The more we move to the cloud, the more we are getting used to the fact that the cloud providers relieve us of many responsibilities. Such an approach has its pros and cons. A cloud provider is certainly able and willing to provide many services that would otherwise consume your IT resources. However, if you leave everything up to your cloud provider, no matter how reliable they are, you are greatly increasing business risks in case something goes wrong.
Many owners of SaaS applications assume that backup services offered by cloud providers are enough. However, this approach can lead to major problems. Backup is like an opinion – you should always have your own.
Reason 1. During disaster recovery, you need to be in control
The biggest problem with backup handled by your cloud services provider is that you are not in control when you need recovery. For example, imagine that a major natural disaster affects your cloud provider and some or all of your data in the cloud is lost. While your cloud provider will probably have an off-site backup, they will have thousands of other customers to serve at the same time. Who knows how far in the queue you are going to be?
If you have your own backup, it is only up to you how fast your business can be back to normal in case of any disaster or attack. If your business is highly critical, you may even have a secondary on-site or off-site location to switch to in case your primary one goes down and then you may use your own backup data to quickly activate the secondary site.
If you want to maintain business continuity, you must be the one in control. There is nothing more frustrating than seeing that you are losing your money by the minute and you can’t do anything about it but wait for a third party to resolve your problems.
Reason 2. You can’t move or reuse your backup data
When your SaaS provider backs up your data, that backup can only be managed with the help of that particular provider. On the other hand, if you use your own backup solution, you have complete freedom about what to do with the backup data. And, in some cases, this actually may make a huge difference.
For example, if you want to move your services from one SaaS provider to the other, all the old backups will be left with the old provider. After the move, you won’t be able, for example, to restore data from a year ago. If you use more than one SaaS provider and juggle your data and applications between them, that makes it even more of a problem because the backup data could change dynamically and future restores may be difficult and chaotic.
Last but not least, you may want to use your backup data to restore to other environments. For example, if you need a staging/test environment based on your current production environment, the easiest solution is to make a backup of your production environment and then restore that backup to staging. That would not be possible unless both environments are managed by the same SaaS provider.
Reason 3. You can’t be certain that your backup is secure
Your backup contains exactly the same confidential/sensitive information that you store in your live web application. Your SaaS provider probably only offers basic data safety measures like a simple web application firewall. The rest of security is in your hands (or in the hands of third parties such as MSSPs) – this includes regular vulnerability scanning, vulnerability assessment and management, etc. You can therefore be sure that your web application is well protected against malicious attacks. But can you say the same about your backup data?
Since in the case of a cloud-based provider you most probably have no direct access to the backup data, you don’t know how it is stored and protected against unauthorised access. If you’re in control of your own backups, you can make sure that they are just as well protected as your live data. On the other hand, when you select your own backup solution, even one managed by a third party, you can select one where you know much more about the security of your backup data.
Reason 4. The retention may be insufficient
It is very unlikely that typical SaaS host backup offerings will let you retain backups from a long time ago. However, it may be necessary for your business, for both compliance and operational reasons, to have access to backups from even several years ago. A SaaS host is unlikely to offer you such capabilities simply because most customers would not need them – and if you go for a custom retention period, the price may turn out to be far from cost-effective.
If you additionally introduce your own backup solutions, the only limit on retention is the amount of storage, which you can control on your own. You may also vary the backup by keeping the more recent data at an easily accessible location for immediate disaster recovery, and archive backups in an offline location, accessed only when needed for reasons other than disaster recovery.
Reason 5. Your backup plan may not be cost-effective in the long term
The biggest advantage of SaaS hosts is that your costs are proportional to the scope of their services. That means that if you have typical requirements, also in the case of backups, you are likely to spend less than you would for your own backup solutions and personnel to handle them. However, the moment that your requirements change, for example with the growth of your business, you may notice that to meet those requirements you have to spend a lot more, on a regular basis, than you would if you handled backups on your own.
If you expect your business to grow, you have to look into the future and predict what will happen when your applications multiply and your data grows significantly. Of course, you may want to switch or expand to your own backup solution then but you must remember that the bigger the amount of data and the more complex situation, the more work you will need to change or introduce your backup policy. It will be much more efficient if your backups grow together with your live data, at the same time providing you with all the benefits mentioned in the previous four reasons.
How can BMIT Technologies help?
Every client we work with requires different solutions. So, we tackle each need with our expertise in technology, business strategy and innovation.
We propose and develop intelligent, secure infrastructure solutions, help build your internal capabilities and identify opportunities to enhance your business potential through the application of innovative technologies. This ensures a greater level of business management and progression.
Want to learn more about backups? Contact us and one of our experts will reach out and guide you accordingly!