With signs of climate change increasing and extreme weather patterns becoming commonplace, organizations face greater challenges to keep data backups safe. That is especially true for businesses experiencing weather conditions and natural disasters that they haven't had to deal with before. Organizations that haven't prepared their infrastructure for these new threats are especially vulnerable.
Whether the threat is from excessive snowfall, widespread wildfires, tornadoes, hurricanes or floods, many organizations choose to move data backups to an alternative site where they will hopefully be spared.
Backup as a service (BaaS) is one way that organizations can protect data in the event of a disaster. It puts the backups safely in the hands of a service provider -- often located some distance away -- and takes some of the pressure off the internal backup and IT staff.
BaaS is secure and relatively affordable, and it uses multiple levels of redundancy, reducing recovery time after a crisis. Because of that, BaaS is a prime candidate for natural disaster preparation and adapting to climate change.
The elements of a BaaS package
BaaS is a cloud-hosted service package that includes APIs and/or SDKs that enable an organization to connect digital projects to back-end cloud data.
Christophe BertrandPractice director of data management and analytics, Enterprise Strategy Group
Backup-as-a-service benefits include reducing project deployment time, outsourcing infrastructure management and cutting overall development costs. The idea is, essentially, to increase operational efficiency and manageability.
"Instead of doing it yourself, you pay someone to do it for you. That can potentially free up your IT resources so you can reallocate them to other tasks," said Christophe Bertrand, practice director of data management and analytics at TechTarget's Enterprise Strategy Group.
"In many cases, that backup service can do a better job than what you could do yourself. That is probably especially true for many smaller organizations," Bertrand said.
Whether or not an organization should pursue a BaaS arrangement ultimately depends on its overall data protection strategy, Bertrand said.
"[BaaS is] definitely something that's more popular. Most organizations today use a form of backup as a service as part of their overall strategy, even if they may still be running their own traditional backup themselves," Bertrand said.
Criteria to select the right BaaS partner
When an organization decides to go the BaaS route, what it should look for in a vendor is driven by the nature of the organization's infrastructure and its business.
"It's a matter of understanding the requirements for it to work," Bertrand said. "What platforms are supported by the vendor? Are there any cost optimization capabilities? Can the vendor provide the RTO and RPO that your organization is looking for, and support your various applications and environment? You want to get as low RPO and RTO as you can."
Recovery time objective (RTO) is the goal that an organization sets for the maximum length of time needed to restore normal operations after a power outage or data loss. Recovery point objective (RPO) is the maximum amount of data that an organization can afford to lose as a result of a power or systems failure. These two components are critical to a disaster recovery plan.
Other important characteristics of a preferred BaaS provider include competitive pricing, flexibility, scalability, security and a variety of product options.
To reap the benefits of backup as a service, work with a vendor that will support the organization's needs and help maintain business continuity with as little downtime and data loss as possible.