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What are potential cloud backup problems?

Don't let typical cloud backup issues slow down your organization. Stay in front of potential impacts to budget and bandwidth for a solid backup platform.

There are a number of issues organizations commonly face when backing up to the cloud.

One of the major cloud backup problems involves underestimating the impact and cost of backing up on-premises data to the cloud. In many cases, organizations create data at a rate that far exceeds what could realistically be backed up to the cloud given the amount of internet bandwidth that is available. Deduplication and other data reduction technologies can help with this issue, but bandwidth limitations will always exist.

Speaking of bandwidth limitations, the backup process must not be disruptive to other aspects of the business. Some broadband internet providers do not handle uploads very well. A provider may cap the total amount of data that can be uploaded within a given month or limit upload speeds in a way that makes them far slower than the provider's download speeds. Similarly, with some services, routine internet usage may slow to a crawl when a large upload is in progress. Although these cloud backup problems tend not to affect the enterprise as much, smaller organizations are often surprised by the impact that backing up to the cloud has on their internet service.

Cloud backup problems can come in the form of widely varying costs that often increase steadily over time.

Organizations that are just getting started with cloud backups often underestimate the cost. Traditional, on-premises backups tend to have easily identifiable costs. An organization may, for example, have costs associated with backup media and with backup software licenses. These costs are fixed and relatively predictable. Conversely, cloud backup problems can come in the form of widely varying costs that often increase steadily over time.

There are two main costs that come into play with cloud backups. The first is the data storage cost imposed by the cloud service provider. Unlike backups made on premises, an organization never actually owns the cloud backup media. Instead, the provider leases the media on a monthly basis. Hence, organizations backing up to the cloud can expect to pay a monthly fee for each gigabyte of storage used.

The other cost associated with cloud data backups is the transfer cost. Cloud providers tend to bill their customers for both the upload and download of data. This is in addition to the ongoing storage costs. Furthermore, some internet service providers also bill their customers based on the amount of data that is transferred within a given month. Backing up data to the cloud increases internet data transfers, thereby also potentially increasing costs. To get around these potential cloud backup problems, organizations should make sure to carefully anticipate how much storage and transfer will cost.

This was last published in March 2018

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What is the biggest issue you have encountered when backing up to the cloud?