What is enterprise backup?

Enterprise Backup is a computer process that makes copies of system or company data to cover for in case of unwanted incidence of data loss. Nowadays, there are already several methods of backing up data. And, as technology zips along at breakneck speed, innovation and advances have produced better and more secure ways of securing your critical data.

Currently, there are 2 kinds of data storage where regular back-ups are being made:

  • On-premise
  • Cloud

We deem it important that as part of your enterprise backup strategy you will need to have a clear understanding of the existence of these storage types. This way you will become familiar with specifics and acquire the tools that will effectively fit your needs.

How does on premise enterprise backup work?

On-premise backup directly copies hard and soft data inside a storage device that is located within physical company grounds. They can be manually or automatically backed up on-site and are readily available to be moved off-site when necessary.

Why use cloud for your enterprise backup?

Also known as remote backup, cloud backup is a remote service that allows users to create a copy of critical files, keep them in storage, and make them available for recovery in case of data loss. All of these happens in a cloud environment with the hosting provider handling security as well as your data backup management. The “cloud” itself means a network of computers or resources that work together in cyberspace.

What are the Best Practices for Enterprise backup of Data?

There is no question as to whether backing up data is critical or not. It’s only about if you don’t. It will be a situation that may turn out to be a make or break for you and your business, wherein backing up data becomes as natural as breathing to a human as much as it is the lifeline of your enterprise. It has always been an essential component of your data infrastructural security, as well as a failsafe for any kind of data scenario and disaster recovery process.

Most backup providers nowadays currently rely on the trusted “3-2-1” method of backing up your precious information. Held as an industry standard, it simply means 3 backups that are stored on 2 different types of media, and 1 copy that is stored off-site. These are necessary multi-level duplications that increase the chances of preserving your data as well as lessening, if not, eliminating the risk of the total loss of stored information.

What is storage redundancy?

Data Production

In the unforeseen and unwanted event of data loss, information that is stored within the production area where information is being processed in and out of the system, your files face the increased risk. They will be directly affected unless otherwise, you have other copies that are being stored somewhere else off-premise, as part of your enterprise backup strategy.

Diversification of Storage

The diversification of the storage areas of the same information helps keep a secure go-to place where retrieval is quick and reliable. In case of hardware failure or software trouble, you are assured of one or two other copies, of your enterprise backup, can be safely pulled up and out with minimal interruption in operations, thereby reducing the loss of data.

Specialized Tools

Using various specialized tools like pods and nodes, cloud providers like Microsoft Office 365 and Google G Suite can make copies of your data while working in the background. They are examples of “storage in the sky” that can store your data safely and securely at a reasonable cost. All of these without the hassle of bulky data centers being set up in your office.

Example of the 3-2-1 rule

One true example of the 3-2-1 rule at work is when you have all your working tools like email, production application apps, and so forth, stored in Microsoft OneDrive. We recommend that you store your static data somewhere else. This is in light of the (remote) possibility that if Microsoft’s infrastructure for some reason experiences systems down, both your working and static data will be unreachable. Whereas, making the smart move of keeping your enterprise backup copies of data separately, may enhance your productivity through uninterrupted operations.

An enterprise backup solution that would have you store data in another cloud is always a wise investment and is in fact, necessary. This way you can make two separate fault domains.

What is a fault domain?

One fault domain means a certain set of hardware that has only one single point of failure. Meaning, a single provider has only one point of reference in case of an outage. So, taking and storing your data into 2 separate domains increases retrievability and avoids or reduces interruptions. Thereby, eliminating the risk of your data getting trapped in only one single point of failure.

What are the types of enterprise backups?

Let us look into the components and characteristics of the different kinds of backups that are being applied to both on-premise and cloud setups. What makes them effective? What are other considerations on account of your backup in terms of choice and reliability?

Here they are as follows:

  • On-premises backup versus cloud backup
  • Snapshot backup
  • Cloud-to-cloud backup
  • Full backups versus Incremental backups
  • Versioning
  • RPO versus RTO
  • Backup Retention and its Policies

The above is a listing of critical tools for data security and protection. A good background of how they work gives the prospective owner an idea of the best design and engineering that will go into his or her business.

What are the benefits of cloud vs on premise backups?

On Premise Preferred Choice for Security Intensive Industries

In spite of the obvious difference that on-premise for now is still the preferred choice of security intensive industries like banking, it’s because the technology that is unassailable in terms of brute force attack hasn’t been invented yet. Or, it may still be in the works. But for now, ultra-critical data are still being geographically stored for a business that requires a maze of security layers, both physical and otherwise. This applies to storage and transportability. This is also where on-premise enterprise backups are an advantage when it comes to reliability and stability.

Semi-static on premise backups

In the past, on-premise backups were semi-static. Meaning, they had difficulty interacting with other applications. It required heavy maintenance and constant monitoring by IT personnel. Automation was limited and ultra-critical issues immediately required human intervention. Back then, the system was highly secure but lumbering in terms of working with other applications.

Database designed to be in a consistent state

At that time the Database was designed to be always in a consistent state. It basically relied on transactions to drive applications. As it goes about backing up the system it would sometimes encounter inconsistencies in the transaction log. This then would cause the backup to corrupt. Consequently, personnel would have to initiate triage so they can pinpoint bad sectors which would take up more time for the system to recover and be operational again. An example of this would be replaying log files in the Microsoft SQL Server.

Interaction between on premise and cloud more and more seamless

Fortunately, with the advances in today’s technology interaction between on-premise and cloud backup has become more and more seamless. There has been increased connectivity, and interactivity. Like Linux for instance, it is now able to run pre and post scripts that make and do application-aware backups. Microsoft’s shadow copy service is now able to interact with newer more responsive virtualization platforms and even do application-aware backups.

This led to systems now being able to take consistent snapshots of technologies like Microsoft Exchange Server, Microsoft SQL Server, as well as the Microsoft Active Directory Domain Services.

Why use cloud backup?

Cloud backup has become a much more recent requirement following the traditional on-premise backup system which was pretty much the gold standard in the last decade. Public cloud backup hasn’t been much of a preferred way of securing data, albeit not in so many years prior to the year 2021. As cloud computing became more powerful cloud service providers still haven’t come up with marketing strategies convincing enough business owners to go ahead with an enterprise backup solution and have their data stored in cloud environments. Perception hasn’t changed, not until the last few years when performance and improvement in the security of data in such environments.

Although possible hardware problems may occur and even sometimes connectivity issues may also happen. when your cloud is not well protected. there is that small risk that could be difficult to manage. But over the past few years, the cloud system has been proven to be fairly robust, resilient, and is growing in popularity.

Understandably, there is a palpable hesitance on the part of owners who have been accustomed to using on-premise backup and protection mainly because of the idea of not being able to use their dedicated backup server to store data. This idea of sending all of their critical information on some other host server has already become a necessity nowadays.

A better understanding of how cloud systems work and how it enhances data protection will contribute to the confidence and the continuing migration of businesses to the cloud.

What are the advantages for using cloud for enterprise backups?

Here are some of the most significant benefits to using Cloud Backup:

1. It is affordable

Small to medium enterprises have limited budgets for IT. So, it makes good sense to use technology with less CAPEX since cloud backup services only charge a minimum fee by the month.

2. A copy of your information is available offsite

Your business is prepared for any kind of disaster, whether an on-premise physical crisis or internal software issues that could interrupt your business. A mirror copy of your critical data can be pulled up and used to do business as usual, as data loss on site is being mitigated

3. Robust and Agile

Although not 110% immune to attacks, cloud computing is fairly secure enough that even some medium to large enterprises trust it today. It is also fast and reliable in terms of service and interaction with other apps concerning your business.

4. Accessible from any point in the world.

Your data is available 24 hours, from any device as authorized from any point. Good for businesses that are upwardly mobile and global in reach.

5. Automatic

Much of the cloud computing processes are already automated with failsafe features like added security layers. scheduled backups and this is all done by machine whether you are online or not.

6. Easy to Use

Disaster management is done by a click of a mouse where restore points can be easily activated whenever needed.

The Necessary Key Features of a Cloud Backup Service

As a whole, cloud providers themselves as of the moment are still a work in progress in providing all and every tool and important components that are needed to effectively run a backup business system. Reliability is always top of mind while running the cloud infrastructure. A prospective user/business owner will have to choose from 3rd party vendors that provide the integration, mechanisms, instruments, and security for the data and service processes that a client will need.

Key Features of an Effective Data Protection Solution Provider (cloud):

  • Does auto-backups several times a day
  • Backups are securely encrypted whether in-flight or at-rest
  • Effective Versioning
  • Can seamlessly operate in and in between several cloud systems with available storage to spare
  • Capable of securing and storing backup outside of its protected environment
  • Retention control with limitless restore points

In recent times, cloud backup has grown into an indispensable tool in the data security industry as more and more clients depend on it to secure a wide range of business uses and industry-specific services. Cloud backup has become the core foundation for most such environments. While data protection requirements expand, businesses are creating more and complex and process-specific operations in which cloud data protection has never been more needed to cover their enterprise backup strategy. That is, in its entirety, with very little to zero margin for error when it comes to security.

Cloud protection is certainly becoming the standard of where and when you will have to keep your data safe, all within the bounds of cost-effectivity.

What is Cloud to Cloud Backup

One of the other significant factors in cloud backup is the idea of storing on one cloud while having a backup on another. It all goes back to the 3-2-1 method of protecting your data.

Resiliency

In cloud protection, being diverse and having several backups in many places is being prudent and prepared. To make sure that you keep the viability and survivability of your data, you will want to keep multiple options at your disposal and not count only on one cloud with a single point of failure. We recommend that you think twice about backing up your data in the same cloud infrastructure where you are also running your operations.

“Putting all your eggs in one basket” is never a good idea. As far as the fault domain goes, it is a risk that you shouldn’t be taking. Backing up data on one cloud while operating work data on another is always a good option that keeps your information resilient and ready for any contingency. Necessary redundancy, as well as diversity in data storage and location, is key to enterprise backup of critical business information. The more secure and separate places one can acquire for safe storage, the more you are likely to recover in case of unwanted data scenarios.

What is Snapshot Backup and how does it work?

The Rise of Virtualization

The days of bulky computer processing units are fast disappearing as it is being replaced by mirror-like soft copies that function just like the hardware that it has replaced. Hardware like desktops, physical standing servers, are now being copied and replaced with virtual tools. The amount of physical hardware that is required to run a business with the same kind of efficiency no longer requires physical desktops but is instead relegated to either the cloud or a virtual copy that is stored on-premise. This was brought upon by the miniaturization of storage capability. Snapshots of data can now be taken to be used as restore points.

Virtual machines that are now working straight out of a cloud can deploy just about anything. Apps, virtual servers, and other client systems that are as effective are like having a whole office of computers that are all networked work as one, except it’s all being done virtually. Virtuality today is as common as checking social media for the latest information and other interests all packaged in one small gadget. It costs a lot less too. One example of a company that adopted virtualization technologies are vendors like VMware which created a point-in-time image of virtual engines, as it makes it easy to go back to specific points whenever necessary. Thus, the snapshot backup.

What is a Differencing Disk? And Why Is It an Important Component of the Snapshot technology?

A differencing disk is a VHD or virtual hard disk that collects and stores changes that are made on another virtual hard disk or a client operating system. A differencing disk is used as a separate disk to exclusively store details about these changes done to a VHD giving the user the capability to reverse the changes whenever necessary. Imagine a virtual clipboard that is monitoring changes that are being made in the “data” warehouse. Its role is to record the changes in real-time without any knowledge of the whole inventory inside the store. A snapshot backup is taken. It is essentially a differencing disk as it acts as a mediator.

Here’s how it works:

For a data protection solutions provider, having the capability of using these mechanisms by temporarily redirecting writes to virtual machine disks, a snapshot is being taken. While this snapshot backup is being created, the source or delta disk is simultaneously being deleted.

A snapshot by definition is a backup of a specific point-in-time that will show the current situation of the data and its contents at a certain time period. It is like a photograph measured by the volume contained in your data. The details of your machine’s process are contained within that certain snapshot which can then be used for recovery. Today, much of it already occurs in a cloud environment on a relatively regular basis. Data can then be restored by way of these snapshots and will look and function exactly like what it was at a certain point in time.

What is the difference between full backup and incremental backup

These two types of backups are very important when it comes to backing up large data as well as the changes that are being made to it at any point in time. The full and incremental back each have a role to play in the overall process of this technology.

What is a full backup?

The full backup’s job is exactly the way it is named. A full data backup straight from the parent source is initiated and completes. A full backup is usually activated the first time a source data is being made a copy from. The reason for this is that an initial full backup is necessary only because there are no other backups that have existed before. Nothing to modify, nothing to change. This is why a full copy has to be written up.

What is incremental backup?

On the other hand, it would make a lot of sense to just backup data when changes have already been made. There is no need to backup hundreds of thousands of bytes if just a small portion of it has been modified. This is where incremental backup comes in. A partial backup of the data that has undergone changes will be the only data that will be copied and saved.

Advanced data protection technologies in the virtualization world are capable of copying changes even at the block level which literally means reading and writing a disk at a physical level. This produces copies that are extremely granular and efficient following the exact time since the last backup.

In cloud technology, the ability to do incremental backups is very important. This is because cloud providers charge a premium for the storage and traffic of data. The moving of this data is being done in, and in-between cloud networks. Therefore, incremental backups being partial, significantly reduces costs that are being carried out in a cloud-to-cloud environment.

This then translates into valuable savings for the client.

What is versioning of a file or block of data?

Versioning is the process of assigning a specific number to a file or block of data that has been modified for various reasons. The assigned number is usually increasing in value (e.g.v.1, v.2, v.3, etc.). Similar to backing up data, versioning also occurs on a periodic basis. It occurs each and every time significant changes are made to the file. This is done regardless of frequency or time frame. The version also is increasing in value such as version 1 to version 2.

On the other hand, backing up data happens within a time frame as to how many times per day, per week, and so forth. This happens whether the file has been modified or not. Simply put, for as long as your file hasn’t been modified or changed into a higher value the backup system will always copy and store the same data regardless.

The importance of versioning in relation to backing up data lies in the scenario that without keeping a record of when your file was modified, or at least putting an identifier value to it like version 1,2, or 3, your data stands at risk of being backed up with no alternate version to it. Versioning allows the system to store different stages, changes, at different times in which your data has gone through.

This alone could prove useful in any disaster recovery event. The security and reliability, as well as the resilient nature of the storage of your data, are enhanced when the versioning and backing up of your data happen regularly. The ability to backup and restore different versions of your data with an enterprise backup solution also works as your protection against malware and disaster events.

Example Scenario:

Ransomware stealthily sneaked into your files and made harmful changes to your data via encryption. It then effectively holds your data hostage. With no versioning capability, your system will backup or copy the same infected file and carry it over to the next day. It can become unrecoverable as it is already altered. That is the very same version that has already been “encrypted” by the ransomware.

With versioning, the system is able to store and backup alternate versions of your data at different times within regular intervals. This keeps your data resilient against brute force attacks by being available in different versions in different time periods which are backed up by and easily restored in times of emergency. Having effective versioning and keeping multiple copies of the changes that were done to your data is an effective way of counteracting possible damage that can be done by ransomware.

What is RTO and RPO in disaster recovery?

> Recovery Point Objective or RPO

RPO represents the time when the system still had usable data up until the time when the failure occurred. It mainly measures how much volume data your system can lose before doing any significant damage to your business. It is also known as, business loss tolerance.

Your IT may set a variable time frame from 4,6,8 and, even a 12-hour interval or more backup cycles. These time intervals are the time pocket indicators of that allowance before your company suffers permanent harm. So, if you are set at 4 hours RPO you only have that time frame before the loss of data begins.

> Restore Time Objective or RTO

RTO shows how much time an engine or application can stay down in an outage without incurring significant damage to the business itself. It also represents how much time is needed for your system to go from losing data to recovery. In the case of important and critical software, RTO can only be a few seconds assuming IT has emergency procedures that will help the system continue working.

A careful assessment of time versus volume in terms of business type may help the owner and IT personnel discover the RPO and RTO for a specific enterprise. All in all, these two measurements are indispensable in the security and reliability of the backup systems when it kicks in at the assigned time. Awareness and proper monitoring of these two indicators will reduce, if not prevent permanent data loss and stop irreparable damage to the business overall.

What is a good backup retention policy

It is up to the business owner what his choices of retention policies are. Retention policies are the decided extent and limits as to how much versioning or restore points are created and kept in storage. It is an automatic system-triggered process that deletes restore points. This is done in accordance with the preference of the clients. It could be set up to refresh in a matter of days or it may take as long as 1 year. The policy will align according to the business need.

A factor that may affect the retention policy of the client is compliance regulations. These are rules that determine what and how much information is kept at any given time. And that means “real” data which is actually production data.

One other condition that affects retention policy is the cost. Cloud to cloud backups generally charge based on usage, and that usage includes the size of your storage wherein the more restore points you keep the more data you are using for backup. And that will translate to additional costing for the client. So, the fewer restore points kept the less cost.

The Effective and Efficient Usage of Cloud to Cloud Backup

All the topics discussed here are very important in the creation of a data protection solution engine that is engineered to address problems in the security of your data. It is critical that best practices are used while running and facing the challenges in this new fast-paced, no latency hybrid environment that exists today.

Datto backup Solutions provides you with all the possible options that you need to meet the requirements of safety and reliability that your business demands. We are one of the only data protection solutions that allow businesses that backup data in Microsoft 365 and Google G-Suite to allow backing up outside of the environments that are protected.

We have a wide range of capabilities to solve your protection needs, as follows:

  • Automatic and fully versioned backups
  • Restore Point in Time
  • No-fuss migration of clouds files from one user account to another
  • True and effective incremental backups
  • Encrypted/secure backups, whether in-flight or at-rest
  • Highly visible alerts, prompt reporting in the Dattos Dashboard
  • Powerful and preventive ransomware protection
  • In-system cybersecurity that powered by Machine Learning Algorithms with 24/7 monitoring

Datto Data Protection Solutions protects and secures your business in all public cloud environments. Your ultimate solutions provider that covers all your needs rolled into one powerful package of backup and security.

Call DC Encompass today, and our specialists will be more than willing to discuss with you our recommendations for your requirements.