Effective backup? Are you Azure?

In amongst all the noise generated by the high profile WannaCry ransomware virus and the British Airways computer system problems (to put it mildly) in May, one fact that has emerged is for every organisation to have a good, accessible, recent backup of their systems and data.

We all now operate in the information age; big data rules, but only if you recognise its value, protect it, keep it safe and know how to use it, without anyone or anything else compromising it.

There has never been a greater risk to the security and integrity of all this information, which is why backing up data safely and securely should be an integral part of any effective long-term business strategy.

Azure Backup is the answer

Whether you call it back-up, backup, BackUp or Backup (it’s the last one), this offering from Microsoft Azure is a simple, cost-effective backup-as-service (BaaS) solution that delivers protection for your data wherever you keep it.

Whether you have data on your servers, on your clients, in the cloud or any combination thereof, this entirely scalable and available solution does what you need it to do, without any upfront investment. Like most of the Microsoft app stable, it is available on subscription; pay the monthly fee and you’re ready to go.

Azure Backup combines minimal maintenance with cost efficiency, consistent tools for off-site backup, unified applicationĀ availability and protection for all your data, everywhere you might have it – except memory sticks down the back of the sofa!

Your data is stored safely for easy recovery when you have problems, thanks to Azure Backup, with Azure Site Recovery on hand to replicate, fail-over and recover workloads, so that they remain available when failure occurs.

Azure Backup provides comprehensive protection for applications, including SharePoint, Exchange and SQL Server. And it also protects all files and folders, whilst also providing effective backup for Windows servers and clients, along with Azure infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) virtual machines.

Tapes are so last year

Driven by the needs of the organisation or for compliance requirements, data must be kept safe and protected for years, with the amount of information needing to be stored, growing significantly every day. And it shows no sign of letting up.

For many years, tapes have been the favoured option for long-term retention of data; if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it, being the standard defence for those eschewing change.

There is now a cost effective solution, so it’s time to drop the tapes and choose Backup, with its shorter recovery times and almost a century of safe retention in UK-based data centres if required.

There are likely cost savings too, with lower prices for the amount of backed-up data combined with cheaper high bandwidth connections.

Backup as a service

The process is simple and secure. Your data is encrypted before leaving your datacentre, then transfers via a secure connection and is encrypted again on arrival, to be stored in Azure. Three copies of your data will be made and all of these will be stored in different locations within the data centre.

Microsoft is opening data centres in England and Wales, which ensures that three more copies of your data can be stored at another datacentre entirely, hundreds of miles apart to satisfy even the most exacting compliance requirements.

At least 99.9% availability (nothing is ever 100% guaranteed) of the backup and restore functionality of the Azure Backup service delivers complete peace of mind for all those who choose this very modern cloud-based solution.

Not only efficient but cost-effective

Once the initial backup is complete, to reduce the flow of data, only incremental changes are made at scheduled times, rather than complete new backups.

These incremental changes can be specified as daily, weekly, monthly etc. depending on how much data you can afford to rick losing.

It’s a simple equation. Backing-up more regularly will cost more, but with less data lost in the event of an incident, recovery will be easier and cheaper. Conversely, occasional backups will be much cheaper, but you risk losing a lot of data, when things go wrong – to say nothing of angry passengers at check-in desks!

Azure Backup is the Swiss army knife of backup solutions. It comes with built-in features to improve efficiency, including compression, encryption, longer retention and bandwidth throttling, which all comes as part of the attractively priced package.

Easy in easy out

With Azure Backup, it’s a simple pay-as-you-go model with no termination charges. You just rent the storage you require on a monthly basis, paying only for what you use, when you use it.

To show you just how easy and cost effective it is, a backupĀ  instance of 250GB is likely to cost less than Ā£14 per month, when hosted in one of Microsoft’s UK regional data centres.

If you would like to know more and find out how much Azure online Backups might cost, please contact me at paul.tozer@quiss.co.uk.

Paul Tozer, Head of Cloud Services, Quiss Technology plc

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