Woo: What data should you back up to the cloud?

Woo: What data should you back up to the cloud?

Date: Nov 29, 2012

In this Storage Decisions video, Ben Woo, founder and managing director of the market research firm Neuralytix, discusses some of the questions IT pros should ask when considering whether to implement cloud backup -- and when deciding what type of data to back up to the cloud.

The term cloud backup means different things to different vendors and analysts. But Woo said he defines cloud backup as a backup option you don't own or control, you don't manage it and the data is not stored on any of your company's sites.

But Woo made one issue clear: With or without the cloud, you're still responsible for your data.

"You want to think about compliance. You want to basically outsource the risk element to somebody else … [but] there is no way you can tell a CEO or the SEC that, 'Well, I lost data or I don't have it.' That is not really a viable reason, and it still comes down to you guys."

If you choose to turn to the cloud, what kind of data should you back up to the cloud? Woo notes that backing up all of an organization's data to the cloud could mean sending terabytes of data over a wire or backing up to disk and shipping to the cloud provider. He suggested using the cloud to back up specific types of data. For example, the cloud could be used to protect users' mobile devices, desktops and laptops.

"Are you simply doing it for your mobile devices or your desktops, because you've had enough of users being a pain in the rear end and you just want to outsource back to them, and [if] they lose a file [tell them,] 'Go to this website and restore it yourself'? By the way, that's a great idea," said Woo.

Woo notes that even with backing up to the cloud, tape users shouldn't dump that storage medium.

"And the question comes down to, Do you go cold turkey and leave tape behind forever, or go hybrid?" Woo said, later adding that the answer is a "hybrid approach."

"The best way of doing what you're doing is extending your environment into the cloud," said Woo.

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