I’d like to start with a consideration. The recent news about the OVH Cloud Datacenter fire disaster has certainly put the spotlight on the issue of data backup and storage and called attention to an argument that is always very hot and interesting in the IT world: the choice of storing data and keeping it backed up locally or in the cloud. Well, what happened in Strasbourg is something very rare considering all the protection and security systems installed in a data center, from fire prevention installations to the most advanced cooling systems to avoid excessive overheating of machines. But still, it happened. And people started to wonder if it is actually worth having their data and backup on the Cloud rather than on local systems. Kind of like keeping your money in your mattress rather than in the bank.
With this article, we want to give you an overview of local and cloud backup, with some thoughts about the Pros and Cons of both solutions. In addition, we will give some suggestions about tools and solutions you can use to secure your data through strong backups.
Let’s start with Local backup, a simple and well-known way to do it. Normally when you hear the word backup, your mind immediately goes to think about physical support, external to your PC, where to copy data. And in this perspective, the basic tool is represented by a USB key or more likely an external hard disk. But if you prefer more professional solutions, here come into the game NAS systems or dedicated servers (or virtual machines). In any case, backup is usually managed by dedicated software (In any organization, it is definitely not logical or recommended to perform backup operations by hand).
As described it seems the simplest, most logical, and most practical solution to secure your data by making one or more copies. But let’s try to understand the advantages and disadvantages of this kind of solution, considering some primary aspects like Speed, Data access, Data Security, and Costs.
- Speed – A local backup is fast since it can be done offline. Data are transferred locally from one disk to another.
- Data Access – You can easily access and manage your data since they are locally stored within your company
- Data Security – Data is protected from malware and third-party intrusions since you can directly manage security inside your company
- Data Access – It’s more difficult to access data from outside your company
- Storage – The amount of data you can backup locally is limited to the size of the physical disks available, without having the possibility to expand them, if not replacing them with larger media (and thus having to relocate the backup) or adding new ones
- Data Security – You must pay attention to the maintenance of the devices and to where they are located, to avoid data loss in case of disk failure or disasters such as a fire in the room
- Costs – Local backup is not so cheaper, because it requires high maintenance costs, and also you need to upgrade your hardware during time
In recent years, the possibility of backup and storage of your data in the cloud, through services such as Amazon S3, Google Cloud, or Microsoft Azure, has started to increase in popularity. But how it works?
The idea is very simple. Unlike local backup, cloud backup is done on remote media, available through the network, and managed by external companies. This in turn has advantages and disadvantages that we’re going to analyze together and led to an initial diffidence that still has not completely disappeared. This is mainly due to the fact that you don’t have the data on your own tangible medium that you can physically control and manage within your organization.
But, let’s see together the Pros and Cons of Cloud Backup:
- Data Access – You can easily access the data at any time even outside your organization, from any system, including mobile, as long as it has an internet connection.
- Data Security – Cloud storage stores data away from the reach of natural calamities that may destroy your data. In addition, storing data in an online backup can assure your data safety and allows for quick recovery of businesses in case of attack.
- Storage – The amount of space is potentially unlimited since you can choose between different plans and disk space amounts, and upgrade them anytime you want.
- Costs – Initial costs are very low since you can usually start even with free plans and you don’t have to take care of maintenance costs.
- Speed – Cloud backup is for sure more time-consuming than a local one, because it depends on your internet speed for uploading, managing, and using data.
- Data Security – You can still be vulnerable to external intrusions or attacks and you can’t manage all the security directly by yourself since a part is managed by a third-party company. However, attention to this aspect is steadily increasing and more effective security measures are being implemented.
- Costs – Even if initial costs are very low, when you are going to upgrade plans or disk space you will have to pay more.
Which One to Choose?
At this point clearly, the final question is what is the best choice. It may seem obvious, but our recommendation is a mixed solution.
Using both together, you can gain the faster backup capability and greater control offered by local storage, as well as the flexibility and stronger protection against physical disasters that come with cloud backups. With a hybrid approach, you’ll be protected from almost any kind of incident, and it also can provide you with a flexible, cost-effective, and secure backup strategy.
Zextras Backup Solutions
Zextras offers a wide range of solutions through its backup system, letting you choose where to store data (mail, accounts, attachments of any kind … ), both locally and in the cloud, and giving you strong tools to recover your data in case of incidents and disasters.
If you want to learn more, I suggest you read our blog article about Zextras Backup, where you can better understand how it works, the different possibilities, and the advantages you can have using them.
If you want to try Zextras Solutions, you can start your Zextras Suite 30 days trial today!