Cloud Backup is the path to saving money and your Business

When the decision is made to back to the cloud, efficiency is the key.

The amount of data companies are backing up is increasing. According to the latest market analysis, just this year the amount of stored information in the world is estimated to be around 1,200 Exabyte’s, of which less than two per cent is non-digital.

It’s easy to see this data needs to be stored, but also it needs to be protected. Backup technology and the Cloud is a natural fit. With such a huge amount of data that needs to be backup, how can companies optimise backups in order to keep costs and time to a minimum?

Optimising your backups in the cloud means planning a new strategy to how that data is managed. While the cost of cloud storage keeps on falling, buying more of it isn’t going to be a cost–effective method. It also won’t protect a company against growing data storage requirements.

Control your bandwidth

Adam Adamou, optimisation specialist at IT Systems says that companies which invest in the cloud for data backup often overlook one big obstacle – the network.

“Cloud computing often involves, at the highest level, the delivery of hosted services over the internet, which presents bandwidth, distance and quality challenges,” he says. “The wide area network (WAN) will struggle to scale with the increasing volumes of data required for cloud backups.”If organisations want to enjoy an optimal cloud service, they must recognise that stabilising the network needs to be at the top of the agenda.  “overlook this and any cloud investment will lose its value over time,”

WAN optimisation software offers a solution by providing 20-times faster movement of data and can reduce redundant data transmission by more than 50 per cent. “This gives our customers the scalability they need to support any backup applications which reduces cloud costs,”.

Compress and De-dupe

De-duplication makes a significant improvement in backup. It allows storage of data to be more efficient and cost effective. Most full backups are highly redundant. Even daily backups tend to have significant redundancy in them.
“A de-duplication device will only store changes between the two files. This results in efficiency gains even on a daily basis.”

The overall improvement is that de-duplication allows for the storage of months’ worth of backups on cloud storage that is only a little larger than the actual size of the full backup. “As a result, Cloud Backup is now cost effective,”.

De-duplication benefits.

  • Lower storage space
  • decrease Cloud storage costs.
  • Reduces WAN link bandwidth

De-duplication detects and removes redundant blocks of data, decreasing the quantity stored in cloud. It can also go to the sub-file level, detecting blocks in common between different versions of the same file.

Using a provider that enables data reduction techniques such as single instance storage and incremental backups would also help in keeping bandwidth to a minimum.

Only back up business critical date “Too often, bandwidth and storage is wasted backing up holiday snaps and iTunes playlists. Setting rules to control who backs up what and when will make backups and restores faster and more affordable,”

When using a cloud provider for off-site backups only, “there’s no need to transfer anything beyond the essential data.”

“This can be a simple yet effective way to improve performance as many companies’ backups are bloated with unnecessary content. Less data means faster transfer times faster recovery times and less storage and cost”.

Avoiding the pitfalls

There can be many things to look out for when optimising cloud backups, there are sometimes hidden or complicated costs associated with cloud backup services.

“A raft of metrics like the amount of data you store, the amount of previous versioning you need and the specialist systems you intend to protect with the cloud backup that can incur additional charges that are not always obvious. When a business is in the process of establishing a budget, these costs need to be questioned. Is client support and management part of the package or is that an additional fee?”

It’s also worth questioning the integrity of a provider’s network to ascertain whether they are using public network links and whether this data is instantly available.

“Essentially, a specialist provider should be able to take advantage of technologies such as virtualisation to provide the best service possible,”

Organisations should beware of providers that are not offering this modern approach: for example, by still relying on backup techniques designed around physical systems which are ill-suited to the increasing need for instant availability. “This can result in capabilities that are no better than in-house backup systems,”

Take control

Getting the best from your backups means taking an all round view of what your organisation really needs.“End users tend to make backup decisions that support their own short-term preferences; optimal performance will come from taking a birds eye view of the whole business need.”

Before you can talk about controlling backups, you have to know where they are. It sound simple but this can be trickier than it sounds.

“It’s certainly worth the effort to locate all back-up data to ensure a business remains in compliance with any data sovereignty laws, once this data is located, it also needs to be encrypted. Not doing so can leave a business vulnerable to hackers, leaks and regulatory fines should it be of a confidential or sensitive nature.”

While there are can be plenty of pitfalls that stop an organisation from getting the most out of their cloud backups, by asking the right questions you’ll get the right solution. Increasing complexity is seldom the answer and can only work against the organisation more often than not.

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