Your company’s data has many enemies. Evil people are always out to get it.
But it’s not just hackers and cybercriminals who pose a threat to your data. Hardware and software failures, natural disasters, and simple human error can destroy data at any time, and with it your company’s ability to function.
So where exactly do you keep your data safe? Where are your backups?
From Reel to Real-Time
For decades, large reels of magnetic tape were the only way to go. Because tapes are linear media, backups took a long time. Then the tapes had to be physically taken to an off-site storage facility. Restoring data was equally cumbersome, tedious, and time consuming.
But in recent years, cloud backup solutions have grown in popularity by leaps and bounds. Gone are the inconveniences of time, cost, and the ever-growing amount of shelf space needed to store physical reels of tape.
Even more recently, hybrid backup systems offer sophisticated solutions combining the best of both cloud and local storage. Hybrid backups combine the greater protection of cloud backups with the speed and convenience of onsite data recovery.
In short, they keep your data safely far away, but also close enough to restore it and get you working again almost immediately after an outage.
The Cloud Advantage
The cloud offers many advantages over local tape storage:
- It’s more cost-effective. Government regulations or corporate rules may require you to store and protect your data for years. Tape requires lots of storage space, with all the cost and overhead that implies. A solution like Azure Backup, for instance, can retain your data inexpensively for up to 99 years and takes up no space at all in your offices.
- Your data is everywhere. Your applications and data are scattered throughout your organization: on servers, client computers, mobile devices, in the cloud, and elsewhere. Figuring out how to back up all that data daily to local drives or reels of tape can be overwhelming, if not impossible. Cloud backup makes it possible.
- Cloud storage is physically safer. Tape and local hard drives may offer the security of something physical, but they are vulnerable to local threats like natural disasters and ransomware attacks. Cloud backups are insulated from all that.
Hybrid Backup: The Best of Both Worlds
A good backup plan needs to address the challenge of opposite or conflicting needs. It must:
- Retain your data both short-term and long-term,
- Keep it far away to be safe from local problems, but close enough to restore it quickly, and
- Back up all your data, which can take a long time, but also save changes day to day.
Hybrid backup solutions are made for this.
Despite its many advantages, the cloud has its drawbacks. It can take longer — possibly days depending on your internet connection — to restore your full data set and get your business running again. Also, government regulations may require your data to be kept local to your business.
A hybrid backup solution offers the best of both worlds. It does this by inserting a bridging backup device — usually consisting of multiple redundant hard drives and software — between your local and cloud storage systems.
Here’s How It Works
Many cloud backup platforms like Microsoft Azure can be configured for hybrid backups in conjunction with a bridge device.
They start by making a local copy of the data to the bridge, so the backup finishes quickly. Then the bridge replicates the local backup to the cloud for greater security. The bridge is the perfect place to store a full backup for faster restores.
In addition, Azure Backup stores copies of your data in three different places in its data center, plus three more copies in an Azure data center in a remote location. Discrete cabling solutions connect Azure data centers to each other but not the public internet, securing your company data even further.
The Benefits of Hybrid Backup
Taking your internet connection out of the restoration path is usually the fastest way to restore your critical data. That’s what the bridging device does.
But in most cases, a local backup will contain only data you’ve changed within the previous 24 hours. That’s okay; that’s what usually needs to be restored most quickly anyway.
It also means the local backup alone isn’t enough to guard against mass data loss. That’s what the cloud copy is for.
By combining the cloud with a local device, a hybrid backup solution can provide a unified restoration of both recent and older data. And as noted above, it provides the speed of nearness with the safety of distance.
Why Choose Managed Backup Services?
Managing a company’s backup regime, wherever the data is stored, is a large and complex task. That’s doubly true with a hybrid system’s double layers of protection.
A managed IT services provider does this for a living. It has the time and expertise to configure and manage a large hybrid backup solution on an ongoing basis. In addition, you may use both new and legacy systems that only a managed services provider can optimize effectively.
Now that you see what a hybrid backup solution can do, contact us today to learn how we can help keep your data safe and recoverable, any time and anywhere.