December 06, 2022

Protecting Data in a Cloud World: Will Backup as a Service be what Keeps Your Business Online Through a Crisis?

Joel Neff
Azure Solution Specialist
Very few organisations could run in a technology-free environment, so naturally, strong IT departments put considerable effort into business continuity planning. The impacts, of course, would vary according to the organisation – we’d expect an online retailer or a hospital to feel the hit almost immediately, while a dairy farm might continue operations considerably longer before the disruption became a threat.

We discussed the importance of protecting and recovering your data in our first two blogs in this series, along with the advantages of Azure Backup and Azure Site Recovery. This is still a highly challenging scenario for most organisations. Given backups are the fall-back position when other security measures are breached, it has never been more important to get this right.

Challenge 1: Resources

Anyone who has tried recruiting or retaining skilled technologists recently will know just how cut-throat the situation has become. Many businesses have reported skilled staff being lured away, without so much as an interview or reference checks, by salary offers they just cannot match.

While a shortage exists in almost every tech role, cybersecurity professionals are in especially high demand, with an estimated growth of 65% needed in the workforce to match projected need*. This shortage is seen as a contributing factor in 80% of security breaches*. It is hard to spare valuable skilled resources to focus on the day to day needs of a strong backup and recovery program.

Challenge 2: Data Sovereignty

When resources are in short supply, the modern approach is to seek an ‘as a Service option. While Backup as a Service (BaaS) provides expertise and resources, it has often been discounted as an option by organisations that must observe legislated or industry data sovereignty requirements. BaaS has typically required that data reside outside the direct environment of the organisation. This has been a roadblock, in particular for government, financial and other industries with stringent rules around data.

Challenge 3: Compliance Requirements

Many organisations need to meet specific compliance requirements around how data is protected, stored and accessed. An example here is the standards around long-term data retention in Government, with the Public Records Office of Victoria identifying data sets that may be required for up to 75 years or even longer. Maintaining backups of this data in a format that can be accessible for that duration, without becoming obsolete, is challenging and may not be possible with out of the box or native cloud solutions.

Challenge 4: Managing Cloud Spend

A comprehensive backup strategy is often out of reach for organisations unable to maintain an off-site repository, or the bandwidth to manage, optimise and test data backups. Cloud backup can solve some of the challenges, but we are seeing many organisations experiencing higher than expected costs. This is especially common where a transition to cloud has been in the form of a rapid ‘lift and shift’ during the COVID-19 era, or where the IT skills shortage is impacting the organisation. With staffing costs already increasing, the last thing any IT leader needs is exploding cloud costs to make matters worse.

Data#3’s Azure BaaS Solution

The important thing to know is that these challenges are not insurmountable. After all, technology professionals are adept at solving such thorny issues, and cloud backups are no exception.

Data#3’s Azure BaaS is a managed service that uses our expertise and scale to protect our customers’ Azure workloads, with Data#3 hosting the control plane combined with Azure Lighthouse to ensure backup data remains within the customers’ own tenancy to meet sovereignty requirements. Each organisation can keep the chain of custody within their own environment, with the data always staying in their IT eco-system.

One of the important elements of Data#3 Azure BaaS is the clever use of Veeam technology to gain far better de-duplication and compression than would ordinarily be achievable from native Azure Backup. In an organisation with 100+ VMs, typically we see storage volume cut by 50%-70%. Lower volume equals lower storage costs.

The big driver we are seeing for Azure BaaS, though, is time and focus. While most backup tasks could feasibly be managed in-house, the question is whether that is the best use of available skilled resources. The time is very often better spent elsewhere, without the distraction of, say, testing backups. In today’s heightened cyberthreat risk, it is critical that backup practices stay on the to-do list amidst the pressure of other projects. Backup as a Service gives you access to a team of technical experts to help you with planning and design, through implementation and setup, and then the ongoing management and monitoring, without taking your IT team away from their priority tasks.

Is it time to re-examine your data protection?

Azure Backup and Site Recovery are a big step in the right direction when it comes to protecting your vital information assets, and for those without plentiful skilled resources, Data#3’s Azure BaaS helps to establish and manage it all at scale, while preventing cost blow-outs. Want to learn more about safe, effective backup and recovery without the headaches? Chat with our friendly Azure BaaS specialists today.

*Fortinet Trends (2022) Thinking Outside the Box to Fill the Skills Gap