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Enterprise backup solutions are evolving because of the public cloud.

Backing up data is a basic mandate in enterprises these days. It ensures that you’ll be able to get up and running again if something catastrophic happens to your system. It also provides a means of keeping a copy of your data elsewhere, in case something unexpected and terrible happens to your offices.

The big thing in enterprise backup solutions now is backing up to the cloud. It’s an attractive solution because it’s all digital. No tapes or hard drives to lose or damage.

As with all new solutions, it’s important to have a handle on the major concerns in play. So we’ve developed this guide to help you navigate what we see as five of the biggest issues around cloud backups.

Table of Contents:

  1. Enterprise Backup Solution Pricing
  2. Backup Encryption
  3. Structured or Unstructured Data
    1. Thoughts on NoSQL
  4. Hybrid Vs. Cloud Backup
  5. Deduplication and Compression
  6. Parting Thoughts

Enterprise Backup Solutions Pricing

You know that the first thing the higher ups are going to ask you is, “How much will this cost?”

It’s often a frustrating question. They probably tasked you with finding the solution and then act like you’re personally trying to gouge them. This is when definitive answers are actually available.

When it comes to enterprise backup solutions pricing, the most honest and disliked answer is, “It depends.”

There is no standard pricing model for these services. You might be looking at a per-gigabyte fee or a tiered structure that charges by ranges. Prices will also vary depending on the exact features you want.

Most companies will provide estimates based on your current and projected data volumes. Still, an estimate isn’t a price, as anyone who’s ever remodelled their home knows. This can prove to be a sticking point since it’s harder to budget for a bill that may vary over time.

You also need to watch for fees, such as per-device backup fees, that drive up the overall costs. Some enterprise backup software providers offer an all-in flat rate per gigabyte, which is the easiest way to avoid that problem.

Backup Encryption

Data security is a big deal for both legal and ethical reasons. Failure to protect proprietary data can cost a business in terms of revenue and innovation. Failure to protect customer data can lead to crushing lawsuits and governmental action.

Backing up data in the cloud makes many businesses skittish because it puts at least some data security in the hands of another player. A player that could, in theory, could open up for governmental scrutiny. So, how do you protect your data?

Encryption.

The more pressing issue is who does the encrypting. Most companies offering backup services to businesses make encryption available as part of the package.

If you believe the company won’t decrypt your data on demand for any badge that wanders by, it’s a no-brainer. Use their encryption service. It’s one less process for you to manage and makes encryption key management the company’s problem.

If you aren’t certain about the company or don’t want to relinquish that much control, apply encryption before you upload the data. The encryption won’t affect the actual backup, which is what you’re really after.

It’s important to be aware of the full range of responsibilities involved with managing your own encryption. After all, if you lose your keys, it’s goodbye forever to your encrypted data.

Structured and Unstructured Data

It’s difficult to overestimate the importance of databases to enterprises large and small. Are your database backups going offsite? As you evaluate enterprise backup solutions, do not forget to consider an offsite strategy for your backups, as well as the difference between structured and unstructured data.

What caught a lot of people off guard was how important unstructured data, such as social media content and video, was going to become to businesses, not to mention all of the unstructured data in departmental file shares and home directories. The nature of unstructured data makes it a terrible fit for traditional relational databases that depend on uniformity across inputs.

Thoughts on NoSQL

The ability of NoSQL databases to manage unstructured data via key-value pairs, as documents, as graphs and some creative hybrid approaches make them invaluable.

The hiccup is that support for backing up these non-relational databases ranges from inconsistent to nonexistent.

If your business relies on unstructured data now, or expects to in the near future, finding enterprise backup solutions that offer NoSQL support is critical.

Hybrid vs Cloud Backup

Hybrid cloud backups are the middle ground between pure cloud backups and pure local backups.

Hybrid data backup solutions follow the disc-to-disc-to-cloud approach. In essence, you copy your data to a local, on-site hard drive, which then copies over to your cloud backup provider’s server.

Businesses with a robust IT infrastructure typically use their own equipment for the local backup. The other alternative is an appliance supplied by the backup provider that handles storing the local copy and uploading a copy to the cloud. This option is more attractive for companies with less developed IT resources that want a one-vendor, end-to-end solution.

A pure cloud data backup solution is straightforward. Your data is copied directly to the backup provider’s servers.

There are two main advantages to the hybrid approach. If your main hard drive fails for reasons that don’t impact the rest of your equipment, restoring from a local copy is much faster. You still get the advantages of an off-site copy if something catastrophic happens to your equipment.

The big advantages of pure cloud backups are speed and reduced management. Straight to cloud backups are faster than disc-to-disc-to-cloud saves. Straight to cloud requires minimal management after the initial setup.

Deduplication and Compression

You know how you find multiple copies of the same file on your home computer? The same thing happens in businesses, only on a much larger scale. Think of it like this.

Everyone gets emailed the business’s annual report, which is 3MB because someone forgot to scale down the image sizes. If that report goes to 500 people and all the business email gets backed up, you burn 1.5 GB of storage for 3MB of content.

Deduplication drastically reduces total data storage footprint by eliminating 499 copies of the report and retaining one. The big difference is that it does this for all of your data. Throw some compression onto what’s left and you can often reduce petabytes of data to terabytes.

Deduplication and compression should be offered as basic features. Additionally, look for companies that only charge you for the total storage of what’s left after those processes.

Parting Thoughts

Cloud backups offer you a lot of benefits. Your data is copied and secured off-site, as well as on-site with hybrid systems. You also get your choice of encryption management.

You still need to be mindful of details, such as support for unstructured data storage and deduplication. Make sure you understand the provider’s pricing structure and fee policies.

Hubstor specializes in cloud archiving and enterprise backup solutions. To set up a demo or get started, please contact us today.

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