Aspects to Be Considered for Remote Data Backups

By CIOReview | Monday, September 12, 2016

Backing up of data is an essential part of every organization that helps in recovering crucial data. It also helps in adhering to the rules and specifies conditions of retention, integrity, and e-discovery. Remote data backup model such as cloud service has been the primary option for many administrators in backing up their data. Remote data backup not only helps in archiving or copying data of remote and branch offices (ROBOs) but also allows storing the data securely and in more numbers that aids to save storage space. However, managing remote data poses unique challenges such as implementation and maintenance of remote servers, computing platforms, variability of networks, lack of trained IT staff at remote locations and other consequences.

Backing up, archiving, and recovery of data make up an absolute mission-critical set of IT tasks that call for excellent designing and execution. Though IT administrators take full responsibility of managing data backup and data transfer, it is not adequately covered to serve the purpose in all cases.

Some of the key considerations and choices available to manage the remote and branch offices data are as follows:

Security and Data Integrity

The security of data is always a major concern for IT administrators and organizations, when the data backups are carried out through networks—particularly, in remote locations where there are lesser IT controls. In order to reduce this risk, any remote data integration should authenticate sending and receiving nodes prior to transferring any data and encrypt data in the course of transmission. While it is important to secure data, it is equally important to maintain the same amount of data integrity during retrieval as well. It is recommended to prefer best-in-class disk-to-disk backup technologies for 100 percent data accuracy.

Automate the Remote Process and Application Interfacing

Monitoring is a key factor to minimize or eliminate the risk of data integrity and security. However, manual monitoring might not always help reduce the risk of failure, instead automate the remote backup process and interface with remote applications to access the data. For instance, when backing up applications like SQL or Exchange Server, it is recommended to use native backup procedures so that the solution leveraged for remote back is capable of integrating with the app to invoke the native backup package as a part of backup process.

Heterogeneous System Support

When a company has many remote offices, it is a usual situation where each remote office follows a different procedure/application to back up data as per the business requirement at that location. By choosing a single solution that can work in heterogeneous environment, a lot of effort and costs can be saved while also keeping the workflow simpler.

Point-In-Time vs. Continuous Replication

An automated system with a continuous replication feature constantly monitors a file system, grasps changes in it and replicates them instantly or caches it for bulk transfer after a certain amount of data is accumulated. Such a mechanism is suitable in a small to medium business setup. Continuous replication protects from device failure. Whereas, Point-in-time replication products are suitable for periodic processes of backup and archive and are network efficient. It is a great way to avoid data loss due to accidental deletion and from files getting corrupted from threats such as viruses and malware.

Choices Available for Remote Data Backup

Local Backups

It is a legacy method that involves backing up every day and weekly on tapes. These tapes are left on floor or sometimes sent to other location for disaster protection. This method is unsecure and unsafe because of manual processes.

Backing up to the Main Datacenter via WAN

It requires internet to move data from office location to main data center. Local copy may or may not exist. WAN optimization products offer data de-duplication features with traffic prioritization, caching, and compression techniques to reduce data load. If restoring data seems to be a costly affair, data can be locally stored on disks in addition to WAN usage. While choosing WAN storage, it is efficient to send snapshots of data on wire so that lighter data is transferred.  Also, look for features that enable available use of bandwidth such as bandwidth scheduling and throttling, byte-level differential data transfer, and multi-streaming and compression to manage the remote locations effectively.

Centralized Backup Implementation

Centralized backup allows remote management from main center and requires good bandwidth of internet to connect to remote office. It helps to cut down volume of data transfer with data de-duplication. For an effective remote data backup, enterprise should look for a centralized approach which reduces the burden of managing data individually at each remote site.

Backing Up to the Cloud

Cloud backup is just another data target. Here, it is advised to retain most recent data locally and send the remaining to cloud, as it takes longer to restore from cloud. Big organizations can also leverage Amazon S3 as an option of contracting raw cloud space in for backup.