Data has become a company’s lifeblood, as essential to the functioning of a business as utilities like email. It is the key ingredient for making more informed business decisions that will drive innovation - so it’s no wonder that data storage needs are increasing rapidly, with recent IDC research indicating that the amount of data stored will reach 163 zettabytes by 2025.
When it comes to managing all that data, the development of cloud technologies has driven many businesses away from onsite storage, removing the need for businesses to manage their own infrastructure. Backup as a service (BaaS) solutions offer more flexibility and much better value to companies willing to make the jump. Here’s why.
Unlimited storage, but you only pay for what you use
In a world where data has become such a commodity, the decision to keep or remove a block of data shouldn’t need to come down to server availability. On-premise solutions are expensive and difficult to upgrade when they inevitably run out of room - which is not what your finance director wants to hear when you’re reviewing the IT budget together! A cloud based, BaaS option is designed to scale to exabyte levels, so there are virtually no limits to how much data you can store, and it’s not going to cost you.
The “as a service” business model is founded on the principle that you only pay for what you use. So a BaaS typically bills organisations based on the amount of data being stored in the cloud (and, in some cases, how much data is being taken out). This flexibility is an important feature for a fast-growing company that needs its storage capabilities to be scalable in line with its business growth. On the same point, it’s worth watching out for some of the larger cloud providers that charge high (and often hidden) egress fees to make sure you’re not paying more than you need to.
Also, one cost that can often be overlooked when you have to play with hosting your back-ups offline is the maintenance cost. Since on-premises backup requires continual upkeep and coordination to achieve the same level of redundancy as a cloud-based BaaS, it also involves additional hiring costs – you’d need at least one employee to take care of your offline storage infrastructure and server array upkeep. Meanwhile, a BaaS solution will take care of maintenance at no extra cost.
Easy disaster recovery
Data loss caused by equipment failures, natural disasters, human error, ransomware and malware can occur when you least expect it. But no matter how many terabytes of data you have stored, keeping backups of your data off-site will protect primary infrastructure should disaster strike.
A smart data storage strategy involves having multiple backups in various locations. The 3-2-1 rule is recommended, where you place three copies of your data on two different types of storage media, with one copy kept offsite. Achieving this using a traditional, on-premise backup solution can be tricky as it requires the coordination of couriers and the handling of multiple pieces of storage hardware and media, such as tape and disks, to achieve effective redundancy. All the hardware has a limited lifetime and requires careful maintenance and manual backups, costing huge amounts of time and money.
Alternatively, a cloud-based disaster recovery (DR) service can be brought online very quickly within seconds or minutes compared to an off-site DR solution which could take hours, the latter leaving more room for vulnerability since data loss is directly related to downtime. Many cloud-based disaster recovery services can also be triggered remotely using wireless internet connections, so unnecessary downtime is avoided. Restoring from off-site data centres through the power of the cloud is the quickest way to recover your data with limited service interruptions.
BaaS frees up resource
Businesses are always beset with competing priorities and removing back-up from the list of concerns can be a huge weight lifted. As the BaaS model typically bills your company based on the amount of cloud storage your data takes up, it shifts the back-up consideration from a capital expenditure (CAPEX) to an operational expenditure (OPEX). In this way, the OPEX model removes the upfront cost of IT budgeting, spreading the cost over time as and when needs arise.
The result is that resource that was previously focused on backup can be freed up for activities that will help develop the business: from AI and machine learning to digital transformation projects and beyond. The idea is that companies treat backup as a service as an automatic process that they don’t have to think about, streamlining what’s become a critical business need.
Just as it would be crazy for a business to bring its electricity or water supplier inhouse, the same can now be said of data storage – a utility of the internet age.
David Friend, co-founder and CEO, Wasabi Technologies