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Enterprise backup-as-a-service options, benefits and use cases

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6 data backup service providers to watch

Evaluate how offerings from six prominent BaaS providers differ when it comes to considerations such as pricing, scope of coverage and the amount of data they can back up.

Backup as a service offers an alternative to traditional storage methods. Data backup service providers can use this off-site storage method to back up an organization's files, folders or hard drives to a remote secure public cloud. This helps protect the data from cyberattacks, ransomware, natural disasters and user error by making the data recoverable from a remote backup repository.

Backup as a service, or BaaS, refers to a data protection architecture in which the backup server runs in the cloud as a managed service the backup vendor maintains. This online backup service typically also provides cloud storage for backup and data protection. Some providers, however, require that organizations use third-party clouds, such as AWS or Microsoft Azure, as a backup target.

BaaS providers vary in terms of what they can back up. Some cloud backup service providers offer comprehensive data protection services and can back up almost anything. Others, however, are more niche in their scope and might focus on protecting a particular hypervisor or a specific SaaS application, such as Microsoft 365.

What types of organizations use BaaS?

There are BaaS offerings to fit almost every organization's needs. Some providers offer enterprise backup as a service, while others offer services that are more suitable for SMBs. An organization should consider BaaS if its current backup tool is leaving gaps in coverage or isn't fully meeting its needs.

BaaS is also a good option for organizations that have employees working from home and saving data on their own personal devices. Some BaaS providers will enable organizations to back up these end-user devices, thereby protecting otherwise vulnerable data.

How top backup-as-a-service offerings compare

Key differences between on-premises and cloud-based backup

Modern BaaS offerings often mimic backup products that are designed to run on premises, but there are some key differences, including the following:

  • BaaS is only available as a subscription, whereas some on-premises backup offerings are still available with a perpetual license.
  • BaaS providers typically require data to be backed up to cloud storage.
  • Some data backup service providers have capacity or data type restrictions. For example, a BaaS provider may not support backing up video files or might prohibit the backup of files over a certain size.
  • Unless an organization is using a cloud storage gateway, BaaS will be slower than an on-premises product, as it uses a WAN connection to back up and restore data.

Advantages of BaaS

The popularity of BaaS is largely due to its many benefits. Each BaaS provider has its own way of doing things, but generally speaking, there are several benefits an organization can expect to gain from an enterprise backup-as-a-service offering. These include the following:

  • An organization can automate long-term data retention, which is essential for complying with regulatory retention requirements.
  • Data is encrypted at rest and in flight, providing protection against hackers and ransomware.
  • Data is stored off site, often in multiple locations. This provides protection against natural disasters and human error.
  • Admins can offload backup server-related maintenance and management tasks to the provider.
  • An organization can easily recover backed up data that's lost or deleted.
  • Redundancy enables an organization to store multiple copies of the same data in separate locations.
  • BaaS can be less expensive than other backup techniques, since an organization doesn't have to purchase backup hardware or media.

Questions to ask before selecting a BaaS provider

Although data backup service providers generally do a good job, they aren't all created equally. They differ widely when it comes to such considerations as price, scope of coverage and the amount of data they can back up. As such, it's critical to consider the following key questions before signing a contract with a BaaS provider.

  • What data and devices does the organization need to back up?
  • How often do backups need to run?
  • What compliance requirements does the organization need to meet?
  • How quickly does the organization need to recover following a data loss event?
  • What are the organization's recovery time objectives and recovery point objectives?
  • What type of security measures does the organization need the BaaS offering to provide?
  • What is the organization's budget for a cloud-based backup?

There are numerous cloud-based services. Let's examine six of the more prominent BaaS vendors and their offerings.

Acronis Cyber Backup

Acronis Cyber Backup can protect more than 20 platforms, including physical and virtual machines, PCs and mobile devices, and NAS appliances. It offers bare-metal recovery capabilities, as well as a restore anywhere feature that can restore backups to dissimilar hardware or perform physical-to-virtual conversions. The software can also perform granular recovery operations, such as recovering an individual email message.

Acronis offers several noteworthy features to keep backups secure, including an AI-powered anti-ransomware feature. The software also generates a CyberFit score that helps organizations assess their level of protection.

Acronis provides features such as blockchain backup notarization, retention rules and backup replication to help even the largest organizations manage and ensure the integrity of their backups.

Acronis Cyber Backup is licensed by subscription, with one-, two- and three-year plans available. Like the BaaS version, the on-premises version is available as a one-, two- or three-year subscription. A perpetual license is also available for the on-premises version.

Acronis provides significant online documentation and assistance with various issues on their support site. Additionally, customers can also contact the support department by email.

Carbonite Cloud Backup

Carbonite Cloud Backup was one of the first BaaS products on the market. It offers cloud backup services for individuals and SMBs, and the Carbonite Endpoint service provides endpoint backup capabilities for large, distributed organizations. Carbonite is entirely cloud-based and doesn't offer an on-premises backup product.

Carbonite's primary security is its backup encryption, which includes 128-bit encryption for backing up a single computer or multiple computers. The Computers and Servers plan, which addresses small businesses, includes both 128- and 256-bit encryption. Carbonite's Webroot SecureAnywhere Antivirus subscription offers additional optional support for a single computer.

Other noteworthy features include support for the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act and HIPAA, as well as remote file access to computer files and a centralized administrative console.

Carbonite creates image-based backups of protected machines and supports bare-metal restores, as well as the recovery of individual files and folders. The Computers and Servers plan also enables admins to back up and restore databases and applications.

Carbonite offers three main data protection plans: The One Computer plan starts at $6 per month. The Multiple Computers Plan starts at $24 per month, and the Computers and Servers plan starts at $50 per month. These plans are billed annually, with one-, two- and three-year subscriptions available. There are additional charges to protect more devices than the plan covers and for additional cloud storage. The multi-computer backup plan, for example, covers up to 25 computers and includes 250 GB of storage.

Carbonite provides 24/7 support via phone, chat or email, and provides help through an online knowledgebase.

Clumio

Clumio is an enterprise-grade BaaS provider that focuses primarily on protecting AWS, Microsoft 365 and VMware resources. Clumio allows admins to create a single set of backup policies and apply it to all workloads, regardless of where they reside.

Clumio offers several security features, including end-to-end encryption. Its most noteworthy security feature is RansomProtect, which is an air-gapped, immutable backup that's designed to protect backups against ransomware attacks.

Clumio's real-time dashboards enable admins to monitor the status of their backups. Additionally, Clumio automatically scales resources to keep costs in check, while also accommodating growing data sets.

Clumio offers backup and recovery support for Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud, Elastic Block Store and Relational Database Service. Similarly, Clumio protects Microsoft 365 data and offers point-in-time recovery capabilities, as well as granular recovery of items such as individual email messages. Clumio's VMware protection enables organizations to restore full VMs or individual files within them. Clumio can restore on-premises VMs to the cloud, if needed, and cloud-based VMs to an organization's data center.

Like other BaaS providers, Clumio licenses its service as a subscription. Its approach is noteworthy, as Clumio's services are billed at a flat annual rate and the company doesn't charge any data egress fees. This helps to make backup-related costs predictable.

Clumio has a two-tier support program, with support available by phone or email. Its premium support offering makes support available 24/7.

Commvault

Commvault offers an array of data protection products and services. Its backup-as-a-service products are collectively known as Metallic BaaS. These products protect Microsoft 365, endpoint devices, VMs, Kubernetes, databases, files and other objects. Admins can use the Metallic BaaS services in conjunction with Commvault's other products.

Commvault's Metallic BaaS products include all of the standard security features, such as data encryption while at rest and in flight. These products also guard against ransomware with built-in anomaly detection and immutable, air-gapped backups.

Commvault's integrated search engine helps admins easily locate the data they need to restore, and the service scales from a single terabyte to more than 10 petabytes.

Commvault's flexible recovery enables granular, point-in-time or out-of-place recovery of data.

Commvault licenses its Metallic BaaS products separately on a per-user, per-month basis. It uses a sliding scale that decreases the cost per user as the number of users increases. In some cases, there are additional capabilities that can be added onto a service. Microsoft 365 backups, for example, start at $3.60 per user, per month, but an organization can add eDiscovery capabilities, which increases the cost to $4.50 per user, per month.

Commvault maintains a large collection of online documentation and videos in its support library. It provides four tiers of support -- low, medium, high and critical -- with varying service-level agreements. Support is generally available 24 hours per day, five days per week, but 24/7 support is available for critical cases.

Druva

Druva offers an enterprise-class cloud backup service that's designed to protect an organization's hypervisors, infrastructure, databases, cloud applications and smart devices. Druva provides extensive protection across a variety of platforms, including VMware, Hyper-V, Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Salesforce, Slack, Microsoft 365, AWS databases, NAS appliances and Kubernetes.

Like most of the other cloud backup services examined here, Druva provides encryption for data at rest and in flight as well as protection against ransomware. Druva's alerting mechanism lets admins know if unusual file activities are detected.

Aside from its ability to restore data, Druva's primary strength lies in its compliance monitoring features. Druva enables administrators to actively monitor and audit end-user activity. They can establish policies and create reports detailing violations as they relate to file and email usage.

Druva enables admins to restore data to any location. The company provides point-in-time recovery, bulk restoration, file- and folder-level recovery, and granular recovery of individual items such as email messages. Admins can use Druva's API to script recovery operations.

Druva offers four pricing plan categories. The Data Center plan charges per terabyte, per month. The company also offers a SaaS Applications plan and an Endpoints plan that charge per user, per month. The AWS infrastructure plan bills on a per-server, per-month basis.

Druva provides extensive support documentation and a support portal. Community support and live support by phone or chat is also available. Additionally, Druva offers consulting services and product training.

NetApp

NetApp offers enterprise-class protection for Microsoft 365 data. It protects against threats such as ransomware attacks, accidental data deletion and data corruption.

NetApp protects Microsoft 365 data with Transport Layer Security while in transit. It also uses 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard to protect each object. NetApp uses a different encryption key for each customer, so if another customer suffers a breach, the attacker won't gain access to the decryption key.

In addition to its backup capabilities, the NetApp search interface can filter data using criteria such as user, department, geographical location or group. This makes it easy for admins to find the data they need to recover. Additionally, activity tracking and audit logging features enable admins to keep track of what users are doing online. NetApp also includes features that enable admins to control where and how data is stored, so as to comply with data retention and other requirements.

NetApp's Microsoft 365 backup offering enables admins to back up data to either AWS or Microsoft Azure. It provides comprehensive protection for all key Microsoft 365 apps, including Exchange Online, OneDrive for Business, SharePoint Online, Microsoft Teams and Microsoft Groups. Admins can initiate granular restorations with a single click.

NetApp SaaS Backup for Microsoft 365 is available as a subscription. Pricing starts at $45 per user, per year and subscriptions are available for one, two, three and five years.

The NetApp support portal includes a knowledgebase, a support blog and other self-help resources. Support is also available by phone or chat.

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