Managed backup helps protect against modern-day disaster of many kinds; loss of a server, Ransomware, cyberattack. Businesses of all shapes and sizes have long looked for ways to protect their information. Back in the pre-digital age, backups were often formed by taking physical carbon copies of documents and then storing them in similarly physical files and folders. Things have moved on a little since then, of course — but innovation in the backup sphere continues to this day. While just a handful of years ago businesses were taking risky, ad-hoc approaches to backing up, which tended to revolve around unsafe USB sticks and external hard drives, there’s now a much more sophisticated solution — cloud-based managed backup. This article will explore what managed backup is and why it is so important.
The days before managed backup
The process of backing up has always been possible. These days, of course, the term ‘carbon copy’ is more associated with emails than it is with physical paper documentation — although copying email data is still a key part of many managed backup plans.
Once digitalisation became widely adopted, the next step for backing up was the floppy disk. This now-archaic media was somewhat revolutionary, as it offered a way for information to be taken from a computer and stored separately. Eventually, USB sticks and CDs became the backup methods of choice — and these days, managed backup has inherited the title of the most effective mode of data storage.
What exactly is it?
As explained above, managed backup has not exploded on to the scene out of nowhere. As a concept, backing up data has been a key strategic goal for businesses for decades, and perhaps even longer. But the nature of the threats have changed. While a fire could still tear through your office and burn up all your physical files, for example, a more salient threat is that of cyberattacks and — thanks to the ease with which items can be deleted — human error. Managed backup has emerged in recent years as a way of protecting against this kind of issue.
Put simply, managed backup is a process by which an organisation’s digital assets — such as files, folders and data from email servers and websites — can all be made recoverable by regularly duplicating it on a secure cloud in an automatic and regular way. The idea here is to reduce the chances of an organisation suffering adverse effects in the event of loss of access to its computers, servers and more. It means that the chances of the organisation being hit with claims over data breaches is lower, for example, while it also means that ‘disaster recovery’ policies can kick in more easily and prevent financial loss.
Security tends to be the primary reason why managed backup is sought. Cloud-based managed backup services tend to add an extra layer to your backup. By going beyond the traditional solutions of password protection and locked filing cabinets, it’s possible to ensure that your materials are as safe as possible. Hard drives and other physical backup destinations cannot be protected by tools such as two-factor authentication — whereas logging into a cloud-based managed backup destination can be. While there have been a number of famous cloud hacks in recent years, the reality is that security is key for managed backup companies. Many different security techniques now exist, and it’s not uncommon to find that backed up data in the cloud is more secure than physical data.
Automated, distributed storage is another key benefit of the managed backup option. Back when organisations used to backup items in one or two physical locations, such as a spare hard drive or a floppy disk, there was an additional security risk of these devices themselves being damaged and stolen. Added to this was the time cost involved in monitoring them. But backing up through the cloud reduces the chances of this causing problems as information is often stored in many different server locations and digital environments at once, so if one goes down, they won’t all go down.
Above and beyond managed backup
However, backups should never be perceived as something merely defensive. Backups are also proactive ways to bring additional, non-safety related benefits to a business. That additional value usually lies in the fact that managed backup services are cloud-based. As a result, this means that all of a firm’s information can be accessed remotely.
Say an employee in a time-sensitive role, such as public relations, was required to do something urgently on a weekend or a public holiday. In the days when all backups were not remotely accessible and were instead just in one physical place, this would have required a time delay for the employee to travel in urgently to get the resources they needed. Now, though, it means that the employee can pick up the job from wherever they are — which for the employer means a faster response to the urgent task, plus less overtime or time-off-in-lieu to pay.
In recent years, managed backup has become the new word on the lips of operations managers and IT professionals. It is an innovative way to ensure that businesses can experience continuity, protect their valuable data and ensure that they are able to recover the information they need, in the event that they lose access to their systems. As this article has shown, managed backup is not just about the security of data. It is also a way to help organisations achieve the benefits of remote access and more flexible working — making this form of data archiving a real win-win situation.