In business and especially I.T. there will always be elements that are out of your control. Having backups of your valuable data can mean the difference between a hiccup in operations and bankruptcy. Backups protect your company’s data against damage from uncontrollable events like natural disasters, inclement weather, utility failures, and even some types of security breaches, to name a few. Every business needs a data backup and business continuity solution in place, but with so many choices and opinions, choosing one can be an exhausting task! Educating yourself on the difference between on-premise and cloud backup will make it easier to make the right decision solution for your business needs.
When evaluating a backup or business continuity solution, you want to answer two questions: “how safe is my data?”, and “how quickly can I use my backup?”
On the day that the unexpected occurs you want to have the confidence that you made the right choice.
Backing up your data on-premise:
“On-premise” refers to appliances or servers stored in your office.
Having on-premise data backup is tangible, rapidly accessible and easy to understand. You get a separate physical device on-premise, and on a set schedule that device backs up your data. When you need to restore a file or a server, you set the backup appliance to work, and before too long, without any need to worry about downloading data from the internet, you’re back in business.
The downside to having your backup appliance on-premise is that it becomes vulnerable to theft or destruction. Although you can keep your backup device under lock and key, a locked server room can fall victim to break-ins and theft. In addition, if there is a fire or a waterline breaks, even the most secure server room won’t protect you from lost data and productivity.
Although there are risks in having an on-premise backup solution, there is also a significant benefit: When you inevitably have to make use of your backup, nothing is faster than having your data sitting in an appliance right next to your servers. In any disaster short of having your server room destroyed, an on-premise backup is the best answer to a speedy return to full business operations.
If you choose a purely on-premise data backup or business continuity solution for your business, Hilltop Consultants strongly recommends that you keep the storage device in an off-site co-location for extra security.
Backing up your data in the Cloud:
Even though the “Cloud” seems to be everywhere, few businesses advertising it use the term accurately and fewer consumers have a clear understanding of what it actually is. In short, a Cloud company runs its services on servers that are distributed across a wide geographical area and can be scaled up or down to meet its customers’ needs.
The Cloud will store your backup data behind datacenter and enterprise-level security, environmental, and utility support making it more reliable and resistant to the unexpected than an on-premise backup (even one stored off-site).
Cloud backup solutions watch for changes in your data, typically in real time. The service constantly streams your backup data into the cloud servers where it is safe.
The downside to cloud solutions is that not all Clouds are created equal, and the functional differences can be challenging to understand and evaluate without substantial technical expertise. In addition to the confusing nature of a cloud solution, it takes time and bandwidth to move data back and forth between your office and the cloud. When you need to restore data you will have to wait until your data is downloaded locally before you can use it; depending on a dozen factors restores can take hours or days.
Cloud back up is an excellent solution for a business that has a strong security need and can wait for their data to be restored without costing the company too much money from downtime.
So there’s on-premise, and there’s cloud: One is fast but physically vulnerable, the other is physically secure but could result in days of downtime. Either has substantial problems on its own. What if you fused the two into a single complementary solution?
Hybrid solutions like Hilltop’s disaster recovery and business continuity solutions (powered by Datto) give businesses the safety and security of cloud backups while providing the responsiveness and immediacy of on-premise solutions.
Essentially, a well designed Hybrid solution will have a local appliance that performs backups, manages a constant stream of those backups into the cloud, and can act as a stand-in for one of your servers should you experience a failure. The local appliance will store backups for a time in order to provide quick access to backups and may be weeks or months old. All the while the cloud counterpart will store your backups in a secure and distributed service that allows for easy access and review should you need to check on a file from a long time ago. Best in class Hybrid solutions, like Hilltop’s, will also provide servers that live in the cloud and can be turned on at a moments notice to restore your business to full function in the event that your office has experienced some kind of catastrophic damage.