Backup & Recovery Frequently Asked Questions

To get a quicker response to some of the most discussed topics we are asked about, this is a selection of our most Frequently Asked Questions.

Distinguishing between various cloud models will help you better determine the type of backup system that your organization requires. A public cloud is a managed solution that involves an off-site data center to provide flexibility and scalability for compute and storage needs. A private cloud occurs when a company builds and manages its own data center that operates behind a corporate firewall. A hybrid cloud offers a mixed approach to infrastructure that links together two unique data centers, one private and the other public. The type of cloud deployment you are considering can impact your backup and recovery solution. With a public cloud, your backup solution should optimize data capture and storage in order to help minimize bandwidth demands on the corporate network. A public cloud backup solution will typically require the services of a cloud backup service provider that can supply both the infrastructure and the necessary backup and recovery software and operational skills/expertise. With either a private or hybrid cloud, you might require a cloud backup service provider in order to provide your company with the necessary software platform to manage backups in your private cloud. In the case of a hybrid cloud, your company will have the option of switching between a private data center and a cloud-based storage option depending on your backup needs.

Each cloud backup implementation is unique, as it takes into consideration the particular data protection needs of your organization. These can include remote offices, laptops, and mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones.Any complications involved in moving to an outsourced cloud backup service can be mitigated by selecting the right cloud backup service provider who provides a solution that is hardware and software agnostic enabling you to leverage your existing infrastructure. Engaging with the right service provider will provide you with the guaranteed seamless implementation and ongoing support you require. Outsourcing mundane backup processes to a proven cloud backup expert will enable you to re-deploy existing IT resources to more strategic revenue generating initiatives. Your cloud backup service provider will be able to guide you through the implementation process and provide dedicated support to help you calibrate and optimize your backup solution for you. The good news is that once your private cloud backup and recovery solution is in place, it will require minimal maintenance as compared with on-site solutions such as tape backup. Given the central role that data plays in your organization, it's critical that your cloud backup service provider has proven expertise in delivering a trusted cloud backup solution. A thoroughly tested implementation will provide your company with assurance that a cloud backup solution will not fail when it is most needed.

A cloud backup, recovery and restore solution provides you with a cost effective, secure, and reliable method of recovering and restoring data- the lifeblood of your business. The system restores data regardless of your location, including individual files in their native format so you can resume business operations immediately. It also provides you with a flexible solution that scales as your storage capacity needs evolve as your business grows.

Two key factors in understanding data recovery are Recovery Time Objectives (RTO) and Recovery Point Objectives (RPO). RTO refers to how quickly your business needs to be able to recover after losing data and can be measured in hours or days. RPO refers to how much data your company can afford lose as measured in hours or days. RPO refers to how much data your company can afford to lose as measured in hours. So, for example, a Fortune 500 company for some types of data might require an RTO of five hours and an RPO of an hour. The RPO and RTO may vary for different types of data. Every business needs to determine an RTO and RPO based on their own calculations of risk tolerance and business continuity requirements. As part of this process, it's important to take a hard look at the type of data your company collects and uses on an hourly, daily, or weekly basis. Many companies fail to realize how important a fast recovery is to achieving their business objectives- until they experience a serious data loss.

For most companies, a cloud backup and recovery solution will eliminate, or significantly reduce, IT resources related to the mundane task of backup and allow your resources to be redeployed to more strategic projects. Working on a trusted cloud backup service provider enables you to leverage your existing network infrastructure while transferring the responsibility of backup to an outside expert. This can be even more important considering the challenges some companies are facing hiring experienced IT backup administrators for on-premise solutions especially in smaller cities or remote geographies. It also enables CIOs to focus on spearheading significant transformational projects rather than backup implementation, which typically has a lower prestige value within most organizations. Once you determine the appropriate settings, backups are automated, creating a "set-it and-forget-it" scenario. You will however, need to ensure that your cloud backup service provider is equipped to monitor your backups to identify and correct any possible problems. The price of your backup service will reflect the amount of responsibility you maintain versus your cloud backup service provider. Low cost service offerings could mean that you will be provided with marginal support, minimal senior technical resources and the ongoing burden for monitoring and managing your backups.

Your company will continue to assume liability for data security, even when shifting backup responsibility to a cloud backup service provider. You should expect that your servicerovider enables you to continue to keep a local copy of your most recent backups in case you get disconnected from the cloud. Your cloud backup service provider will also need to demonstrate that it has multiple data centers in order to ensure your data will be protected by an appropriate amount of infrastructure redundancy. These data centers should also be geographically diverse in order to increase reliability in case of a natural disaster or power outage. Along with a Disaster Recovery Plan, your service provider should also be able to demonstrate a Business Continuity Plan that outlines how it will handle a variety of contingencies.

After selecting files, your cloud backup software platform deduplicates and compresses data in order to reduce transfer time. It is then encrypted at your site before transmission, and during transmission to your cloud backup service provider, where it remains encrypted. The only key for decryption resides with you, ensuring that the off-premise (cloud) backup and recovery solution is as safe and secure as an on-premise data backup and recovery system. Since your company data will be transferred via the Internet, the encryption standard used by a service provider is of critical importance. Your service provider should be using the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) along with FIPS 140-2 certification, which provides third-party validation from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). FIPS 140-2 is the highest level of trusted third party certification available and indicates that the encryption has been implemented correctly in a way which cannot be defeated.

Your company must perform due diligence to ensure your cloud backup service provider will meet your business needs. Basic questions include: how long has the service provider be in business and do they currently provide backup services to companies that are similar to yours in terms of vertical market, size, and scope. Depending on your compliance requirements, your cloud backup provider should be familiar with relevant industry terminology and standards that impact your business. One of the most common methods of ensuring that your expectations are met through a strong Service Level Agreement (SLA). This document will outline your desired operational levels and describe the consequences if the SLA is not met. Your SLA should also provide you with the assurance that your cloud backup service provider is a credible, trusted business partner who holds certifications that enable you to maintain compliance requirements. Along with an SLA, your chosen service provider should make allowances for a termination agreement. A cloud backup service provider that locks you into long-term contract has less motivation to offer high levels of customer support than a vendor that must face periodic service renewals. Don't get locked into any clod or cloud backup service provider. Your cloud backup service provider should provide you with the flexibility to move from a private or hybrid cloud to a public cloud deployment should your business needs change over time. Also, your cloud backup service provider is the only custodian of your data, you own and control your data. The service provider is obligated to provide reasonable access to your data with assistance to migrate your data elsewhere should you need to.

Not all data is created equal therefore your cloud backup service provider will work with you to take a comprehensive approach to reviewing, assessing and classifying your data to gain a better understanding of your business needs and your recovery time objectives for your young versus old data. Tiered recovery known as Backup Lifecycle Management or BLM is the most cost-effective approach to storing data in the cloud. Your cloud backup service provider should understand that organizations don't value older data the same as younger, more critical data. Operationally critical data requires more frequent backups with a better SLA. Less critical backups are relegated to less expensive, lower SLA standards to save costs. In most companies, more than 50% of data is older, of less value, and should cost less to protect. Your service provider should help you align the value of your data with the cost of protecting it. For cloud based backup service, costs to consider include: recoverability assessment, initial implementation, pay-per-use capacity. Your cloud backup service provider should have access to a ROI calculator that you can use to determine the cost savings over a multi-year period of a cloud backup and recovery solution as compared with an on-premise system. Many companies will discover that the total cost of ownership for a cloud backup and recovery system is significantly lower.