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Data is a key ingredient in a company’s recipe for success. It affects how they interact with customers, the systems they use to conduct business, and everything in between. As such, any company that relies heavily on data — and that’s just about all of them — should take the proper steps to ensure it stays secure. That’s easier said than done.

Unfortunately, data is constantly at risk. From cyberattacks to human errors to natural disasters, there’s no shortage of things that can permanently damage or destroy data. As bleak as this may sound, there are ways companies can safeguard their data against these threats. The most common strategies include data backups and disaster recovery plans.

Traditional data backup solutions

A backup is a physical or virtual copy of data saved on another storage device. This device can be on-premises, off-site, or online. Organizations looking to safeguard their critical data can choose between several types of backups: full, differential, and incremental. 

A full backup makes copies of an entire data set. Differential backups only make copies of changes since the last full backup. Incremental backups only update the changes made to a file since the previous incremental backup. The type of backup a company chooses will directly affect its recovery point objective (RPO) and recovery time objective (RTO). 

An RPO is the amount of data a business is willing to lose if an unexpected disaster occurs, and it’s directly affected by the frequency of backups. So, the more frequently a company backs up its data, the less data it’s likely to lose.

An RTO is the time it takes to restore data from a backup and resume operations. Not only do longer RTOs affect internal processes, but they can also affect customers’ experiences and negatively affect the company’s reputation.

Traditional approaches recommend using the 3-2-1 backup strategy to ensure all data is copied and easily accessible. With the 3-2-1 method, users create three copies of their data on two separate storage solutions, one of which is stored remotely. Following this strategy allows organizations to cover all their bases in an attempt to secure their data.

There are several components to consider in order to maximize the effectiveness of data backups. First, companies need backup solutions and tools to deploy regular and consistent backups. We’ve covered these already. With the best solution chosen, companies then need to select a backup administrator to be responsible for the backups. This job includes making sure backup systems are set up correctly and testing them regularly. Finally, the administrator needs to establish a backup scope and schedule. 

When it comes to a backup scope and schedule, businesses should back up their data regularly to ensure minimal data is at risk of being lost. They should opt for as much storage as they can afford so their data can be backed up frequently and stored in as many locations as possible. Establishing an effective backup strategy is critical because regular backups are vital to the organization’s disaster recovery plan. 

Disaster recovery refers to the entire process used to protect and restore a company’s data in the event of an attack or failure. The ultimate goal of a disaster recovery plan is to avoid downtime and minimize the disruption that unexpected disasters have on employees and customers. A well-designed disaster recovery protects data, quickly identifies its location, and restores it efficiently to its original state and location.

The problem with traditional data backups

Until recently, traditional backup and recovery methods have been the only solution for businesses looking to protect and secure their data. But as the volume of data has grown across every industry, so have the resources available to manage data. With so many options to choose from, companies should consider newer data management solutions instead of settling for traditional ones. Here are a few reasons why: 

1.) Cost

Individual storage seems affordable, but the storage required for multiple backups adds up. Traditional methods call for frequent backups, which reduce a company’s RPO but require more storage capacity and more network resources for the backup to run. Longer RPOs are more affordable, but they open the risk of losing more data. Additionally, with traditional solutions, companies must hire backup administrators and personnel to keep the backup process running smoothly — adding even more expense to the bottom line.

2.) Time

Backups take time to maintain, which takes time away from innovation. Time must also be devoted to scheduling backups around other company operations to minimize internal disruptions. When it comes to disaster recovery, traditional backups decrease efficiency. Mass amounts of data can take days to backup, let alone locate and recover after a disaster.

3.) Bandwidth

Consistent backups create traffic across a company’s network, increasing latency and slowing network activity and performance. Scheduling backups also affects bandwidth. If a business has limited bandwidth resources, a backup scheduled during peak usage times will consume large amounts of bandwidth, causing the network to slow down.

Ultimately, traditional backup methods support a valid point: data is at risk and needs to be protected. But the way these methods protect data is antiquated and becoming less and less practical.

Panzura’s Solution

Let’s face it — traditional NAS is expensive. And 1 TB of stored data can quickly turn into 3 or 4 TB of replication and backups. That’s where we step in. With Panzura, 1 TB only takes up 1 TB of the total purchased capacity. How is this even possible?

CloudFS has several strategic features that set your business up for success. With CloudFS, data is stored in a single, immutable form that users can trust. Files are changed at the edge, with edits stored as immutable data blocks. All changes are additive, and nothing is ever deleted. Metadata pointers are then updated in real time with the changes. Snapshots are taken of the pointers on a user-defined schedule, and they can happen as frequently as every second, resulting in a near-zero RPO.

If data is changed or attacked and needs to be reverted to a previous state, companies can restore their data without needing backups. All they have to do is access the older, unaffected data and restore it to that version using snapshots. There’s no need to take up space with countless backups or waste precious time salvaging massive amounts of data. The data is always there and can never be damaged.

Snapshots contain metadata instead of data, so the restoration process takes significantly less time than traditional NAS solutions. Additionally, because the blocks are immutable and can’t be overwritten, single files, folders, and entire file systems can be restored at revolutionary speeds. CloudFS enables data durability that far exceeds the levels users can achieve using traditional data backup and recovery methods.

Your time and data are precious. We want to help you protect both. We understand that traditional backup and recovery methods seem familiar, but we’re here to tell you that they aren’t your only option. With CloudFS, your time, data, and wallet can all be secured. Protecting your data doesn’t require more backups, storage, and money — it just requires the right solution.