Cloud computing saved the day in 2020 when millions of businesses worldwide sent employees home to work en masse. The cloud allowed IT teams to adapt to the rapidly changing work environment by setting up employees with remote access to the company network, moving collaboration and productivity tools off the local infrastructure, and scaling server capacity to accommodate fluctuations in demand.
Cloud backup proved to be particularly invaluable as the number of phishing and other cyberattacks increased during the pandemic, and IT teams struggled to secure a fully remote workforce with no time to prepare the necessary infrastructure. Businesses quickly realized the benefit of securing their data backups to be out of harm’s way and easily accessible if needed for data restoration.
Many organizations developed a newfound appreciation for their disaster recovery plans in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, and cloud backup plays an integral role in that plan.
Backups aren’t effective for disaster recovery on their own. Still, when you combine data protection, cybersecurity, and automated backups into a unified solution, your organization benefits from multi-layer defense and orchestrated recovery capabilities.
Why Cloud Backup Is a Better Fit for Today’s Business Environment
The world is changing rapidly, especially when it comes to technology. We are experiencing a global data explosion, record numbers of cyberattacks, and changes to IT infrastructure that revolutionize workloads and make it almost impossible to secure our perimeters.
Cloud backup has an advantage over traditional backup approaches in our modern IT environments. Here are six common challenges IT teams face today and how cloud backup plays an important role in each:
1. Infrastructure Complexity
Today’s IT infrastructures are notoriously complex. It is not uncommon for an IT team to juggle disparate solutions for servers, storage, networking and multiple cloud environments — public, private and hybrid — and on- and off-premises workloads.
When there are this many moving parts, each with its own vendor, management interface and monitoring tools, IT team members can’t have full visibility into every system’s performance and security.
Cloud backup simplifies some of this complexity by automating the backup process so IT staff can focus on other functions. When cloud backup is included as part of a cloud-based disaster recovery strategy, IT teams get the added reassurance of orchestrated recovery, so SLAs, RTOs, and RPOs are met with minimal IT involvement.
2. Natural Disasters
When a natural disaster strikes your region, there is no safer place for your backups than in the cloud. Unlike traditional servers, cloud servers divide and distribute your data across multiple locations, so localized threats such as fire, tornadoes, and hurricanes can’t wipe out your backups.
Another major benefit is that cloud environments are accessible from any location with an internet connection. This allows authorized IT or disaster recovery team members to initiate the recovery process even if the office is inaccessible or key IT staff members are incapacitated and unable to manage backups.
3. Health Crisis
Before 2020, it was hard to imagine how quickly a worldwide health crisis could affect business operations. Today, we’re applying lessons we’ve learned and are moving a lot of infrastructures, including storage and backups, to the cloud.
The pandemic shined a light on one critical oversight in many organizations’ business continuity and disaster recovery plans: There was no contingency for quickly switching to 100% virtual operations.
For some businesses, going virtual was the only way they could keep generating revenue. Proactively adopting cloud services, such as backup and orchestrated recovery, would have made the process much easier and far more secure.
4. Remote Workplaces
Although some businesses are bringing staff back on-site, many organizations will continue a remote or hybrid work environment indefinitely, significantly expanding the business’s attack surface.
Cloud backup provides the scalable, flexible backup and security solutions required to accommodate many remote endpoints with no additional hardware to purchase, install and maintain.
Many remote workplaces rely on software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions, such as Office 365, to support employee productivity and collaboration. SaaS providers, including Microsoft, often employ a shared responsibility model when it comes to data protection. If you want peace of mind that your Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, and OneDrive for Business files and data are secure and recoverable, cloud backup is the way to go.
Ransomware attacks are becoming more frequent, more destructive and more expensive to remediate. They are also more targeted than ever before.
In the beginning, ransomware operators took a “spray and pray” approach to infiltrating networks. Today, cybercriminals zero in on specific industries, such as healthcare, that they deem likely to pay a ransom.
Some newer ransomware strains even target backup files, rendering them useless for recovery once the data is encrypted. Cloud backup can eliminate this threat by storing backups separate from the company network so hackers can’t touch them.
6. Skilled IT Worker Shortage
According to management consulting firm Korn Ferry, U.S. businesses could miss out on $162 billion in revenue annually by 2030 if there isn’t an increase in the number of skilled tech workers.
To add to the less-than-stellar employment forecast, budget cuts require many organizations to reduce their full-time IT staff until the economy recovers. Those who remain are being asked to figure out how to do more with less and still find time to innovate and keep the business competitive in the market.
For IT teams that are already stretched too thin, neither of these things is good news.
Reducing IT workloads is another area where cloud backup can help. Cloud backup services are managed by the cloud provider, not internal IT staff, which frees up in-house IT resources to work on high-value projects that drive business growth.
How to Kick-Start Your Cloud Backup and Recovery Initiative
Before you dive into a complete overhaul of your backup systems, it is important to determine whether cloud backup is the best option for your organization. For example, some highly regulated industries may need to follow compliance regulations that prohibit cloud backup.
If your organization decides to move forward, take the time to find a right-fit cloud backup and recovery solution backed by a partner you can trust.
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