Data Backup in Cloud Computing

With Cloud becoming essential for businesses steadily, data backup in Cloud Computing is one of the biggest concerns of any customer and it’s second only to the data security in cloud-based services.

Data Backup’s are an integral part of Information Security program of a Cloud service provider. let’s understand some of the important aspects of Cloud services data backups. i.e how customer data is backed up and can be recovered when needed.

Cloud-data-backup-strategy

Types of Data Backup

There are 2 types of data backup which is required for cloud services.

Online Backup

Online Backup consists of backing up the data and application state of a primary data center on a secondary datacenter. Most Cloud services providers will have an infrastructure to serve from a primary or secondary datacenter.

The primary data center and secondary data center may not be in the same geographic location for reasons like if the primary goes down due to a geographical natural disturbance the secondary can be used to keep the services running and downtime can be avoided.

Offline Backup

Offline backups are used to store data on removable media like tape, disks, etc., and kept securely with encryption so that they can be used to recover when required.

Backup Artifacts

It is essential to understand what all data is backed up. Data backup in cloud computing for a SaaS offering or a custom application on PaaS or IaaS may include data generated from various tiers like:

  • Web Tier: This can be huge and shared with multiple tenants (Customers)
  • Application Tier: Application State and Logs
  • Database Tier: All data at rest from the application
  • Identity server Tier: Data from identity server of the user directory.

A good cloud service provider will back up data generated from each tier so that a services can be recovered with minimum data loss .

Backup Retention

Backup retention means the duration till will the backups are stored before being erased to store the fresh backup. The online backups are generally for smaller durations like a week or so and offline backups stored in removable media are kept for larger durations like months.

Handling Backup Media

Backup media are generally reused so proper procedures should be in place to monitor the health and replace them at periodic intervals. For e.g backup tapes may be replaced every 3 years and if they have been mounted a certain number of times, they should be replaced as well.

Backup Encryption

Backup Encryption is a very important aspect of cloud computing. Cloud vendors generally make sure that data that is being stored offline on disks and tapes are encrypted for obvious security reasons. The better encryption algorithm used more secure the data on the backup device will be.

Top Backup Questions to ask a Cloud Vendor

Here are some of the top queries about Data Backup in Cloud Computing which you should ask different vendors before selecting a cloud provider.

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