If you’re new to cloud computing, you might tend to rely heavily on cloud service providers (i.e. Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, or VMWare).
While these companies provide excellent cloud solutions, you still need someone in place to actively manage your backups. Otherwise, they can become vulnerable in the cloud.
There are several backup options available that improve both efficiency and recovery time for virtual machines. In order to take advantage of them, you’ll need to address these three common mistakes in order to improve your cloud backup viability.
Let’s break it down.
Mistake #1: Thinking that Cloud Backup Guarantees Recovery
Cloud providers offer continuous backup of data and redundancy, which are intended to prevent data loss, through mirrored installations.
So, even if one datacenter fails, they guarantee the restoration of the last image of our cloud resources. However, the last saved version may not be what you want to recover.
If someone accidentally deletes a shared folder on OneDrive, will he/she recognize that mistake and react quickly enough to beat Microsoft’s next image? Usually not.
To ensure proper restoration of individual files, virtual machines, and/or other cloud resources, you’ll need to implement an independent backup procedure… which leads to mistake number two.
Mistake #2: Thinking That Independent Cloud Backups Guarantee Safety
Cloud backups reinforce your cloud resources.
They also might serve as organization-wide backups.
However, no matter how much you backup, the two critical issues remain:
- Do you adequately secure our backups?
- Do you appropriately store versions of our backups?
Unfortunately, ransomware attackers like to use your cloud backups against you. They prefer to download those backups because the cloud often bypasses data breach detection software.
If your system administrators reuse credentials for both local and cloud resources, then they create security vulnerabilities which could corrupt your organization’s data recovery.
One way to combat that is to create different permission levels. Also, it’s important to use multi-factor authentication as an additional barrier of defense.
Related: 3 Ways to Improve Password Protection
Your backup strategy must work for you, not against you. Several ransomware attacks destroyed backups, but not through the actions of the attacker. Instead, the backup process itself directly overwrote the file backups with encrypted post-ransomware files.
If you don’t keep multiple versions of your backups, they become vulnerable. Many backup strategies still focus primarily on recovering a limited number of deleted files. While backups occur often, they don’t keep many historical backups.
It’s important to focus on recovering entire networks and an adequate amount of historical backups. That will keep you from reloading backups infected with ransomware.
It’s best to schedule incremental backups daily — or even hourly — with a full backup scheduled for once a week. Furthermore, you’ll want to move those backups offline regularly, or send them to a separate, secure cloud repository with unique credentials.
Six months of weekly backups, and two weeks of incremental backups, should be kept to ensure both convenient recovery for short term issues, and a thorough recovery for significant incidents.
Now, onto mistake number three…just what are these backups made of in a world of virtual machines (VMs)?
Mistake #3: Using a Dated Backup Strategy for a VM Environment
For decades, technology has limited us to an item-level backup (files), or bit-by-bit image-level backups using virtual snapshots.
These options remain the core philosophy behind backup strategies. But, as more organizations adopt VMs, the technology evolves. Unfortunately, not all IT managers focus enough on backups to understand the options.
For incremental backups of the VM environment, change-block tracking (CBT) provides a protocol to backup and track only the specific blocks of the VM environment that changed. This protocol allows for more rapid and frequent imaging of the VM than ever before.
For example, CBT — an incremental backup technology for VMware virtual machines — can quickly capture data that’s being added to a VM database without having to continuously backup the entire database.
Unlike the CBT backup, which focuses on the entire VM, VMDK files — virtual disk files that store the contents of the virtual machine’s hard disk drive — allow for rapid recovery of item-level backups within a VM.
This is an excellent option for a shared drive running on a cloud container. If users delete specific files, you won’t have to restore the entire VM containing the shared drive. Instead, you can focus on the VM parts related to the files needed for extraction.
Bringing It All Together
During the COVID-19 pandemic, quarantine has forced many companies to rapidly relocate resources to the cloud.
For many businesses, that shift created several growing pains in the areas of cyber security and network management. As cloud computing becomes the new “normal,” you’ll need a team of experts by your side that actively manage your data and its security, 24/7/365.
Backups are more important than ever before. You need to keep your business moving forward, and your team & data safe. With Ideal Integrations, you can truly maximize your return on IT with a cloud computing & cyber security solution designed around your needs.
Focus on your business, and we’ll do the rest! No matter where you’re at in the world, we’ll be by your side. For a risk-free consultation, complete the form below, or call us at 412-349-6680.