Understanding Online Backups in the Age of Cloud Computing

Man touching the cloud concept

Although it eliminates the need for physical storage, cloud computing adds unique challenges to the process of backing up data. To prevent data loss when using software-as-a-service, companies should seek additional means of backing up vital proprietary data.

For decades, creating backups has been a standard practice to personal and proprietary data from various risks. Backing up data periodically serves as the ultimate buffer against data loss and is a core cybersecurity practice that all business and personal IT systems must perform regularly. Backups can be stored in on-site storage devices dedicated to the purpose and on the cloud.

In the past, most of the backups were done in on-site physical drives, which are both expensive and often very bulky to accommodate the large volume of data frequently stored by a business. Frequently, it becomes just as vital to have an entire operating system backed up as a disk image file to ensure that work can resume quickly after a setback. With the advent of cloud computing, however, the standard methods of backing up data have become far more complex as they have become more convenient. Cloud storage eliminates the need to have physical drives for backup storage. 

Not Quite an Alternative

With more and more files being accessed and created on the cloud instead of in a computer, however, it becomes critical to minimize the data loss that takes place in the cloud.

Not a few individuals are misled into thinking that cloud computing would largely eliminate the need for backups. After all, in some instances, the copies of the files on the cloud are the backup. And with more services done over the cloud, having another copy of data elsewhere seems rather redundant.

cloud on top of keyboard

Contrary to this belief, however, cloud computing by itself is no safeguard against data loss. This mentality fails to take into account the associated risks behind cloud computing, where the main vulnerability would come not only from data breaches affecting third-party SaaS providers but also from various internal and exterior threats. Accidental or malicious deletion by employees, compromised employee accounts, and ransomware can all play a role in threatening the data files managed through the cloud.

A Cloud-to-Cloud Solution

Findings show that 77 percent of IT decision makers report that a significant amount of data loss taking place over the cloud while using a software as a service (SaaS) solution—much higher than the previously recorded 58 percent. And even if SaaS providers (including O360 and Google) have safeguards against data breaches and outages, they are usually focused on protecting data from their side, leaving the backups at the consumer end still vulnerable.

To counteract the threats to live data stored in the cloud, companies can rely on cloud-to-cloud backup services to store part of the company’s data away from the SaaS-based platforms where they are regularly accessed. This would enable companies to preserve and protect the data they have stored and accrued on the cloud without resorting to the painstaking process of backing up their data in a physical form.

This redundancy can make a world of difference to most companies in protecting their proprietary data. A data breach that breaks into their cloud computing accounts can severely cripple their operations. Having a ready backup located in a more secure location can shorten the recovery time between breaches and business-as-usual, reducing their overall financial impact and minimizing losses.

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