Local vs Cloud Backup: Which is Best?
Accidents happen. And so do disasters – your business can mitigate these with a solid backup and BCDR (business continuity and disaster recovery) strategy.
With the threat landscape expanding every day, data losses can occur at any point and take many forms:
- Cyber attack – Phishing and ransomware are the most common threats, offering low risk and the promise of high rewards for a successful campaign.
- Natural disaster – If you suffer an office fire or a burst water mains, for example, the disruption could be costly and damaging.
- Unplanned IT outage – Your IT systems may fail unexpectedly, bringing productivity to a halt and trapping your data on broken hardware.
- Utility outage – If your business suffers a power cut, or if the internet goes down, you need a solution that safeguards your data.
- Burglary or vandalism – On-site data is at risk of burglary or vandalism. There is also the risk that a laptop may get stolen whilst working in a public place.
- Employee error – It’s possible that an employee could delete an essential file or lose company hardware (laptop or USB stick) by accident.
Therefore, you need a clear backup and business continuity strategy in order to mitigate these threats.
Any of these disasters can have severe consequences for businesses, damaging productivity, reputation, and profit.
For example, GDPR punishes personal data loss with fines of up to 4% of annual turnover or 20,000,000 euros (whichever is largest).
Even just an hour of downtime could cost thousands of pounds. and with 90% of businesses without a BCDR plan failing, now is the time to act.
The best backup solution for your business
Historically, companies have used backup tapes, which require a significant amount of manual input. This no longer needs to be the case – many solutions now offer automated backup.
You also have choices in the way your business deploys its backup solution:
Local backup – for those who want direct, physical access to their data;
Cloud backup – for convenience and scalable storage; and
Hybrid backup – which consists of a combination of the two.
Local backup solutions are numerous and offer great choice. Whether it’s a USB thumb drive, an external hard drive, LAN storage on a separate computer or server, or the ever-reliable tape storage – local backup gives you direct control over the locality of your backup business data.
|Direct control and immediate access to your data.||Some malware attacks travel through your devices and networks, leaving LAN storage vulnerable.|
|USB and external storage solutions are comparatively cheap options.||Local storage solutions that rely on a power source can be nullified by a power cut.|
|USB and external storage solutions offer portability – allowing you to take your backups off-site for extra security.||USB and external hard drives are compact and can be lost.|
|No internet connection required to access your data.||Local storage is not as scalable as cloud storage.|
|Local hard drive solutions are easy to install and maintain.||A wireless network drive can be expensive.|
|Enormous storage options – tape backup can offer as much as 330TB worth of storage (For context, almost 650 of the new iPhone XS!).||A key reason for backup is human error – but if you still rely on manual backup, human error could still cost you.|
Cloud storage is a fantastic option for convenient, automated backup with expandable storage when you need it. The cloud offers peace of mind when it comes to on-site disasters such as an office fire, a utility outage, or vandalism.
|More efficient way of managing data – automatic backups mean there is no need to back up manually at the end of the day.||Third party cloud storage solution allows for no direct control over your storage. If your provider suffers downtime or a cyber attack, you cannot back up your information.|
|Regular backups intervals ensure that your business is far less likely to lose data.||Due to broadband dependency, if your internet goes down, you cannot retrieve your backups.|
|Scales with your business – you only use as much (or as little) as your business requires. Easily expandable, this means that you only pay for what you use.||Regular cloud backups can cause slowdown to IT systems if you lack sufficient bandwidth.|
|No on-site maintenance. This eliminates the need for upkeep of on-site storage, allowing your staff to continue working.||Migrating to the cloud from an existing backup solution is a big job – your IT team or MSP must have experience in managing a migration for a successful transition.|
|Monthly payment allows for more managed budgeting of IT – no on-site server means no risk of surprise costs due to hardware failure.||Moving from one cloud provider to another can be difficult – be aware of provider dependency and read your terms and conditions.|
|Vaulted away in a secure data centre, your data is fully protected against any on-site disasters.||Unless stipulated in your contract, your cloud vendor can alter their prices – if you are on a large plan, this could affect your budgeting overnight.|
A hybrid backup offers you the best of both solutions and is a great option for businesses that want to diversify their business continuity strategy. You can deploy both local and cloud backup for extra security, or use a combination based on the type of information your business hosts.
Consider the following:
If your business deals in highly confidential data (banking, central government, amongst others) you may be compelled under data privacy laws to store certain data locally.
Conversely, less sensitive data that is used on a day-to-day basis and benefits from easy access could be stored in the cloud.
Ideally, your business should take a hybrid approach and utilise the benefits of both local and cloud backup.
For example the 3-2-1 backup strategy, is an industry best practice, is based on the following principles:
Separate copies of your data
In at least two different locations
With at least one copy stored offsite
The reasoning behind this method is that it protects your data from virtually all eventualities.
If your site is vandalised, burgled, or suffers a natural disaster then you can rely on an off-site copy of your data from encrypted expandable memory (USB) or the cloud.
If your cloud services goes down, you still have the local and encrypted USB copies of your data.
If you lose your USB stick, then you still have access to the local and cloud versions of your data.
As we have discussed, there are multiple options when it comes to securing your data. Neuways recommends a hybrid approach, but we also appreciate that there is not a one-size-fits-all answer.