Hybrid cloud backup: what it is and 8 reasons why your business needs it
Data loss is one of the most significant risks that modern businesses face, and it comes at a high cost. A business’s longevity is dependent on selecting the best possible means of data protection and restoration, but there’s a lot to consider, including security, budget, and scalability. For many businesses, the data solution of the future is hybrid cloud backup.
Interest in hybrid cloud systems has significantly increased since its initial emergence on the data scene in 2011. It has become an area of massive interest for research, development, and innovation, not to mention financial investment. As businesses continue to realize the potential of the hybrid cloud, experts forecast that the global market will be worth $145 billion in 2026.
If your business has never considered the possibility of using hybrid cloud backup, or if you considered it but were reticent because it was unclear how it differed from other cloud services, you may be missing out on an ideal data backup solution. Read on to learn what hybrid cloud backup is and the eight ways it can benefit your business.
What is hybrid cloud backup?
Hybrid cloud backup makes use of two available services for data storage. In some cases, this may be a combination of public and private cloud services. For many businesses, however, hybrid cloud backup involves storing data using a cloud service as well as on-premises infrastructure.
Regardless of which iteration a business may use, the key to hybrid cloud backup is that data is stored in multiple locations. This is an ideal solution for organizations that prioritize both security and affordability, and it offers many unique benefits that a single cloud system simply cannot offer.
Cloud services: public and private
When most people think of cloud services, they are thinking of the public cloud. It is the most frequently used form of cloud storage and is incredibly popular, not only in business but also for personal files and documents. In a public system, cloud servers, software, hardware, and storage are owned and operated off-site by a third-party service. The only way to access any data stored on the public cloud is by using the internet.
By nature of being public, this type of cloud service uses storage that is shared by multiple organizations. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that public cloud backups inherently lack security. Only the business that uploads the data has access to it, and most high-quality public cloud services have security measures like encryption and access control. Examples of public cloud services include Google Apps and Amazon Web.
In addition, businesses can make use of private cloud services. Unlike the public cloud, a private cloud system is only accessible to one business. This increases the level of security but also raises the cost.
There are several distinct advantages to using a cloud service for data backups:
- It has a relatively low cost.
- The third-party provider performs all maintenance.
- It is highly reliable.
- There is almost limitless scalability.
For small- to medium-sized businesses with minimal, or non-existent, IT budgets, cloud services, particularly the public cloud, have been vital for data storage. This is because they do not require any internal staffing or infrastructure but still provide the ability to backup and recover data.
Larger businesses or those that deal with highly sensitive information may opt to store their data using on-premises software as opposed to the cloud. In an on-premises system, the server and resources are used by a single business or organization. This requires that the company constructs an on-site data center, which is considerably more expensive than using a cloud service.
Although the expense is much greater, businesses that use on-premises storage have fewer concerns about unauthorized access. In most cases, only businesses with a dedicated IT team choose on-premises backup because the maintenance requirements are so much more extensive. While this requires considerable financial investment, it also makes the system much more customizable for each specific business.
As with the cloud, there are reasons why using on-premises backups might be preferable:
- The level of data security is higher.
- The system is more flexible.
- Businesses have greater control over how their data is stored and secured.
Organizations like government agencies and financial institutions, which prioritize protecting data from unauthorized access or breaches, tend to implement internal systems for the sake of security. However, the significant expense is out of reach for many small businesses that lack the financial capital to build the necessary infrastructure and adequately staff an IT team.
With all of this in mind, it is easy to see why there has been a shift toward hybrid cloud services, which combine cloud and on-premises systems and offer a balance of the benefits of both. With hybrid cloud storage, a business can move data and apps between the on-premises storage and the cloud as needed. The ability to transfer data allows organizations to secure all of their most sensitive information while also saving money compared to exclusively employing an internal system.
It’s also important to make the distinction between hybrid cloud backup and a related concept known as the multi-cloud. A multi-cloud system can be comprised of either multiple public cloud services or multiple private cloud services. While they are separate models, it is possible to have a system that is simultaneously hybrid and multi-cloud. For example, a business may use an internal storage system and two third-party public cloud providers.
Because they combine low-cost cloud and more expensive internal storage, hybrid cloud systems are accessible to businesses of all sizes and with a variety of budgets. They also allow for high levels of flexibility and are ideal for businesses with remote workers.
What are the benefits of hybrid cloud backup?
The best part of using hybrid cloud backup is that it allows your business to take advantage of the strengths of both on-premises and cloud backup. Rather than being forced to choose between security and affordability, businesses can find a solution that satisfies both needs. It’s for this very reason that a recent survey found that 67% of businesses see the hybrid cloud as the final destination for their infrastructure.
Although life would be simpler if a business’s data needs were constant and unchanging, that is not generally the case. Organizations may need more or less storage depending on the time of year, such as with seasonal data spikes, or to accommodate temporary periods of expansion. In those situations, it is impractical to scale up the entire data storage and backup system only to have excess storage space sitting idle during times when it isn’t needed.
The hybrid cloud allows businesses to rapidly make changes to resource allocation, either by moving resources between on-premises and cloud storage or by increasing the storage available, during times when the amount of data fluctuates. More importantly, they can do so without spending significant funds on upgrading their systems.
While some concerns about data security in cloud systems are unfounded, it is certainly true that on-premises systems give a business better control over the security measures that are used. With a hybrid system, an organization can choose which information should be backed up internally for an extra layer of protection and which can be safely stored on the cloud.
While there are many benefits to hybrid cloud backups, the cost savings alone are enough for many businesses to make the change. As opposed to a purely on-premises system, less hardware is required for data storage as well as physical space and power costs, all of which can be incredibly expensive. Money is a great motivator, and a survey by IBM found that 54% of business owners plan to adopt hybrid cloud technology in order to lower costs.
Increasing risks of data breaches and unauthorized access have brought on new privacy and data security regulations. These include the:
- Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
- Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS)
- General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
- California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)
All of this legislation includes strict requirements for the storage, transmission, and processing of data, and cloud services sometimes fail to meet them. Instead, sensitive data, such as social security numbers, addresses, and credit card numbers, can be kept on a secure on-premises system. With hybrid cloud backups, your business can ensure compliance without breaking the bank.
It’s possible to scale up any kind of backup or storage system, but it is not always equally fast and affordable. Hybrid systems are extremely scalable because they do not require extensive changes to your hardware and infrastructure. For example, if you need additional space for non-sensitive data, you can simply add space to your cloud storage. This requires very little planning or forethought, which means that you can make changes quickly.
Remote work has never been more popular, and, as more employees have moved fully online, it has been crucial for businesses to find a way to provide access to company information without risking data exposure. Hybrid cloud storage systems are an excellent way to achieve this goal.
With a hybrid system, remote workers can access important data and applications no matter where they are working, and their work can be instantly backed up. Using a combination of cloud and on-premises systems also reduces data latency and simplifies the process of transferring data from one employee to another.
7. Business continuity
In the event of a natural disaster or cyber-attack, businesses that have implemented a hybrid cloud system will not have to worry about losing access to data. Unlike saving information exclusively on an internal server, using a hybrid system ensures that your data can be backed up and thus recovered from multiple places. Businesses with a high level of concern about data loss can use a hybrid multi-cloud system for extra insurance.
In addition, businesses that process large amounts of data can overwhelm their private servers, particularly when the data suddenly fluctuates. This can cause services to slow significantly or go down entirely. With a hybrid system, the cloud can accommodate the additional demand and avoid overtaxing the system.
For some businesses, the shift to using cloud-based services is intimidating, particularly for older data and applications. A hybrid system not only allows businesses to gradually migrate all of their information to the cloud, should they wish to do so, but also allows them to store legacy and data applications on an on-premises system until it is ready for modernization and transfer. This also gives employees adequate time to become comfortable with any new systems before they are implemented.
In addition, because a hybrid system makes use of cloud services, it is easy to take advantage of new technological developments and innovations without needing to completely overhaul internal hardware and software. This allows businesses to stay on the cutting edge of data security and storage solutions.
What are the drawbacks to hybrid cloud backups?
Although no system is perfect, there are frankly few disadvantages to using hybrid cloud backup. However, in the interest of fully evaluating whether a hybrid cloud system is best for your business, it is good to consider these potential challenges.
Businesses that have only been using a cloud backup system will need to make an additional financial investment to begin using the hybrid cloud. However, the cost will be far lower than relying exclusively on internal hardware, and the benefits reaped from a hybrid cloud system far outweigh the potential increase in cost.
Multiple Vendors or Platforms
Some businesses, particularly those with a multi-cloud setup, choose to work with hybrid systems that have different platforms or vendors for their cloud services. This can quickly become complicated. However, there are services that simplify the process of operating a hybrid cloud system.
Who needs hybrid cloud backup?
Every business should have a carefully considered disaster recovery plan, which should include measures to backup and protect company data. According to FEMA, approximately 25% of businesses do not reopen after experiencing a disaster like a flood, earthquake, or massive data loss. This is, in part, because many businesses do not properly prepare for the possibility of a cyberattack or natural disaster. This includes choosing and putting into place an appropriate backup system for business and client data. Hybrid cloud backup is a valid option for businesses of many sizes within a variety of industries.
What are the options for hybrid cloud backup?
There are many services for both on-premises and cloud backup and storage. However, it’s important to evaluate which is best suited to the structure of your business.
Large businesses should seek out a solution with ample storage for their high quantities of data. It’s important to find a hybrid system that offers a blend of space, security, and ease of use.
For small- and medium-sized businesses, it is not necessary to have extensive storage space. Instead, these businesses need a product with minimized costs that also ensures that data is protected and can easily be restored.
It’s also important to find a provider that offers flexibility. For example, some products include an option to use a virtual private cloud or install specially developed hardware. This allows businesses to customize their cloud backups based on their preferences and to alleviate any concerns that they might have about security.
No business can afford to ignore the possibility of a future disaster, and it’s critical for every business owner to properly prepare for the future by storing, backing up, and securing data. Using hybrid cloud backup is an excellent option for small, medium, and large businesses to protect their data and avoid the devastating consequences of data loss. Hybrid cloud systems offer a perfect balance of affordability, flexibility, and security that cannot be found with a cloud or on-premises system on its own.
To learn more about how your business can benefit from hybrid cloud backup and which solutions best meet your needs, contact Invenio IT. Our team can guide you in making a plan to protect your business from data loss, thereby ensuring the long-term success of your enterprise.