Cloud backup is a data protection strategy that involves backing up data to a cloud-based storage service to providers such as AWS, Azure, Google, Wasabi or to any Data Centre provider directly. It is mainly used in business environments however the trend is also going to backing up personal data which is just as important.
There are 9 key components as well as 3 core principles that together can explain what Cloud Backup is.
- Cloud Storage: The cloud storage provider is the core component of cloud backup. The provider offers a secure, scalable, and reliable storage infrastructure to store backups in the cloud.
- Backup software: This is responsible for transferring data from the source system to the cloud storage provider. It may offer advanced features such as data compression, encryption, and deduplication.
- Backup schedule: The schedule defines when and how often backups are performed. Typically, backups are scheduled to run automatically at regular intervals.
- Backup retention policy: The retention policy determines how long backups are kept in the cloud storage. The policy is typically based on factors such as data retention regulations, business requirements, and storage costs.
- Security: An extremely critical component of cloud backup. Data should be encrypted both in transit and at rest to ensure its confidentiality and integrity. Access controls should be implemented to prevent unauthorized access to backups.
- Disaster recovery: is the process of restoring data in the event of a disaster such as hardware failure, natural disaster, or cyber-attack. Cloud backup solutions should include a disaster recovery plan to ensure data can be quickly restored in the event of a disaster.
- Monitoring and reporting: Cloud backup solutions should include monitoring and reporting capabilities to ensure backups are running as expected and to alert administrators of any issues or failures. This can help ensure the integrity and availability of backup data.
- Scalability: Solutions should be scalable to meet the changing data backup needs of customers. This includes the ability to increase storage capacity as needed, and to add or remove backup sources as required.
- Cost-effectiveness: It is best to find a provider that is cost-effective, taking into account factors such as storage costs, data transfer costs, and any additional costs such as licensing fees. Cost-effectiveness can be improved through the use of technologies such as deduplication and compression (see below), which reduce storage requirements and data transfer costs.
Compression is a data reduction technique used in cloud backup to reduce the amount of data that needs to be stored or transmitted. Compression works by identifying patterns in the data that can be represented more efficiently. These patterns can be repetitive strings of characters, whitespace, or other types of data.
During compression, the data is processed using an algorithm that replaces the identified patterns with shorter codes, resulting in a smaller data size. This compressed data can then be stored or transmitted more efficiently than the original uncompressed data.
Compression is particularly useful in cloud backup because it reduces the amount of storage space and data transfer required, which can reduce costs and improve backup performance. However, compression is not always effective for all types of data, and it may not always result in significant data reduction. Some backup solutions also offer the option to disable compression if it is not suitable for a particular dataset.
Deduplication, also known as data deduplication, is a technique used in cloud backup to reduce the amount of data that needs to be stored or transmitted by identifying and eliminating redundant data.
In cloud backup, redundant data can occur when multiple copies of the same file or data set are backed up. Deduplication works by identifying the unique data elements within each file and comparing them to the unique data elements in previously backed up files. If a match is found, only one copy of the data is stored or transmitted, and subsequent references to the same data point to the original copy.
For example, if a 10MB file is backed up multiple times, each backup may include the entire 10MB file. With deduplication, only one copy of the file is stored, and subsequent backups reference the original copy. This can significantly reduce the amount of storage space and data transfer required for backups.
Deduplication can be performed at various levels of granularity, including file level, block level, or byte level. Block-level deduplication is the most common method used in cloud backup and works by breaking down files into smaller blocks of data and identifying duplicate blocks.
Deduplication can be a highly effective data reduction technique and is often used in conjunction with other techniques such as compression and encryption to improve backup performance, reduce storage costs, and enhance data security.
256 AES encryption
256 AES encryption refers to the use of the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) algorithm with a key size of 256 bits. AES is a widely used encryption standard that is commonly used in cloud backup and other security applications.
AES is a symmetric encryption algorithm, meaning that the same key is used for both encryption and decryption. The AES algorithm uses a block cipher, meaning that it processes data in fixed-size blocks. In the case of 256 AES encryption, the data is processed in 256-bit blocks.
The strength of encryption is often measured in the length of the encryption key. Longer keys are generally more secure because they are more difficult to crack through brute-force attacks. 256-bit encryption is considered to be very strong and is currently the highest level of encryption that is widely available.
256 AES encryption is used in many cloud backup solutions to provide strong encryption of backed up data. When data is backed up using 256 AES encryption, it is encrypted with a 256-bit key, making it extremely difficult for unauthorized parties to access or decipher the data.
From a business perspective, backing up your data is imperative. There is no point waiting for that data loss moment which, granted may not come however if it does it could ruin your business as you may not be able to get that one important file that you need. In terms of personal backup, this is the user’s choice as it will centre around costs and also the real need to have it. Backing up data to an external USB device is not a backup strategy which perhaps a lot of personal users do so the pros and cons of doing this needs to considered. For the best approach having a secure backup solution that stores data offsite is the most recommended option.
This article was written by Saaher Muzafer, CEO of Backup Everything.