility to save their data in multiple public clouds as well as different regions. SpinOne combines backups with powerful cybersecurity features to both protect and secure your data. Focusing on the cloud-to-cloud backup capabilities of SpinOne, what features are offered?
- Automatic 1x-3x daily cloud-to-cloud backups – Don’t worry about manually backing up your data. SpinOne does this for you by creating efficient, incremental backups of your G Suite or Office 365 environment.
- Ability to choose which public cloud to house your backups – SpinOne offers the most diverse set of storage options across multiple clouds of any cloud-to-cloud backup vendor. You can choose to store your backups in Amazon S3, Google Compute Storage, or Microsoft Azure. You can also choose from multiple regions which allow customizing your data protection strategy to align with best-practice methodologies of keeping backup data in separate storage apart from production.
- Effective versioning – Each SpinOne backup is effectively versioned to allow choosing specific versions of your data for restoration. Spin will keep an unlimited number of restore points to choose from. You can also set up retention policies to prune your restore points after a certain period of time.
- Searchable backups – Need to find a specific file or folder to restore and you do not know where it is located? You can easily leverage SpinOne’s searchable backups for this purpose. Easily search across your backups for the data you need to restore.
- Granular restores – Data can be restored in bulk or file by file as needed. You choose the extent of the restoration process.
- Local downloads – Download a copy of the data you need to restore locally. Do you want to first download a copy of the document or spreadsheet for review? You can do that with the local download option.
- Data migration between users – If you have a user that has left the company and you need to migrate the data from one user account to another, you can effectively do that with SpinOne’s built-in data migration capabilities.
- Unlimited storage – You have access to unlimited storage based on your business needs. This is backed by public cloud storage used for housing SpinOne backup data.
- Retention policies – Choose how long you keep your data. You can choose to keep data as long as you need for both short-term and archival backup purposes.
- Encryption at-rest and in-flight – SpinOne makes sure your data is encrypted both as it crosses the network as well as when it is stored on disk.
- Activity reports – Determine very easily the layout of your data protection landscape in your cloud environment. Which users and which data are protected? SpinOne activity reports help give visibility to this.
SpinOne backups provide the functionality you need to effectively protect your cloud SaaS data. Even if all your data is wiped out in your cloud environment, you will still have access to your data located in the SpinOne environment in a different public cloud. This provides data diversity and data resiliency at its best. It leverages the underlying capabilities and advantages of cloud environments to protect your business-critical data located in the cloud.
SpinOne is unique as it provides both backups and cybersecurity features in one product with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) driving SpinOne automated responses.