The adoption of cloud computing is growing exponentially in governmental organizations around the world. And if you’re in a field that manages sensitive personal information, lapses in security will be difficult to explain or forgive. Learn to keep data safe in the cloud.
Data security is an essential consideration for any organization operating today. Backups are a vital part of any security setup. Without the right backup strategy in place, an organization will not recover from a disaster such as a significant hack or ransom attack. A backup service can ensure that a business can recover from both physical and cybersecurity attacks.
Arguably one of the best options is always going to be a cloud backup. With a cloud backup, data is stored offsite on a server rather than a physical system. If you research the market, you will find various cloud backup capabilities. Let’s explore some of the main options that you can consider.
There are three main types of backup. These are:
A full backup is a complete backup where all selected data is cloned, including files, SaaS applications, hard drives, and more. This means there is less time to restore data, but the backup takes longer. It also requires a lot of storage space.
A differential backup will backup data that was created or changed during the last backup. This is a far more rapid process.
Incremental backups include one full backup and then succeeding backups where only changes are stored. This option provides businesses with complete flexibility and only requires storage for the changes. Now let’s look at some of the key capabilities of these different backup options.
With a cloud, first backup organizations are provided with an efficient way to store their data. They can also opt for a hybrid approach, keeping a second copy onsite. A hybrid backup will be used for organizations with significant levels of data that they need to access quickly. One of the ways that this can be accomplished is with a NAS appliance which operates as a local backup before syncing data to the cloud.
The data is then always available through the onsite NAS. The cloud backup is also readily available if the company loses access to the initial site. Another hybrid approach could include using a public and private cloud server.
Version control is essential to ensure that you can access the correct version of your data. Without effective versioning, you will only be able to access the data that you have most recently used. This could be a problem in a variety of situations. For instance, if you are the victim of a ransomware attack, then the attacker could have corrupted or changed your data, leaving the most recent version worthless. Ideally, your backup should be capable of giving you access to various past versions.
Retention control is similar to versioning. It relates to how long you can retain backup data and how often you remove restoration points. This will largely depend on how long you need the data as well as the compliance requirements of your business or industry. If you have more restoration points, you will also require more storage. This can cost more depending on how your backup service is billed. For instance, you could be billed based on the selected size instead of the storage that you consume.
Automated backups will ensure that you have no issues with a limited number of restoration points. You also won’t have to worry about remembering to complete the backups manually, and this can help prevent any data loss. You will be able to guarantee you are meeting your recovery point objectives.
Built-in integrity checks will guarantee that data remains the same once it is read back after being stored on the cloud as a backup. This is an option that is built-in if you choose a solution that provides objective storage.
Data security should be one of your primary goals when choosing a backup solution and completing a backup. It is possible to guarantee data security by ensuring that end-to-end encryption is part of this process. End-to-end encryption can be utilized for servers and workstations whether the data is at rest or in transit.
Maintaining the best practices when backing up your databases to the cloud will ensure that your security is at the right standard and that your data is protected. Here are some key practices that you must keep in mind.
Regardless of how much you depend on the cloud in your business, you must have physical backups. This will provide you with the right level of protection during a data breach or even in the event of a disaster. It is not unheard of for a hard backup to save a business.
For instance, in the U.S, since 2016, there have been 4000 ransomware attacks daily. With a physical backup, you can access core files without needing to pay an exorbitant ransom. Some backup services like Veeam do offer built-in Ransomware protection.
If you are using a physical backup, this must be stored separately to your cloud storage. This will guarantee your data is safe even if your system is corrupted.
You need to ensure that you are testing your recovery strategies regularly to ensure that they do remain effective. It would help if you were prepared for server crashes as well as database failures. Make sure that you have a recovery time objective (RTO) and check whether you are matching this meeting the objective during the tests. It would help if you also worked to prepare for different scenarios, developing appropriate protocols for specific scenarios.
During the testing process, you need to guarantee that workstations and databases are safe and remain unaltered once the backup process has been completed. It would be best if you made sure that the data stored is entirely recoverable. It would help if you had administrators ready to complete this process regularly and a set schedule.
It is crucial to backup more than just databases and workstations. You also need to make sure that you are backing up your system data. This is important because it contains the configurations required for databases and workspaces to operate effectively.
When you use a cloud provider, they should deliver a service level agreement. This should include how the data is going to be backed up, where it will be stored and how much you should expect to pay for this solution over an extended period.
If you are storing data that is confidential, then it does make sense to consider using private encryption for this specific data. That way, you can guarantee that it will remain secure and safe from prying eyes.
Using metadata can be a lifeline for a business during recovery. It will guarantee that you can quickly access core files by quickly discovering the location and ensuring that they are the first files to be restored.
These practices might seem simple; however, they are easy to miss or forget. This is always going to leave you and your business data vulnerable. If you choose the right backup solution, many of these processes will be automated and managed for you. This can provide complete peace of mind that your data is being protected the right way. You will be able to control your backup as you need to and ensure that you have full access to different versions of the data that you might need to restore in an emergency situation.
Certain businesses may also have other considerations to keep in mind when exploring different types of cloud service capabilities. For instance, you might need to think about compliance with data protection laws. Certain cloud backup providers will not be able to adhere to these requirements.
If the data being stored must adhere to critical regulations such as the GDPR or HIPAA, you must choose a certified backup solution. If you do not take this step, then your business could face significant consequences, including heavy fines.
You might also want to consider data archiving. This is not the same as a traditional data backup. Data archiving is used to store data that is not needed in the immediate future but does still need to be retained. It should be removed from the daily backup stream because it is unlikely to change, even over an extended period.
Specific cloud solutions provide archiving services to complement the main backup solution, so this is worth exploring. Archived data is usually stored on cost-effective technology that does not need to provide frequent levels of access. Veeam provides their clients with a 20x lower archive cost storage solution.
It’s clear then that there are numerous cloud backup capabilities worth exploring. Choosing the right one will guarantee that data in your organization is fully recoverable in the wake of a disaster. One of the most popular cloud configuration and management solutions is the Veeam Availability Suite. If you’re interested in using this service, our Veeam Availability Suite v11: Configuration and Management training course will ensure that you have all the information you need on how to use it effectively to protect your enterprise.