Is Cloud Backup More Reliable Than On-Site Backup?


February 23, 2023

Reliability is everything! Cybersecurity measures in place by individuals, businesses, and governments are increasingly being rendered obsolete by the growing sophistication of cybercriminals. The cost of cybercrime is predicted to hit $8 trillion in 2023 and will grow to $10.5 trillion by 2025.

A quick search of the internet, and you’ll find a long, long list of similarly upsetting statistics, with equally jarring numbers. But they all add up to the same thing: Cyber thieves are more nimble and powerful than ever. They’ve gotten very adept and scraping your systems for information, and selling data sets like these on the dark web:

  • Names
  • Email addresses
  • Phone numbers
  • Driver’s licenses and government-issued photo IDs
  • Usernames and passwords
  • Social security information
  • Credit card numbers
  • Bank accounts and routing numbers
  • Healthcare information
  • Purchasing history

This sensitive information is harnessed far and wide in a domino effect of illicit activity opening the door for malware infection, ransomware attacks, network outages, and even more data loss. Since hackers will always figure out a way to gain unauthorized access, one of your best defenses (in a layered approach to cybersecurity) is to have a good backup.

The goal of this article is to give you options to achieve reliability that leverages the best of both worlds. And create more of a comfort level around the cloud.


Cloud Backup

Cloud backup is more reliable than on-site backup as long as the solution is business-class, encrypted, backed up to geographically redundant data centers, and tested daily to verify the backups are taking place. Since this method is off-site and mirrored to other sites, in other cities, the likelihood of floods, fires, theft, and other acts of God hitting each of your backup sites simultaneously is statistically impossible.

Assuming your team follows Acceptable Use Guidelines and is not backing up sensitive data to third-party cloud providers (unbeknownst to your IT department or Managed Service Provider), your risk is dramatically reduced.

I’d like to add another term to this discussion: storage. Storage and backup may seem like the boring thing, residing in the background of your organization. But it can be the key to keeping your system running quickly, efficiently, and safely. Increasingly, keeping this storage in the cloud is considered your safest option.

For example, I access files and applications that reside in the Microsoft Cloud. Both are backed up around the clock in the cloud. They have also backed up an onsite backup appliance that resides in our office. Our employees not only have the ability to access data from anywhere, and our enterprise is also disaster-proof and nearly immune to disruption.

The backup vendor landscape is loaded with best-in-class options from dozens of companies everyone has heard of or soon will.


On-site Backup

Backing up your data on-site has some advantages to cloud backup. However, the upsides do not pertain to reliability. Cloud backup requires an Internet connection and can take longer if you have a high volume of data to process or recover. Since data growth is now as certain as daily traffic congestion and robocalls, many companies enjoy the efficiency of using a network-attached storage device to back up their digital assets locally. It takes less time and decreases the likelihood you will need to upgrade your Internet connection or get another Internet connection. While bandwidth prices are coming down, it’s still not very difficult to spend $1,000.00 per month if you want an inexpensive Comcast connection paired with dedicated Fiber.

On-site backup is also a capital expense versus an operating expense. The former may be a better fit for your CFO’s style of financial management. Nonetheless, some organizations have a greater level of comfort with a piece of hardware they can see and touch.

A big weakness of pure onsite backup surfaces with regards to its physical presence in an office and its reliance on the other devices used to house backups of the backups. It’s a chain with very breakable links. Offices get broken into all the time. And tape, disks, and other appliances can be lost, destroyed, stolen, and damaged, rendering them useless in a data recovery emergency. Although rare, I still occasionally encounter companies who do on-site backups and have one of their employees bring the backup disks or tape home every night.

I suppose you could make three copies of every backup and give a copy to three different people, but that would be way more expensive than a carefully architected cloud solution and painful to manage. And it still wouldn’t match the reliability of the cloud.


The Best of Both Worlds

A hybrid approach is an optimal way to leverage performance and increase reliability. You can ditch your legacy onsite backup appliance and replace it with a smaller device that is managed by your IT department or MSP.

If you have an MSP, they can charge you a subscription fee for the appliance and configure it to work in conjunction with a cloud backup solution. This combination lowers capital expenses related to your procurement buying cycle, training, software licensure, service and maintenance, patching, and updating. You also enjoy lower operating costs and less reliance on your Internet connection during the workday.

Data is backed up locally in 15-minute increments and mirrored to SOC 2-compliant off-site locations. The backups are then verified every evening, 24/7/365. Even better, these devices give you the power to back up third-party applications like Office 365 and Salesforce and even run your entire business in their cloud if a disaster strikes your office location.

Do you have any additional questions about the most reliable backup for your organization? The Integris team has decades of experience, and we look forward to guiding you.

Jed is a Solution Advisor at Integris who has specialized in MSP solution development, sales, and marketing communications since 2003.

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