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What's the best method for protecting data in the cloud?

Is it better to back up cloud data to another cloud or to an on-premises target in your data center?

When protecting data in the cloud, the selection of a backup approach comes down to an organization's individual needs and the nature of the backup.

Data loss events take many different forms. When an organization backs up cloud data, it isn't just protecting that data against accidental erasure or modification, but against a cloud-level failure. As such, cloud-to-cloud backups that create a secondary copy of data in the same cloud do not protect against cloud-level failure. The only good backup options involve on-premises backup to the local data center or backing up data to a different cloud.

Assuming all the resources discussed are reasonably reliable, the discussion concerning which approach is better comes down to cost. Regardless of which backup method is used, the cloud provider hosting your data will bill you for the storage I/O created by the backup process and the network bandwidth consumed. Those can be treated as fixed costs.

If you choose to back up data to another cloud, you will incur costs related to storage consumption, storage I/O and bandwidth consumption related to the backup process and backup storage. If the data is backed up to your local data center, you may incur WAN bandwidth costs (if a metered connection is used) and there will be storage, maintenance, power and cooling costs to consider.

Some organizations prefer to back up cloud data to an on-premises target because it makes the data more tangible. There is a copy of the data stored within the local data center, where it is easily accessible. On the other hand, cloud-to-cloud backups allow you to complete the backup process without consuming any of your own WAN bandwidth, so that may be a consideration for organizations coping with bandwidth shortages.

Next Steps

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How backup tools evolved to include cloud backup

This was last published in March 2015

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How are you protecting data in the cloud?
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"Yes." :)

Seriously, it can never hurt to have more than one backup, in multiple places. 
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I have to say that I agree with Sharon’s answer of yes. Referencing the “prepper” adage of two is one, one is none, I think it makes perfect sense to have multiple backups of the same data in multiple locations, whether the data being replicated originates in the cloud or not. Multiple backups in multiple locations, whether cloud-based or not, allow the organization to implement a more thorough DR initiative to cover more contingencies.
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