Cloud backup is both a process and a service in which production data is replicated and stored in the cloud to protect it from loss or corruption.
Organizations choose backup in the cloud to keep their data safe and accessible in case of a hardware or software failure, outage, natural disaster, or cyberattack such as ransomware. Because all backup software and infrastructure is hosted and managed by the provider, cloud backup is also known as backup as a service (BaaS).
A critical component of a modern data security and data management strategy, a cloud backup solution gives organizations the flexibility to self-manage cloud backups, or use a fully managed BaaS provider to secure SaaS and cloud-native app data from Microsoft 365, Salesforce, and more. Cloud backup solutions can protect data both on-premises and in the cloud while ensuring rapid and reliable recoveries from cyberthreats like ransomware and other disasters.
Why is cloud backup important?
Cloud backups enhance organizations’ cyber resilience by securing data in separate environments from production locations. This is particularly important as ransomware attacks increase in number and severity. Cybersecurity experts predict a ransomware attack will target a business every two seconds by 2031.
Cloud backup also helps to reduce the total cost of ownership (TCO) for backup infrastructure because it eliminates on-prem infrastructure requirements along with procurement capital expenses. Cloud backup solutions can also help dramatically lower operational costs by freeing up IT staff to do more with data and drive innovation rather than focus on time-consuming management and administration.
Modern business success depends on garnering insights from data wherever it resides—whether on-prem or in the cloud. Because companies are accelerating cloud-native and SaaS use, they must have a strategy and solution to protect cloud-native and SaaS data just as they protect on-prem app data. However, having to move cloud data back on-prem for protection or analytics introduces many challenges with migration, security, and costs. This drives the need for a holistic cloud backup solution that can protect cloud-native and SaaS data as well as data on-prem—while empowering organizations to easily manage and extract more value from that data for analytics, compliance, and other business initiatives.
How do I choose a cloud backup solution?
Organizations investing in cloud backup have choices, including these options:
With these options in mind, organizations can use the following considerations to evaluate and compare which is best for their business:
Data source support — Which option has the widest coverage for cloud-native, SaaS, and on-prem workloads?
Internal resource commitments— Which option requires the most time commitment, upskilling, troubleshooting, or otherwise investment of valuable IT staff and resources?
Service delivery expectations— Which option provides the best and fastest recovery service-level agreements (SLAs) that support the organization’s downtime and data loss tolerance?
Compliance requirements— Which option best supports compliance requirements, such as long-term retention, data privacy, and data sovereignty?
Security framework— Which option provides the strongest security with Zero Trust principles and leverages AI and machine learning for innovative capabilities like anomaly and ransomware detection, data classification, and threat scanning?
Scale and agility— Which is the best option that will cost-effectively and seamlessly grow with the business?
Cost— Which option is most affordable and provides the lowest TCO and best ROI for the organization?
What data can be recovered from a cloud backup solution?
A robust cloud backup solution simplifies data protection and boosts cyber resilience by empowering teams to recover a wide variety of data sources across environments, including:
Cloud-native (ex: AWS EC2, RDS, S3, etc.)
SaaS (ex: Microsoft 365, SFDC, etc.)
On-prem (ex: virtual machines, NAS devices, databases, physical servers, etc.)
What is the best cloud backup solution?
The best cloud backup solutions offer the following to help organizations thrive and stay ahead of future needs:
Fast recovery, particularly from ransomware— The ability to rapidly recover data is one of the top attributes to look for in a cloud backup provider. In the unfortunate event that a ransomware attack strikes or data is lost, businesses need the data back as soon as possible so they can return to productivity quickly.
Frequent backups— How often data and files are backed up is also critical. Shorter intervals are better for the most granular recoveries—at a minimum daily, if not hourly, and even less. Without frequent backup intervals, businesses can suffer partial and even complete data loss.
Flexible retention— Organizations may want to keep some data for 30 days, other data for months, and some data might need to be kept for years depending on business or regulatory requirements. The best cloud backup solutions should provide flexible data retention options to satisfy the most demanding business and compliance needs.
Infinite scalability— With the rapid pace of data growth in today’s enterprise organizations, solutions that limit the number of files or volume of data that can be protected and managed are no longer suitable. Since most modern cloud backup solutions offer near unlimited capacity and scale, this shouldn’t be an issue due to the hyperscale highly-available architecture. But, it is prudent to fully understand all scaling and management limitations before making an investment.
Ease of use— IT staff should be able to easily manage backup and recovery across their global data landscape from one place using a “single pane of glass” for complete data visibility.
Flexible pricing— When it comes to cloud backup solutions, organizations want the flexibility to consume and pay as they go with pricing flexibility that offers options like per-gigabyte, per-user, or flat rate plans.
Zero Trust security principles— The best cloud backup solutions should work to ensure that no single actor, system, network, or service is to be trusted without the proper validation and authentication. This empowers organizations to keep their data secure and businesses safe from cyberattacks by reducing the attack surface, providing rapid recovery capabilities, and ensuring tight integration with their existing security tools.
How do I back up to the cloud for free?
Free cloud backup services are typically limited-time offers (such as 30-day trials at no charge) to give organizations access to full-featured solutions without having to make financial commitments upfront. Fewer operate a “freemium” model, which deliver a limited form of the service for free, but require a monthly (or annual) subscription fee to get additional functionality. This model tends to limit the volume of files or data able to be backed up. With any free backup service, it is important to consider security and privacy practices, including ransomware recovery features and capabilities.
While free cloud backup services can be a good way to test a solution, businesses generally need to pay for more robust cloud backup services to get the comprehensive level of ongoing support they require to be successful.
How much does cloud backup cost?
Cloud backup costs vary, typically with a discount if there’s a commitment to a year or more of service. That said, prices can fluctuate due to a number of factors, including storage capacity, retrieval speed, and customer support response times.
How safe is cloud backup?
The short answer is: as safe as backup on-prem. The chief benefit of backing up data in the cloud, away from production locations, is that it’s safer from physical theft, fires, and other local disasters.
But cloud-based backups can still be prone to other risks, such as external cybercriminals or internal malicious actors that can make data more vulnerable.
Organizations can be reassured that leading cloud backup providers are very security-focused as they utilize robust, Zero Trust cybersecurity measures—such as encryption, multifactor authentication, and immutability—to protect data against breaches. And by storing data in an offsite cloud, organizations can better protect their data against growing threats like ransomware while ensuring rapid and reliable recovery to any location to avoid disruption to the business.
Additionally, leading cloud backup solutions provide 24/7 monitoring, management, and reporting to ensure that your data and systems remain safe.
Should I use cloud backup?
Cloud backup is increasingly seen as an optimal way to keep data safe and boost cyber resilience. It’s also cost-effective, as teams don’t have to invest capital in complex infrastructure or pay skilled personnel to manage it.
What are the disadvantages of cloud backup?
It is important to choose the right cloud backup service provider to help mitigate business risks.
Here are the top three potential disadvantages to moving backups to the cloud.
Speed— Depending on the cloud backup service subscription, slow access and recovery can be a problem. For example, trying to continuously back up large data volumes can significantly slow down the network and introduce data loss risks. With some providers, teams may have to carefully plan backups so that they don’t interfere with production business operations.
Expensive data costs— Although free or very inexpensive cloud backup services exist for businesses with only limited volumes of data, organizations that need to store extensive amounts of information can find costs creeping up if they are paying on a per-gigabyte basis. Precisely because the cloud is virtually of unlimited scalability, teams need to be aware of how much data is being backed up. Otherwise, the business may get hit with an unexpectedly large bill.
Lack of control— Some businesses hesitate to go to cloud backup because they feel like they are losing control of their data by allowing a third party to store and retrieve it. Although leading cloud backup vendors provide robust security and privacy that can be trusted, many organizations are reluctant to entrust a third party with their business’ most important asset. It is crucial to be diligent when choosing a cloud backup partner whether deploying the service as BaaS, self-managed, or fully managed through an MSP.
Cohesity and cloud backup
Cohesity, a leader in data security and data management, offers enterprise-grade BaaS to protect your critical SaaS, cloud-native, and on-prem data sources. Organizations can take advantage of Cohesity cloud backup in the following ways:
BaaS: Cohesity-managed BaaS offers hybrid and multicloud data protection, eliminating complex gateways and silos while providing visibility to many data sources and locations—all simply managed through a unified UI.
Self-managed: For organizations that want the flexibility and agility of public cloud with the greatest level of control, Cohesity offers Cohesity DataProtect delivered as a service.
Managed Services Provider: Cohesity also offers BaaS through third-party partnerships with Managed Services Providers (MSP), giving customers the freedom to partner with an MSP of their choice.
Organizations choosing Cohesity cloud backup enjoy these benefits:
Comprehensive data source protection— Cohesity cloud backup protects any workload and boosts data resilience with a single backup service for the protection of cloud-native and on-prem workloads.
Lower TCO— Since Cohesity requires no onsite infrastructure, this simplifies cloud backup with automated policies and AI-powered ransomware detection, freeing valuable IT staff from managing infrastructure so they can focus on innovating with business data.
Improved SLAs and and rapid recovery— Exceed enterprise SLAs with flexible global policies for retention and recovery that satisfy business and compliance demands for protection, detection, and recovery of enterprise data.
Streamlined compliance— Cohesity cloud backup and BaaS support data governance requirements ranging from data sovereignty and data privacy to long-term retention and security.
Zero Trust security— Cohesity cloud backup has built-in Zero Trust principles and augments them with AI and ML for anomaly and ransomware detection so organizations can quickly detect, stop, and rapidly recover from ransomware to minimize impact to the business.
Limitless scalability and cost-efficiency— Cohesity supports a pay-as-you-grow model so organizations can always seamlessly and effortlessly scale capacity on-demand as data volumes increase.
Cohesity also goes beyond cloud backup, working with organizations to protect, classify, and cyber vault their data as a way to further bolster cyber resilience.