Most of us are aware of the growing importance of data for today’s information-driven businesses and organizations. Data has become the fuel for growth as it provides insights into the market and emerging commercial opportunities. As data becomes more and more critical to your business strategy and operations, the need to protect and ensure ongoing access to your data has become essential.

Backup-as-a-Service (BaaS) and Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS) are key cloud-based technologies for ensuring that data is backed up and recoverable in case of a planned or unplanned disruption. However, most cloud service providers deliver their backup and recovery services over the public internet, where data breaches are not uncommon and bandwidth levels are not reliable. Your backup and disaster recovery services are only as dependable as the underlying networks that connect them to the cloud. Operating your critical data protection services on the internet may expose your valuable data to risk of loss and open your business to the potential for unacceptable levels of downtime.

Private dedicated networks offer higher bandwidth, more secure connectivity for transporting data between data centers and cloud-based services, providing a more trustworthy and resilient alternative to the internet for transmitting critical data.

A Brief Introduction to Backup and Disaster Recovery Services

Ransomware attacks, security breaches, natural disasters and human error can all play a role in jeopardizing the availability of your data and IT resources. Understanding the basics of backup and disaster recovery services is critical for developing effective strategies to limit the impact of data loss and unplanned downtime on your business.

First of all, backup and disaster recovery services are not the same thing. Backup refers to the process of making a copy of data to protect it. Restoring a file from a backup of a copy may be necessary due to database corruption, an accidental deletion of data, or problem with a software upgrade.

On the other hand, disaster recovery is a strategy and set of processes that allow businesses to quickly reestablish access to applications, data, and IT resources after an outage. Disaster recovery services usually offer the option of switching over to cloud-based replicated servers to operate critical functions at your onsite location or disaster recovery location until the primary datacenter is back online.

Two key parameters are used to customize BaaS and DRaas solutions. Recovery time objective (RTO) is the amount of time it takes to recover normal business operations after an outage, based on the amount of downtime a business can tolerate. RTO will be different for various kinds of businesses. For a high-volume online retailer, being offline five minutes can represent thousands of dollars in lost revenue, while other business operations (such as HR) could be offline for hours without a negative economic impact. Recovery point objective (RPO) refers to the amount of data you can acceptably afford to lose in a disaster, and is often a measure of the frequency of backups. A business might decide that any data loss is unacceptable and adopt an RPO strategy of continuously copying data in real time to a remote data center, though this option would come at a high cost. A different business might decide that losing 15 minutes or one hour of data would be acceptable, which would make this disaster recovery plan less expensive.

In other words, RTO determines how long your organization can experience downtime, while RPO determines how much data can be lost.

Fast, secure bandwidth is at the heart of data protection services

Though these rather abstract business considerations help determine the parameters of a data protection strategy, the success of any BaaS or DRaaS solution is rooted in the fundamentals of network connectivity: secure, fast bandwidth to ensure that your data is reliably traveling from point A to point B. And in the case of a data recovery, back to point A again.

The majority of BaaS and DRaaS providers rely on the public internet for connectivity. While the internet is much more secure that it was in the past, it still can be hacked, and any confidential or protected data in transit to the cloud or back will require encryption, which adds overhead and increases latency.

However, as anyone who has used online video conferencing apps for work or school can attest, one of the biggest challenges of the public internet is inconsistent, unreliable bandwidth. It may not seem like a big deal if a video transmission freezes during a work meeting, but if you’re depending on the internet to transmit full datasets for replication in a BaaS or DRaaS cloud, these stalls in transmission can have critical impacts on the integrity of data preserved.

Today’s backups may involve transmitting multiple terabytes of data to the cloud for replication and in most cases, customers just have to trust that their all of their data successfully made the journey. But with the internet’s intermittent bandwidth, a full backup may not have completed in the allocated time. In these cases, when customers need to restore their data from the cloud, they may find that the integrity of the replicated data is poor, because not all of the data made it to the backup destination.

It’s critical to have a reliable, high bandwidth means of transport when doing backups, and even more so when doing data recoveries with aggressive RTOs and RPOs. It can take days to do a full recovery from a cloud backup service, and every hour of downtime is an hour of lost business.

For critical backup and disaster recovery services, dedicated private networks offer far more secure, high bandwidth connectivity to help ensure the speed and integrity of data recovery solutions. For organizations that handle sensitive data or that are subject to data privacy regulations, a dedicated private network has become a much more secure option for connecting to cloud services such as BaaS and DRaaS. A private network is completely isolated from the public internet. Data that moves across a dedicated private network is not accessible to anyone outside the private network while in transit, and therefore doesn’t require encryption to be secured. In addition to enhanced security, private networks also offer faster, more reliable connectivity than the public internet, with the resiliency necessary to ensure data integrity and the speed to meet demanding RTOs and RPOs.

Independent fiber network companies offer private network connectivity to securely link your business to the public cloud, as well as its own proven Baas and DRaaS solutions. With a dedicated private network at the heart of your data protection strategy, you can be confident that your data is safeguarded from planned or unplanned disruptions and won’t be compromised by the vagaries of the public internet.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Robert Davies

Robert Davies is a product manager of data center and cloud services for Segra.

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