What are remote backups?

/ Technical
July 8th, 2010

what are remote backups

A remote backup, online backup or cloud backup is where a copy of computer files or systems are stored in a secure offsite location.

In the event of an IT failure where the original data is lost, the remotely stored data can be used to return operations to normal running.

Remote backups are usually provided by a managed service provider and are most commonly sold as Backup as a Service (BaaS). Where a monthly fee is paid to store the data in the service provider’s data centre. Usually, this monthly fee will also cover the restoration of data from the backup. But often with the cheapest providers, restoring the data will cost extra and the monthly cost only covers storage.

Online backups

Online backup systems, also known as remote backup or off-site backup, do take the pain out of backups. The rise of broadband has made life easier in so many ways, the core reason is that bandwidth is now cheap. You can send your company data off-site and securely, ensuring that an IT failure will not mean you have lost your core business asset: your data.

You can backup your entire enterprise these days effectively over the internet with an online backup and off-site backup solution. It was difficult a couple of years ago. Although the bandwidth was there, the technology for transmitting that data effectively was expensive. Technology moves on and now online backup systems are cost-effective and work more efficiently over broadband connections.

How have online backups developed?

Previously, if you changed a file within your network, the whole file would have to be backed up that day. That may not seem to be too much of a problem, but it was if that file was a 5GB database and you only had a 256K upload on a 2mbps ADSL connection with contention.

With many systems now, if you change a large file then only the changes will be backed up, not the whole file. If you make a change to a file on your systems then just the change is backed up, using a technology called an in-file delta backup. You can look at as if you had a 1000 page word document which you just add one word to. In the past, the whole file would have to be backed up again after you added that word. This is not the case now and only the one word would be sent over the internet. This obviously saves valuable bandwidth, i.e. does not congest your network connection. It also decreases your backup window (the time spent backing up your data)

If you back up your whole system over the internet using a remote backup system then you have peace of mind. If you have a limited budget you should still use a remote backup system, but only for critical data files. For example, a customer database, important email databases and customer files, etc. This will ensure that your critical data is safe. It may take longer to get your systems running again, but at least your most valuable assets will be safe.

Is my data secure?

Many people are concerned about data security, as it’s hosted outside of their company and transmitted over the internet. This is not a concern with many online backup solutions. For example, QuoStar Secure Backup is encrypted at every level, not even QuoStar can gain access to your data. You have a key which only you know. There is no way we can gain access to it, even when it is in our systems.

Online backup with a 3rd party may not suit if you are a large organisation with large volumes of data. There are many solutions and ways to protect your systems, but I’ll save that for another day. If you would like to discuss a strategy for remote backups then just call for a no-obligation chat.