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Why Hybrid Cloud Computing is a Must for Data Backup

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Dale Shulmistra

Data Protection Specialist @ Invenio IT

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Hybrid cloud computing is the only way to back up your business data.

Hybrid cloud computing has changed the way we think about data backup for businesses. But what exactly is it, and how does it compare with traditional data recovery methods?

Here’s what you need to know.

What is hybrid cloud computing?

Hybrid cloud computing uses a combination of on-premises hardware and cloud-based infrastructure to create a mixed computing environment. Depending on the deployment, hybrid cloud computing can play a role in data storage, backup, recovery, web services, application processing and other aspects of a business’s technology infrastructure.

Hybrid cloud computing can serve several purposes. Generally speaking, the primary benefit of a mixed computing environment is a more efficient use of resources. This can increase the performance and stability of applications that run in a hybrid environment.

Another key benefit of hybrid cloud computing is redundancy, particularly for data storage and backup. For the purposes of this post, we’ll be focusing specifically on hybrid cloud backup.

How does hybrid cloud backup work?

Hybrid cloud backup is a form of data backup that combines a dedicated on-site backup device with secondary storage in a private or public cloud. On hybrid systems, such as the Datto SIRIS, the on-site hardware processes the backup and stores it locally, while also replicating it to the cloud.

Hybrid cloud backups provide added assurance against the risk of an on-site disaster, while also enabling data recovery from anywhere via the cloud.

Datto’s hybrid cloud technology can also be used to power some recovery processes, such as backup virtualization. For example, the Datto SIRIS allows you to restore a production machine in the Datto Cloud and manage it locally through the on-prem Datto device. Referred to as “hybrid virtualization,” this uses resources more efficiently, reducing reliance on bandwidth and improving fault tolerance.

But let’s step back for a second to illustrate why hybrid cloud computing is so important for data backup.

Benefits of hybrid cloud backups

1) Redundancy

In the past, businesses largely stored their backups on local hardware. But this is a prime example of keeping “all your eggs in one basket.” If your backups are stored in one location, it poses the risk of total data loss if the location is destroyed or otherwise inaccessible.

Hybrid cloud backups eliminate this risk by storing backups in at least two locations: locally and in the cloud. This redundancy ensures that data can still be restored even in the most extreme on-site disaster. For example, if the building has been destroyed by fire, administrators can still restore data from the cloud backups.

2) Data availability & recovery speed

With the rise of cloud computing, more organizations began moving their backups to off-site data centers. But this too has disadvantages, especially if everything is stored exclusively in the cloud. In the event of a disaster at the data center, or even an Internet outage, the backups could not be recovered.

Hybrid cloud backups ensure that data is available both locally and in the cloud. This provides a failsafe for a wider range of disaster scenarios. Additionally, restoring data from local backups is typically much faster than cloud restores, especially if large volumes of data need to be recovered. This translates into greater overall data availability and faster recoveries.

3) Scalability & retention

Leveraging the cloud enables businesses to easily scale their data storage without needing to add additional hardware on-site. This is especially useful for long-term data retention.

Locally, businesses can maintain fast, efficient access to their most recent backups. If they need to retain older backups for regulatory compliance or other continuity objectives, they can keep that data securely in the cloud.

Why it matters

As data has become the lifeblood of today’s organizations, it’s imperative that businesses have the ability to quickly recover lost files. Otherwise, they risk a costly operational disruption.

In the age of ransomware, small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) run the same risks and challenges with their data recovery and backup as larger companies. Too many companies have learned the hard way after a disaster that one backup location just isn’t enough. Hybrid cloud computing has thus become an important strategy for business continuity and disaster recovery, providing added layers of protection for businesses of any size.

The importance of reliable backups

Without proper business continuity and data backup strategy, businesses can suffer severely from the effects of cyberattacks, natural disasters and human error.

Today’s businesses can’t afford downtime and lost revenue – both of which can skyrocket after a major loss of data, such as in a ransomware attack. These events can also cause costly reputational damage, especially at a time when consumers have little patience for the compromised security of their data and personal records.

When a company’s infrastructure is compromised, business owners need professionals to formulate and execute a plan that will enable them to remain functional and operational.

Imagine all your company’s servers have been locked up with ransomware, effectively bringing your operations to a halt. These attacks happen every day, to businesses of all sizes. In order to survive, you must be able to rapidly recover lost data and restore systems back to normal.

Hybrid cloud backups play an integral role in this recovery process by ensuring that data can be retrieved even in the worst on-site disasters.

Public vs. private clouds

Over the last several years, hybrid cloud backup has become an increasingly common feature of BC/DR systems. But not all systems do it the same way.

When deciding to store backups in the cloud, one of the first questions businesses need to consider is: whose cloud? Will you be using your own infrastructure or relying on a third-party provider?

Ultimately, you’ll need to decide whether your backup system uses a private or public cloud. Here’s the basic difference:

  • Private clouds are powered by off-site infrastructure and hardware that is used exclusively by a single company. This hardware could be located within the company’s privately owned data center or within a third-party facility. Private clouds are self-managed by the organizations that own them (or by their IT providers).
  • Public clouds allow multiple companies to share computing resources from the cloud infrastructure. Rather than having dedicated hardware for each company, the facility allocates resources on demand according to the needs of each organization. Public clouds are independently owned and managed by third-party providers.

Examples of public clouds include Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services (AWS). An example of a private cloud would be a data center or other off-site IT infrastructure owned or leased by a company.

What’s the difference in terms of BC/DR?

Public and private clouds each have their own advantages and disadvantages for hybrid backup.

Some data backup solutions require businesses to integrate their own private or public cloud. For example, the system might allow you to store backups at your own off-site data center or at your choice of a third-party public cloud provider.

The primary advantage of a private cloud is that you maintain full control over the infrastructure, which is dedicated to your business only. On the flip side, private clouds are costly to build and maintain, especially for smaller businesses.

Third-party public clouds are typically far more cost-efficient, but the disadvantage is that you’re sharing computing resources with other companies, and you have no control over the infrastructure. For some companies, this poses a risk for disaster recovery, because you’re fully dependent on the third-party provider.

The case for unified cloud backup

Manually integrating the cloud (whether private or public) can present challenges for many businesses. It adds complexity to the deployment and requires more time and resources to manage. This is especially true for smaller companies that don’t have the IT resources to deploy and configure a complex hybrid backup system.

Additionally, when manually integrating backup hardware with third-party cloud services, you’re left with a mix of disparate systems that may not always play nicely together. Unexpected errors or lapses in security could impede your recovery when it matters most.

This is why many SMBs prefer the simplicity and reliability of Datto’s unified continuity solutions. The Datto SIRIS and ALTO are all-in-one backup systems that combine on-premise hardware, software and off-site backup replication in Datto’s private immutable cloud. These solutions are designed specifically for SMBs, and they provide the advanced data protection that was once only possible for larger companies. Plus, everything is fully unified out of the box, so it’s faster and easier to deploy, and it provides the dependability today’s businesses require.

Cloud considerations: 5 questions to ask

When storing backups in the cloud, you need to be sure your data is secure. Not all data centers employ the same safeguards, so it’s important to ask, especially when using third-party providers. Ideally, the facility should be using a variety of security measures to protect your data from cyberattacks, theft, human error and physical disasters.

Here are 5 initial questions to consider as you evaluate your options:

  • Is data encrypted? How? Most cloud providers use some form of encryption to prevent data from being accessed, even if it has been stolen or shared. However, each provider approaches encryption differently. Is your data encrypted only “at rest,” or also when it’s in transit? How is it encrypted (i.e. TLS, AES, etc.)?
  • Who has access to your data? What are the security protocols for personnel who manage the infrastructure at the data center? In what scenarios do those personnel access your data and by what means? Are there audit logs/trails to show all activity performed on each system?
  • How is the data center protected from physical threats? Data centers face the same risks as your business: fire, natural disasters, flooding, theft, vandalism and more. Find out what measures are in place to prevent these threats and ensure continuity in the event of a disaster.
  • What about cybersecurity threats? Data centers need robust technology to monitor systems and block threats such as cyberattacks and malware. Before you choose a cloud provider or hybrid backup solution, ask about the data centers’ cybersecurity systems and how they work.
  • How does the provider respond to breaches? Hopefully, it will never happen – but if it does, you want to be sure your cloud provider has an aggressive response plan. What happens in the event of a breach? What steps will be taken? How and when will you or your IT provider be notified?

Data center certifications explained

Another factor to consider when evaluating cloud providers is how the data centers are certified. Independent certification helps to confirm that a data center meets industry standards for security, availability, reporting and other factors.

Here are some of the most common certifications for cloud providers and what they mean:

ISO27001 Certifies a cloud provider’s commitment to information security management and the protection of data via effective security policies, controls, risk assessments and audits.
SOC 1 Type II Demonstrates that a cloud provider meets the required compliance standards for reporting accounting and financial controls over a period of 6 months or more.
SOC 1 Type I Confirms the same financial reporting compliance as SOC 1 Type II, but at a specific point in time (rather than over a period of time).
SOC 2 Type II Certifies that a data center meets standards (over a period of several months) for security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality and privacy of data.
SOC 2 Type I Confirms the same standards as SOC 2 Type II, but at a specific point in time (rather than over a period of time).

 

 

What about georedundant clouds?

The primary benefit of hybrid cloud computing for data backup is that it creates a failsafe if local backups are destroyed or inaccessible. But what if the data center is also destroyed? Businesses must be prepared for this worst-case scenario.

For example, if the data center is located near the business, both are vulnerable to the most severe natural disasters, such as earthquakes, tornadoes or hurricanes.

This is why georedundant clouds are strongly recommended for businesses that store their backups in the cloud. Datto has been an established leader in this arena for years. Local backups on Datto SIRIS devices are replicated to a primary data center and a secondary location for added security.

Here’s what Datto’s cloud redundancy looks like for its data centers around the world:

Primary Location Secondary Location
United States Pennsylvania Utah
Canada Toronto Montreal
United Kingdom Munich Reykjanesbær
Australia London Reykjanesbær
Singapore Sydney Melbourne

 

 

 

 

 

Notice that the secondary locations are geographically diverse from the primary data centers. This provides greater protection against the risk of a widespread disaster affecting an entire region.

What we like about Datto’s hybrid cloud backups

Datto’s hybrid cloud backups are unique from other BC/DR solutions in several ways. Here’s why our business continuity experts at Invenio IT consider SIRIS to be the best backup solution for small- and mid-sized businesses:

  • All-in-one solution: SIRIS is a fully integrated BC/DR solution that unifies local backups with cloud replication, virtualization and disaster recovery. It’s a complete solution, so there’s no need to configure disparate systems or cloud services from other providers.
  • Hybrid cloud technology: Datto is truly hybrid. Backups are stored locally and in the cloud to protect against a wider array of disaster scenarios.
  • Georedundant cloud: Cloud backups are replicated to secondary data centers in geographically diverse locations.
  • Private cloud option: The Datto Cloud is purpose-built for backup storage and disaster recovery. Additionally, businesses that require their own fully private cloud (for regulatory compliance or other continuity objectives) can create one easily by simply connecting their local SIRIS with a secondary SIRIS off-site.
  • Hybrid cloud virtualization: SIRIS allows businesses to boot their backups as virtual machines locally or in the cloud (or via a hybrid virtualization). This provides near-instant access to protected servers, data and applications.
  • Cloud Deletion Defense: This is an added failsafe, exclusive to Datto, that allows companies to undo deletions of their cloud backups (whether accidental or malicious).
  • Ransomware protection: The Datto SIRIS features built-in ransomware protection that scans every backup for signs of an infection.
  • Data center security: Datto’s cloud uses AES 256 encryption, and data is encrypted during the entire synchronization, storage and replication process. The company maintains rigid security protocols for its systems and personnel, and it leverages numerous safeguards for backup power, networking continuity, cooling and fire protection. Datto’s U.S. data center certifications include ISO27001, SOC 1 Type II and SOC 2 Type II.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. What is an example of using hybrid cloud?

A hybrid cloud relies on a combination of computing environments, such as on-premises hardware and off-site cloud infrastructure. One example is the Datto SIRIS backup solution, which stores backups on a dedicated local device and replicates them to the Datto Cloud for added protection.

2. What are the advantages of hybrid cloud?

Hybrid cloud computing can provide more efficient resource allocation, greater performance and cost savings, depending on the application. For business continuity and disaster recovery (BC/DR), the biggest advantage of hybrid clouds is data redundancy, ensuring that cloud backups can be restored if local copies are destroyed.

3. What is hybrid cloud backup?

Hybrid cloud backup is a type of data protection that stores backups in multiple locations as a failsafe against on-site disasters. Commonly, backups are stored locally at the place of business and replicated to a private or public cloud.

Conclusion

As the challenges of protecting data have become more complex, the risks of not having adequate business continuity and data backup strategies have increased dramatically. Hybrid cloud computing has thus become an indispensable component of BC/DR, enabling businesses to recover data from local backups or the cloud depending on the unique circumstances of the incident.

Hybrid cloud backups eliminate the risks associated with keeping backups in a single location, while also ensuring that businesses can recover their data from the cloud if local systems have been disrupted.

Request a free demo of hybrid cloud backup

See how hybrid cloud backup from Datto can provide the protection your business needs to maintain continuity in a disaster. Request a free demo or contact our experts today: call (646) 395-1170 or email us at success@invenioIT.com.

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