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Cloud Backup

Vangie Beal
Last Updated November 20, 2021 6:18 am

Cloud backup refers to the practice of copying files or databases to a cloud-based server so it can be restored as part of a disaster recovery plan. Cloud backup may also be referred to as online backup or online data storage. The alternative to a cloud backup is an in-house backup, which requires hardware investments and commitment to ongoing maintenance but offers more first-party control.

Enterprise-grade cloud backup solutions offer essential features like archiving and disaster recovery. Archival tools make it possible for an organization to retain backup data that no longer needs to be synchronized with current versions but could be needed for compliance with legal requirements in the future. The remote nature of a cloud backup also ensures critical data remains safe if the enterprise’s local data is jeopardized by a disaster such as a fire, flood, malware attack, or employee theft.

Cloud backup features

Solutions that back up data to a cloud environment commonly include the following features: 

  • Encryption of data in transit and at rest while in the cloud. Encryption is one essential means of data protection for active and stored information.
  • Compliance protocols for service providers. Cloud service providers store a wealth of personal data, which is protected by regulatory standards in many countries; all businesses that store or back up that data should comply with those standards. 
  • Data deduplication. Deduplication makes storage and backup more efficient by deleting duplicate files and instances.
  • Hybrid option. Many businesses want to choose a hybrid cloud environment; it’s useful to have both public and private cloud backups.
  • Incremental backups. Incremental backups only record what data has changed since the last backup.
  • Sub-file-level backup of changed files. This block technology backs up only changed files at the block level.
  • Bandwidth features. Bandwidth management prevents other service provider customers from being impacted by one business’s usage.

Types of cloud storage

The following four types of cloud storage have both advantages and disadvantages; choosing one depends on business needs and priorities.

Type of Storage Pros  Cons
Public cloud  Low cost
  • Low security
  • Only available over internet
Private cloud 
  • Higher security
  • Managed in-house
Higher costs
Hybrid cloud
  • Cost-effective
  • Best of public and private cloud worlds
Sensitive information may still be at risk due to location in public cloud
  • Multiple cloud service options
  • Additional data protection
Doubled security risk 

Backup methods

There are three major methods of data backup:

  • Full backups create copies of all the data selected by the organization. 
  • Differential backups only record what data was changed since the last full backup.
  • Incremental backups record what data was changed since the last backup, whether that was a full backup or another incremental backup.

Pros and cons of cloud backup

Advantages of cloud backup include:

  • No need for hardware investment or maintenance
  • Flexibility to add or remove capacity as needed
  • Data is accessible from any location with an internet connection
  • Easier to automate backup at more frequent intervals

Disadvantages of cloud backup include:

  • Required Internet connection
  • Full recoveries are more cumbersome than small recoveries
  • Less visibility/physical control over backup data
  • Reliance on third party service’s security

What is the difference between cloud storage and cloud backup?

Although they are very closely related, cloud storage and cloud backup serve different purposes. Cloud storage provides virtual capacity to save and access files, similar to a physical storage device like a hard disk drive or solid state drive. Cloud backup, on the other hand, is the duplication of the data that can be restored if something disastrous happens. To open a file, then edit and save it, a user would access the cloud storage platform, not the cloud backup. A cloud backup is only modified when it needs to reflect the most recent changes in a storage device.

Cloud backup vendors

Read More: Best Cloud Backup Services

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