Data Recovery — A Guide to Cloud Backup Solutions

Data Recovery — A Guide to Cloud Backup Solutions

Data Recovery — A Guide to Cloud Backup Solutions |


Although the business landscape is becoming more data-driven than ever, it has its downsides. All types of companies must be aware of the ongoing risk of data loss. Data loss can occur due to cyberattacks, human error, or natural disasters, emphasizing the importance of backing up data.

What Is Data Recovery?

In enterprise IT, data recovery describes restoring lost, inaccessible, accidentally deleted, or corrupted data back to laptops, desktop computers, tablets, smartphones, or other digital devices. As its name suggests, the goal of data recovery is to recover data that is no longer accessible to employees so they can keep the business running as usual.

Most data loss occurs due to human error, but other events like natural disasters and cyberattacks can cause data loss. Something as simple as a power outage in the office can cause companies to lose their data.

Understanding Cloud Data Recovery

Cloud backup — also called online or remote backup — sends copies of virtual files to a second, off-premises location for storage purposes. In case a disaster or emergency happens, the files are safe, accessible, and managed by a third-party cloud provider at a secure site.

Typically, cloud providers charge their customers a fee based on their storage capacity, data transmission bandwidth, number of users on the system, and the number of times data in the cloud is accessed.

There are four types of cloud backup solutions organizations can choose from, including:

  • Public
  • Cloud-to-cloud
  • Hybrid
  • Managed

Each solution type has its pros and cons — only some will work for a given organization, depending on the industry it serves, the number of users it has, or how much data it works with. Luckily, there are dozens of cloud providers offering different solutions meant to fit your unique business needs.

The Importance of Backing up Data

At an enterprise level, it’s critical for IT teams, employees, and C-suite executives to understand the importance of backing up data. The risks associated with data loss should be enough to convince all businesses to back up their data, but that’s only sometimes the case. Many companies operate without backing up their data — while it might not cause any immediate issues, it can backfire if data loss occurs unexpectedly.

Data backups can save employees time and energy, as well as money for the organization since they protect against power outages, viruses and different types of cyberattacks, natural disasters, human errors, hardware or software failures, and other emergencies.

6 Examples of Data Backup and Recovery Strategies

In today’s digitally driven environment, organizations must have a comprehensive data backup and recovery strategy in place before any emergencies or disasters occur. If something does happen, businesses and their IT teams will be able to recover data more quickly and effectively.

1. Full Backup

As its name suggests, a full data backup involves storing complete copies of data on a cloud-based system or drive. This method sounds ideal on paper, but it uses massive amounts of storage, meaning organizations might spend a lot of money on these data solutions. These backups also take more time due to the volume of data being copied.

2. Mirror Backup

Like a full backup, mirror backups store a complete copy of data without compression, which takes up even more storage space. One of the reasons businesses use a mirror backup strategy is because it offers fast data recovery time in the case of data loss.

3. Differential Backup

A differential backup strategy involves backing up any new data or data that has changed since the last full backup. Unlike a full or mirror backup, a differential backup does not make a full copy of all data each time. Still, it only accounts for newly created, updated, or altered data.

4. Incremental Backup

Similar to differential backups, incremental backups will only back up files that have changed since the last backup. For example, suppose you back up data on a Friday at 5:00 p.m. On Monday at 9:00 a.m., you decide to back up data again. In that case, only changed data will be stored in the new backup.

5. Daily, Weekly and Monthly Backups

Daily, weekly and monthly backups are also called grandfather-father-son (GFS) backups. GFS is a common backup strategy because it groups these backups into more manageable chunks of time. In this strategy, daily backups are called “sons,” weekly backups are “fathers,” and monthly backups are “grandfathers.”

Companies should consider implementing an automated solution to schedule these backups without human intervention. This way, employees are not required to memorize the schedule, which can lead to human error and prevent backups from being up-to-date.

6. 3-2-1 Backups

A 3-2-1 backup is another standard data backup strategy that is relatively straightforward. It consists of these three concepts:

  • Three: There should be three backups of your organization’s data at all times.
  • Two: Two copies of your backup exist on at least two different media types, such as an external hard drive or server.
  • One: One copy of data is kept secure off-premises, such as in the cloud, at a data center, or in another office location.

The 3-2-1 strategy is highly regarded as a best practice in data management.

Other Tips for Enterprise Data Backup and Recovery

The ultimate goal with data backup and recovery is to prepare for the worst-case scenario. Instead of struggling to recover crucial data, planning for a potential security or emergency incident is a better strategy businesses should follow.

Form a Backup and Disaster Recovery Policy

If your company still needs an established data backup and recovery (BDR) policy, now is the time to create one. All employees within an organization play a role in data security, but the IT team is primarily responsible for backup and disaster recovery.

Clarify who should take on specific backup tasks and assign recovery duties to those best suited for the role. Managers should specify where backups should be stored and what steps to take if a disaster occurs. Figuring out all these specific details will make disaster recovery much easier in the future.

Consider Using Multiple Methods

Instead of relying on a single backup strategy, consider combining backup and recovery methods. For example, you can always practice the 3-2-1 backup technique but ask your IT department to do a complete data backup every once in a while.

This will ensure all your bases are covered in the event data is lost. Use all the tools and resources at your disposal to ensure you’re ready for a potential data snafu.

Prioritize Offsite Storage

It’s possible that your organization’s central system can become compromised, especially if a threat actor launches a phishing, ransomware, or distributed denial of service attack. Suppose your network goes down. How will you access data?

You’d be in the clear if you spent time before the attack prioritizing offsite storage. For example, you can store full or partial data backups outside your office’s network, allowing you to access your data remotely. At the same time, your IT department gets things back up and running.

Use Encryption

A critical component of good data management is security. With the cybersecurity landscape becoming more threatening, businesses need to use all the protective measures they can to reduce the likelihood of data breaches.

One way to add another layer of security for sensitive data is encryption. Data encryption involves converting plaintext — which is unencrypted — to cipher text. It makes it nearly impossible for threat actors to read sensitive data, as it can only be read using a decryption key.

Prioritize Data Backups and Recovery in the Cloud

The last thing any business wants is to lose critical information, especially if that information is sensitive in nature. It can lead to downtime, costing companies hundreds of thousands of dollars.

However, any organization is vulnerable to a potential cyberattack or disaster. Instead of taking a reactive approach to a disaster, be proactive and use the best data backup and recovery practices for your business. Your future self will thank you.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich; Pexels; Thank you!

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Shannon Flynn

I work with ReHack Magazine and am an IT blogger and a native of technology tools and software. I have a track record of creating content that drives traffic. I’m always looking to learn new things.