7 tips for a faster cloud recovery (of your data)

by | Oct 16, 2018

Warning: Ransomware has infected your server and your operations have come to a screeching halt. What do you do?

To prevent the staggering costs of downtime, you need to be able to recover your data as rapidly as possible. But depending on what kind of data backup system you’re using, this might not be as easy as it sounds.

Traditional backup systems are notorious for failure during the recovery process. And, depending on how those backups were stored, your last recovery point could be frighteningly old.

Even cloud-based backup systems can be risky if you’re not using the right technology. If you’re stuck with limited restore options, for example, then it could take way too long to get your files back

In this post, we help you identify best solutions for recovering your data from the cloud as fast as possible, based on your unique disaster scenario.


Why cloud recovery?

With the rising speed and cost efficiency of cloud computing over the last decade, more businesses are now backing up their data to the cloud.

It’s a smart move. Cloud-based data backups offer a number of benefits over conventional, strictly on-premise systems, including:

  • Less dependence on on-site backups: On-site backup infrastructure will always be vulnerable to a wide range of disasters, particularly fire, flooding and severe storms.
  • Ability to access backup from virtually anywhere with an Internet connection: So in the event that your business location is completely destroyed, your teams can still access data wherever they are.
  • Cloud virtualization capabilities: Virtualization allows you to access your files and use your business-critical applications in a virtual environment on other machines, even if your on-site servers are toast.
  • Affordability: Using a secure cloud for data backups often eliminates the need to build sprawling in-house infrastructure.
  • Long-term retention: With the right cloud, you can store a lot more backups—going back as far as you need them—so you can choose the exact recovery point you need.

We’ll return to some of these benefits in a minute. But the key takeaway is that even the most barebones cloud backup system can provide you with extra layers of protection you don’t have now if you’ve been storing all your data on-site.

The question is: when disaster happens, what’s the best way to recover your data from the cloud?

Here are our expert tips.


1) Always go granular when applicable

Sounds obvious, but it’s worth repeating: there’s no need to do a full cloud data recovery unless it’s absolutely necessary. It’s far easier and faster to restore only the files you need, especially if you’re pulling them from the cloud. And since human error is usually the most common cause for data loss, a granular recovery will generally be your go-to.

For fast file recovery, we like Datto’s Backup Insights, which is available on its SIRIS BDR for Windows-based backups. Backup Insights lets you quickly find data that has been modified, deleted or created between two recovery points. So even if you aren’t sure what the file name or deletion date is, the platform can quickly narrow down your options. With just a few clicks, you can instantly restore the files back to the protected machine using the Web-based interface.


2) Virtualize for instant access

There may be times when you need to regain access to all your files and software as quickly as possible after a disaster.

This is where cloud virtualization is a game-changer.

Datto’s systems store every backup as a fully constructed virtual machine, both locally and in the cloud. And since these backups include all system files, O/S data and software from the protected machine, the backups can be virtualized in seconds, providing the same functionality.

Virtualized backups are lifesavers in situations when a full data restore is going to take a while. They allow you to continue using your critical applications, so there’s minimal disruption to your business. And if your on-site infrastructure has been wiped out, you can virtualize in the cloud from basically anywhere.


3) Improve your RPO

If your RPO (recovery point objective) isn’t aggressive enough, none of these cloud recovery options will make much of a difference. Your backups will be too old.

The single best thing you can do to minimize data loss is to perform backups more frequently. This will ensure that both your local and cloud backups are up to date. The problem is that not all backup systems are created equal when it comes to backup frequency. If your backups are a day old when ransomware bricks your machines, then you’re going to lose a whole lot of data from the previous 24 hours.=

In you’re investing in a new business continuity solution, be sure that it can meet your company’s specific backup frequency needs (as outlined within your business continuity plan). The Datto SIRIS, for example, can perform backups as often as every five minutes, because of its Inverse Chain Technology.


4) Download your backup

Let’s say your servers malfunctioned and you virtualized a backup in the cloud to get things running ASAP. That’s great, but at some point soon, you’ll obviously still need to get all your data back.

Even in a scenario like this, where a full data restore is necessary, the cloud is your friend.

In the case of Datto, for example, you can download your fully-constructed backup from the cloud. In fact, to reduce download time, Datto’s tech support teams will send incrementally-changed data down to your device, in a process called “Reverse Send.” As long as the local device is still online and has the same recovery point that was virtualized off-site, Datto tech support will take a ZFS differential of the off-site VM, compress that snapshot and send it down to the local Datto device.

(Datto can also mail your backup to you on a portable storage drive when you need a larger data restore or in scenarios where you don’t have enough bandwidth to download the data in a reasonable amount of time.)

Once you have your data back, you can also do a bare-metal restore if necessary, in which you use a target machine to boot from a USB.


5) Boot a hybrid virtualization

Another option for fast recovery (on the Datto SIRIS and ALTO) is hybrid cloud virtualization. For ALTO, this is how virtualization always works. For SIRIS, this would be your go-to in situations where you need to spin up several machines, thus needing to rely on Datto’s cloud for extra computing power. The virtualization is still tied back to your on-site BDR appliance, which makes it faster and more seamless (the VM operates as if it’s being virtualized in the appliance, when really it’s being virtualized in the cloud).

This is done via a layer-2 VPN, which ties your virtual machine back to the local network that your appliance sees.


6) Make sure your backups are actually recoverable

What good is a high backup frequency if the backups are corrupt and unrecoverable? Sure, you could be backing up your data to the cloud every few minutes, but if you can’t restore those backups when you need them, then it won’t even matter.

If you’re comparing your cloud BC/DR options, look for systems that automatically check for data integrity to ensure that backups are properly completed and can be restored without issue. Datto does this with a built-in feature called Screenshot Verification. This provides automatic validation of backup integrity, immediately after completion. And if by chance something goes wrong, admins are alerted immediately.

Here’s how it works.

When each backup is completed, the Datto appliance virtualizes and test-boots your protected machine. A variety of screen recognition and CPU register algorithms are employed to detect any problems with the data or its ability to be recovered. Screenshot verification works on any size backup infrastructure, even when you’re using an enormous fleet of Datto appliances to protect large quantities of servers.

Going one step further, Datto’s “Advanced” Screenshot Verification can also provide application-level verification. This ensures that specific applications, like MySQL, SQL Server and Exchange, are properly configured and can be started.


7) Get your SaaS data back, too

Data loss doesn’t just happen on your servers and desktops. It happens in the cloud, too.

As businesses increasingly rely on software-as-a-service (SaaS) platforms, it increases their risk of data loss in the cloud. Users accidentally delete data. Things get overwritten. Unstable third-party apps wreck everything.

Datto has a solution for that too.

Backupify automatically backs up your cloud data in the most popular SaaS platforms, including G Suite, Office 365 and Salesforce. Automatic backups are performed up to three times a day and can be recovered with just a few clicks. So when your cloud data goes missing, gets overwritten or is infected with ransomware, you can recover it in a matter of seconds.


Protect your business with faster cloud recovery

Learn more about the advanced BC/DR solutions from Datto. Request a free demo or contact our business continuity experts at Invenio IT for more information. Call (646) 395-1170 or email success@invenioIT.com.\

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Tracy Rock is the Director of Marketing at Invenio IT. Tracy is responsible for all media-related initiatives as well as external communications—including, branding, public relations, promotions, advertising and social media. She is one busy lady and we are lucky to have her!

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