The business benefits of cloud-to-cloud backups
While people are beginning to return to their places of work following the protracted lockdowns caused by COVID-19, it's clear that things have changed.
Many staff will remain in work-from-home mode permanently, while others have adopted a hybrid strategy that involves working from the office part of the time and from home for the remainder. This is an approach that is likely to be followed for many months to come.
As a result, staff have become heavily reliant on collaboration tools to keep the wheels of business turning. Usage of platforms such as Microsoft Office 365 and Teams has exploded as staff look for ways to interact and share materials regardless of their physical location.
Such collaboration is a vital part of efficient teamwork. When it's no longer possible to wander down a hallway to consult a co-worker, working on items in a digital environment is essential.
The impact on data
One of the side effects of this rapid increase in usage of collaboration tools is a dramatic increase in the volume of business data being stored in the cloud. Where once business documents and data would have been accessed from an on-premise server, it's highly likely that it is now sitting on a platform such as Azure or AWS.
This change shifts the goalposts for IT security teams tasked with protecting this data. Instead of relying on firewalls and other protective measures, they must look at different ways of keeping this vital data protected.
It is not sufficient to rely on the platform providers to ensure effective data security. Indeed, Microsoft itself recommends that users of Azure look to third-party security vendors to deliver the required protection.
One approach that is gaining increasing attention is the idea of protecting cloud-based data stores by undertaking regular cloud-to-cloud backups. In this way, vital data is available on multiple platforms, thus protecting businesses should they suffer an outage or loss.
Modern cloud-to-cloud backup services can be configured without the need for any additional hardware or software within the business itself. All traffic and backup schedules are handled automatically in the background, with no impact on the users themselves.
Such backups can be managed in several different ways. One is to back up to the same cloud provider but to resources that are running in a different geographic location. For example, an Australian-based business may have data running on Azure in Australia while also backing up to the Azure cloud in the United States.
However, according to The State of Office 365 Backup research commissioned by Barracuda, 67% of Australian enterprises are concerned about data being backed up outside their geography. 69% are concerned about compliance with data privacy requirements.
Another option would be to back up to a different cloud provider altogether. Data stored on Azure in Australia could be backed up to the AWS cloud or another preferred provider.
As well as offering enhanced protection, having such backups means data can be quickly restored should a loss occur. Consequently, business activity can continue with little or no disruption.
Cloud-to-cloud backups also give businesses alternatives if they fall victim to a ransomware attack. Indeed, according to The State of Office 365 Backup research, 68% of Australian respondents are concerned that their Office 365 data could be the target of ransomware, while 46% of Australian respondents say their organisation has already experienced a ransomware attack.
Cyber-criminals are increasingly targeting data backups to cause maximum disruption. However, if data is backed up to multiple locations, businesses can restore systems and avoid paying ransoms.
Remote and hybrid working is likely to be a part of most business operations for a long time to come. As a result, reliance on cloud-based collaboration and communications platforms will continue to increase.
By taking the time to review how data is being stored and protected, and investigating the potential of strategies such as cloud-to-cloud backup, organisations can make the best use of these tools while maintaining effective data security.