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Cloud backups - the pros, cons and how it could work for you

by Stuart McCreath (Sydney Office) & Nick Sullivan (Kingscliff Office) | Jun 16, 2016
In an organisation of any size, offsite backup is considered a must have for any disaster recovery plan (DRP). In days gone by, the method to ship the data offsite has evolved as technology has also evolved. Floppy, Zip Disk, CD, DVD, Data Tape, Rev Drive, LTO Tape and removable hard disk drives (the latter 2 still commonly used) were the main, and for some time, the only way to easily take your data offsite.

Over the years, Internet speed/throughput has also evolved and Cloud backup is a far more accessible option to all in one form or another because of this. It could be as simple as a Dropbox, Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive storage account. This can be controlled via the software directly or synchronised autonomously from more reputable NAS devices (Synology, QNAP). Hosted storage services like Azure, AWS and Rackspace offer that next level requirement to customers who need their own hosted servers backed up offsite with 99.5% SLA with a high importance on security and reliability. Further to this, entire server infrastructure can be backed up to the Cloud or a remote office with highly cost effective tools like Veeam Backup and Replicate and Shadow Protect coupled with Image Manager.

There’s a method that fits pretty much every scenario, but there are some careful considerations before skydiving into the Cloud.

Time: Depending on your connection speed, time might be a factor with getting your data into the Cloud. Syncing data to the Cloud puts pressure on your Internet connection that is felt by users on the network. This is due to their web requests getting stuck in the queue of data packets going out. QOS does assist but the analogy of a watermelon up a garden hose still applies.

Furthermore, in a DR situation, getting that data back rapidly can also be a concern. Whilst your link download speed might be considered decent at 15 or 20mbit, you can still expect 1TB of data to take about 5 days to fully sync/download/transfer. Some Cloud storage providers offer a storage shipping service which can assist in quick retrieval of your data.

Cost: Cost is definitely the main factor that determines whether a company or user is going to implement Cloud backup. One benefit is the cost is rapidly coming down for large amounts of storage. Microsoft is giving away 1TB with every office 365 plan, Google Apps is selling the same for $10 per month (for all team members) and the plans and pricing options for other vendors are endless. We can find a plan that suits your needs and requirements perfectly.

Security: So you’ve invested the time and the money to get your data backed up into the Cloud knowing it’s always there and you are able to get to it whenever you need it - but is it secure? Like any Cloud service, security is the biggest concern for keeping your IP to yourself and nobody else. Vendors have definitely come to the party with most requiring 2 step authentication and complex passwords so that brute force hacking of accounts is almost a thing of a past. Still – there are cowboy vendors out there, and if they are vulnerable, you may be too. Know your terms and conditions associated with the storage account and feel free to discuss directly with any of our technicians.
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