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The oldest cloud storage services have matured into a variety of data protection offerings that can meet the needs of most enterprises. But there are key points to keep in mind.
"Get your data out of the building” is the best advice I can give about data protection, and it’s the part of the process many organizations still struggle with. Too many companies fall short when a crisis hits because they were either still planning or had made their data protection “solution” so convoluted that it failed when they tried to put it into use.
Backup as a service
With all the talk about “the cloud,” cloud backup -- or backup as a service (BaaS) -- seems like a natural solution to the problem of getting data off-site. It may be true in some cases, but you need to be very clear on a few key points:
- Recognize that your primary business motivation in considering a service-based model is to reduce the operational implications of backup. The good news is that you won’t have to manage it nearly as much. The bad news is that you don’t get to manage it, so be prepared for new interfaces, installation methods, schedules and so on.
- Understand that backing up to the cloud is relatively easy, but recovering from the cloud is less so. Your recovery goals should be well defined, and you may want to consider some sort of recovery device that can expedite recoveries rather than streaming data over the Internet.
- that no one is as invested in your recovery as you are. If you can’t recover what you need when you need it, your cloud provider just loses a customer while you may lose your job or business. So testing that’s even more rigorous than you’d do with a traditional on-premises solution is essential.
Cloud-based backup can solve some great problems for a potentially large segment of the IT world, but like any new architecture, it isn’t for everyone. You should approach it with the same diligence, evaluation and assessment as you would for any other business-impacting IT project.
This was first published in April 2012