Knowledge

What is Offsite Backup?

The 3-2-1 backup rule is the gold standard of data protection, which includes 3 backup copies on 2 different storage media and 1 should be stored offsite. In this way, the company is prepared to reverse the situation where data is stolen or exfiltrated. So, generally, offsite backup is an indispensable part of a disaster recovery plan that equips organizations with data portability, flexibility, security, and economy.

What is Offsite Backup?

Offsite backup involves copying and storing important data at a location separate from where the primary data is kept. This strategy is essential for effective data management and disaster recovery, as it protects critical data from being lost in events like natural disasters, theft, or system failures that might affect the primary site. Offsite backups ensure geographical separation, adding a layer of redundancy and enhancing data security by storing backups in a physically and digitally secure environment.

The choice of storage media for offsite backups can vary, including options like magnetic tapes, hard drives, or cloud storage solutions, each with different cost, scalability, and accessibility considerations. This kind of backup strategy is crucial for businesses to quickly and efficiently recover from data loss incidents, ensuring continuity and minimal downtime.

offsite backup

How does it work?

There are several different offsite backup approaches that you can take. We’ve already mentioned, for example, that some businesses choose to control the infrastructure for their offsite storage themselves, renting space within a data center and provisioning their own hardware. An offsite backup can even involve regularly copying your data onto disks or external hard drives and keeping them in an offsite storage facility. It wouldn’t be a particularly practical way of storing backups, since it would require a lot of manual work and the data itself wouldn’t be easily available if something were to go wrong, but it is a form of offsite backup.

However, the most common method of offsite backup in this modern age is through cloud services. Most companies are going either the public or private cloud storage route, with some even opting to store select information on public networks while maintaining copies of sensitive information on a private cloud server. This is known as a hybrid cloud and can be the most cost-effective and secure solution for businesses, as it lets you prioritize security for certain types of data while prioritizing costs for less critical information.

When you’re using cloud solutions for your offsite backup, you can either install software on the devices that need to be backed up or can access cloud servers through your regular browser. You can then move the data that you want to duplicate across to the cloud manually – selecting the specific files and folders that you want to backup – or you can schedule data to be backed up regularly.

Why Offsite Backups are essential

Now you might wonder why you should even bother with offsite backups. You’ve got a reliable host and a strong password. Isn’t your data safe enough? As we’re about to delve into it, there are numerous reasons why this belief is flawed and potentially dangerous. The digital landscape is fraught with risks, from natural disasters that can wipe out physical servers to cyber-attacks that can compromise your data integrity. These dangers significantly threaten your business continuity, especially if your primary server is your only line of defense. Think you’re not a target? Cybercriminals often aren’t individually selecting which sites to attack. Instead, they use automated programs that look to exploit any weak site, and they use economies of scale to penetrate just a few thousand attempts to make massive gains.

The advantages of using Offsite Backups

There are plenty of advantages of offsite backup solutions, not the least of which is the peace of mind it provides in knowing that if disaster strikes in almost any form, your business continuity won’t be devastatingly impacted. Some benefits of offsite backup include:

  • Security: There is a common misconception that offsite backup solutions are less secure than their on-premises alternatives, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Your infrastructure and data security rely on regular maintenance, and cloud solutions are far easier to maintain and control access to, making them a more secure service than most companies would be able to manage from on-premises storage. And because the storage is offsite, there is less risk of physical damage due to natural disasters like fire or power surges that may impact your office environment.
  • Costs: With minimal setup costs and storage facilities that can quickly and easily be scaled up or down as and when your needs change, cloud-based offsite backup solutions are affordable for businesses of any size. As the cloud is becoming more popular, the costs involved are also coming down, allowing you to get more for less. IT Services like Microsoft Azure even provide different storage types depending on how often you need to access your data, with Archive Storage, for example, being offered at a lower rate per GB stored.
  • Resource Management: When you opt for an offsite backup solution, your cloud provider will often take over the responsibility for managing and maintaining the infrastructure that you use. This will leave your teams with more time and capacity to focus their efforts on furthering your business, without you ever needing to compromise on security.
  • Accessibility: An on-premises backup solution is only ever accessible to those within your office environment. Cloud storage, however, makes it significantly easier for the right people to access the data that they need and backup relevant information directly to your offsite backup facilities, no matter where in the world they might find themselves, and no matter what device they may be using.
  • Scalability: When you’re working with an on-premises backup solution, every time you run out of hard disc space or processing power, you need to spend money to increase your capacity. Even if the extra space is only needed temporarily – during busy periods for your business, or when you’re switching or migrating data – you still need to invest in infrastructure that will accommodate your highest demand. With offsite backup solutions, you can upgrade or downgrade according to your needs and have access to the new capacity immediately without needing to wait for components to arrive or needing to spend a fortune acquiring them.

offsite backup

What is the difference between an offsite backup and an onsite backup?

The difference between an offsite backup and an onsite backup is the location where the data is stored. An onsite backup is stored locally, typically at the business premises, whilst an offsite backup is stored in a secondary location, often a third party, and is facilitated by the internet. This difference ensures that the two sets of data are independent of one another.

Conclusion

Offsite backups serve to protect us from the imperfections of the world around us. They help us preserve our physical and technical storage space, give us protection against a complete system crash or hardware failure, and help us regain our data in the event of a breach. No matter which of these you are solving for, the right offsite backup solution is worth your peace of mind.

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