There is a pervasive uncertainty about digital life. Data can be accidentally deleted; destroyed by virus attacks; storage devices can be lost, stolen or destroyed by natural calamities or cyber attacks can compromise digital information. It is no wonder that CIOs and IT Administrators are paranoid about data backups! It is their job that is on the firing line, the moment enterprise data is lost of compromised in any way.
Unfortunately, top managements are not very sympathetic. They tend to de-prioritize backup the moment purse strings tighten or a recession begins to chew into the bottom line. The CIO’s pleadings fall on deaf ears. They are directed to recycle the tapes or find alternate means of backing up the enterprise information and ensuring its retrieve-ability in the event of man-made or natural disasters.
Fortunately, the environment is changing. The backup budget does not pinch into the business budget as in the past. The reason: Storage has become cheaper and the cloud has accelerated this trend. Elaborate investments in hardware for backup, is no longer an issue as no capital investments are required to be made. Backup has been transformed into a utility that can be purchased on the fly. The quantities of hardware/software/services utilized can be paid for on usage basis, just like electricity. Service level agreements promise 99.9% uptime and all responsibilities for the maintenance and security for data store is abstracted to the cloud service provider. Redundant storage of data; high availability of data and data recovery in disaster situations are guarantees that are given and fulfilled by the cloud backup service selected.
But, is cloud service a panacea for backup ills? Some would say yes and others would beg to differ. The advocates of the cloud point out that cloud backups are ideal for the following reasons:
1. Cloud backup takes data offsite immediately
2. The cloud saves on costs of vaulting/securing of tapes and storage media
3. The cloud saves costs of transportation of tapes to and fro from the data vault
4. Cloud backups use latest storage technologies to ensure optimization of resources
5. Cloud backups come with guarantees of 99.9% uptime
6. Encryption, de-duplication and compression technologies integral to cloud storage ensure security of data and optimization of stored information
Those who are skeptical of the cloud and what it has to offer would point out that the cloud has several disadvantages. But the increasing numbers of cloud users must give them pause. The benefits obviously outweigh the disadvantages. The cloud is here to stay!