In this multi-part series, we discuss the key functionality and features that companies should look for when evaluating cloud to cloud backup solutions. The cloud to cloud backup market is a new one and as such, companies are struggling with the minutiae. What specific criteria should they be focused on when reviewing different vendors?
Below we outline three areas that should absolutely be on your cloud to cloud backup evaluation checklist.
Backup Storage Durability
Before you entrust your data to a cloud application backup system, it’s critical that you validate that the vendor has their own backups and recovery plans in place. If the vendor is using their own data center to host the backups, then they should be able to provide you with details on their redundancy, distribution and availability levels as part of their Service Level Agreement (SLA).
Several cloud to cloud backup vendors use hosting services to securely hold your data, such as Amazon S3 or Microsoft Azure. If this is the case, you will “inherit” the SLA of the third-party service. Even so, you can ask questions about distribution of the data across regions or data-centers even within those services.
Now, regarding where you data will be stored - there’s an assumption that all clouds are the same as long as the destination for the data is some type of cloud. It’s important to note that all clouds are not created equal and as your company selects a cloud to cloud backup provider, the type of cloud that is storing the secure, second copy should be chosen for how it handles backup and recovery.
If you choose to consolidate your cloud backups with a single vendor, select a vendor that covers as many cloud applications as you have or plan to have in the future. Consolidation with one vendor is often useful because it can reduce costs, reduce management overhead, and may make it easier to perform archiving or restores when all data for an employee (across applications) is needed.
When it comes to backup in the cloud, here’s what you need to consider:
Intervals - Some services only back up on fixed intervals (usually daily), others may allow you to select the intervals to be more or less frequent than daily. Your needs should match the options offered by your vendor.
Fixed Times - Some vendors do not allow you to specify exactly when during the day a backup will occur; while others only guarantee that a backup will occur within a certain time frame. Determine whether or not it is necessary to know exactly when a backup will occur, then ask your vendor if they can support this.
Aside from the frequency of notifications, you should also be aware of the types of errors that validate a notification. Do you receive alerts only for failed backups, or will the vendor notify you if various aspects of their service are disabled?
While automating backups frees up your time and ensures you are protected even when you don’t think about backing up your data, the ability to force a manual backup is convenient when making major changes or taking an account offline. Ensure your vendor provides this option.
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