No matter what cloud service you are using to store your organization’s business-critical data, it is absolutely necessary to back up your data. Business-critical data stored in public cloud infrastructure may be housed in some of the world’s best datacenters, however, end-user error and security threats like malware can still lead to data loss.
As an admin, you understand the need to backup your business data, even in cloud environments. However, how do you compare cloud backup services? What criteria do you base a decision on to be able to choose an effective backup solution for your cloud data?
Why is it Important to Carefully Consider and Choose a Cloud Backup Service?
Choosing a cloud backup service needs to be handled with careful consideration. Failing to consider all of your business requirements for protecting your data can lead to possibly choosing a backup solution that may fall short when it comes to protecting business-critical data. This in itself would be a disaster!
Using a methodical and thoughtful approach is necessary to help discover the strengths and weaknesses of various cloud backup solutions. Additionally, this helps to shed light on any limitations that may not line up with your business requirements.
Let’s take a look at 6 things to pay attention to before choosing a backup service to protect your business’s critical data housed in the cloud.
6 Things to Pay Attention to Before Choosing a Backup Service
There are 6 things to pay attention to before choosing a backup service to protect your business-critical data. What are those? Questions to ask include:
- Where are the backups of your cloud data stored?
- What security measures are taken to protect your data?
- Do they offer 24/7 technical support?
- How easy is it to work with their system?
- How much does it cost?
- What do their customers say?
Cloud environments such as Google G Suite must be protected with proper cloud backups
Where are the backups of your cloud data stored?
This is an often-overlooked question that may not be thought of when considering a backup solution. However, when thinking about proper backups of your organization’s data, this is critically important. Proper backups of data cited by any backup best practice methodology will cite storing backups separately from production as a basic requirement.
It is good to steer away from any backup service that offers to protect your cloud data that stores backups of your data in the same public cloud your business services are housed in. This equates to having all your “eggs in one basket” and can lead to losing access not only to your production data but also to your backup data.
Look for cloud backup services that offer to store your data separately from your public cloud environment being protected. If you are backing up G Suite data, you want your backup data to be stored in a different cloud other than Google’s public cloud environment, and you want your Google account recovery to happen fast and easily. The same goes for Microsoft Office 365 backups.
Look for cloud-to-cloud backup solutions that allow as many choices as possible when choosing where your backups of public cloud environments will be stored.
What Security Measures are Taken to Protect Your Data?
Aside from the resiliency and diversity of where your cloud backups are stored, the security of your backup data is a primary concern as well. When you think about it, backup data contains an exact copy of your production data. If attackers are easily able to gain access to backup data, they have a copy of your production data.
Look for a cloud-to-cloud backup service that offers security features including encryption of your backup data. Encryption is a fundamental aspect of good data security. Not only does backup data need to be encrypted when it is stored on disk, but also when it is transmitted across the network.
Make sure any data backup solution that backs up your cloud environments offers encryption both in-flight (transmitted across the network) and at-rest (on disk). This ensures data is unreadable both in storage and crossing the network.
SpinOne (previously Spinbackup) is a great example of a cloud backup service taking the security of your data seriously. The offer the following security features for your backup data:
- Alignment with leading industry assurance programs
- Secure Cloud Ecosystems built on the world’s best public clouds
- Data Encryption – in-flight and at-rest
- Data Access policies
- Data deletion policies
- 99.9% SLA for your backup data
Cloud data protection should be a top priority when choosing between the available solutions on the market.
Do They Offer 24/7 Technical Support?
No matter what solution you choose, you want to make sure you have effective support that is included with the solution. Good support is key to a good product. No matter how good a solution may be, there will be times where you may run into issues or have configuration or other questions. If support is poor, this will often bleed over into a poor experience with the product overall.
Also, look for cloud backup solutions that offer 24/7 support. If an issue happens after hours or on the weekend, you want to ensure you can get in touch with support any day, and at any time of day. This is certainly important during the onboarding process and during troubleshooting.
How Easy is it to Work with Their System?
At the end of the day, how easy is a backup solution to work with? A backup service may offer some of the best backup features on paper, however, if the operational experience is extremely poor, or even cumbersome to use, this can put the protection of your data in jeopardy.
The last thing you want to struggle with a true disaster recovery scenario is the interface of your cloud backup solution to perform a restore of your data.
Look for a cloud backup service that provides an intuitive web-driven interface that allows for a “single pane of glass” view of your cloud backup service. This helps to ensure visibility to your overall data protection coverage in your cloud environment as well as help to uncover any gaps in data protection.
Also, look for cloud backup services that easily allow you to search for specific resources contained in your backups so you don’t have to manually look for a specific item to restore from your backups. This can save a tremendous amount of time and helps to meet your SLAs with your business stakeholders.
How Much Does It Cost?
Cost is one of the most important driving factors for making a decision between one backup service over another. You want to look for the best overall value when considering cloud backup services. Determining the overall value of a backup service may be different for each business.
However, there are some key things to consider including the services the backup service can protect, the features offered, additional features you get outside of simple backups of your data, the configuration choices you are given to help you align with your business requirements, and the security and resiliency of your data stored in their system.
Most of the cloud backup services available on the market today for both G Suite and Office 365 have a pricing model that charges per user/per month. This is the pricing model that typically is found in most cloud Software-as-a-Service environments offered by Google, Microsoft, and others.
At the end of the day, you want to choose a service that costs less and provides you with all the features and functionality you need as well as includes additional features that stand out from its competitors.
What Do Their Customers Say?
We live in a very social world today that can come in handy when choosing between products and services. Customer satisfaction is often a good indicator of the other important items listed above for choosing a cloud backup service. Current customers will often shed light on potential unseen issues with the service, support, or usability that may be hard to determine otherwise.
Look at the ratings of various backup services on G Suite and other cloud marketplaces. Read the experiences of current customers and their level of satisfaction with the product. Pay close attention to experiences concerning backup and restore functionality and how pleased users have been with these aspects of the product.
What about support? What is the common experience with their support? If the majority of comments give dismal support ratings, then most likely this isn’t just a one-off bad experience and may indicate a real problem.
Backing up data stored in the cloud is absolutely necessary for your business. By comparing cloud backup services based on the criteria listed, you are helped to narrow down the available solutions for protecting your cloud environments. By using this type of methodical approach you can choose the best value for your business and protect your data in the best way possible.