Backup Your Business in the Cloud
Whether you've migrated your workloads to the cloud or not, backing-up business data in the cloud is a wise move. We summarize some of the options in AWS here.
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For every business, the security and safety of critical data are always a concern. Unfortunately, many business owners may not have previous experience in the cloud and may be worried about safeguarding their data. Using AWS storage for backup is a great way to ensure your data is safe.
With proper planning and execution, businesses can easily back up their data in the cloud. Here we will outline the basics of using AWS storage for on-premises backup and unique health and financial data considerations. We have also provided some general security tips for data storage in the cloud.
Why Backup Your Business in the Cloud?
There are many reasons you need to back up your business in the cloud. Some of the most important reasons are:
Disaster recovery is one of the main reasons to back up your business in the cloud. If an event like a natural disaster destroys your physical infrastructure, having a backup in the cloud can help you get back up and running quickly. This planning ensures continuity for your business and enables you to avoid any potential downtime.
Another reason to back up your business in the cloud is that it can be more cost-effective than traditional on-premises backup solutions. When your data is backed-up in the cloud, you only pay for the storage space you use. With on-premises backup solutions, you often have to pay additional hardware, software, and maintenance costs.
Backing up your business in the cloud also gives you increased flexibility. You can access your data from anywhere with an internet connection and scale your storage capacity up or down as needed. This flexibility can be beneficial if you have seasonal fluctuations in your data usage.
In addition to disaster recovery, having a backup in the cloud can also help you maintain business continuity. If your business has an unexpected outage, you can still keep running by accessing your data from the cloud.
Ease of Use
Another benefit of backing up your business in the cloud is that it is easy to use. You don't need to worry about installing and managing software or hardware with a cloud backup solution. All you need is an internet connection to access your data.
AWS Services for Cloud Storage
Several AWS services can be used for cloud storage. Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3), Amazon Glacier, and AWS Storage Gateway are the most popular.
Amazon S3 is a web-based storage service that offers high durability and availability. With S3, your data is stored as objects in buckets. S3 is designed to provide 99.999999999% durability and 99.99% availability of your stored objects over a given year. This high durability and availability make it an excellent option for storing data that needs to be accessed frequently, such as photos, videos, and business documents.
AWS Storage Gateway is another popular option for cloud storage. It allows you to connect-premises storage devices to the cloud, providing on-premises applications with low-latency access to data stored in the cloud. Storage Gateway supports different storage devices, including hard disk drives (HDDs) and solid-state drives (SSDs). Storage Gateway can be installed in your on-premises environment as a hardware device or virtual machine (VM).
Amazon Glacier is a long-term storage service designed for data that is not accessed frequently. The data is stored in vaults, which are like buckets in S3. AWS Glacier is an excellent option for storing data that does not need to be accessed often, such as backups or log files. In exchange for the longer retrieval time for the data, its storage cost is substantially lower than other S3 storage tiers.
Moving Massive Quantities of Data into the Cloud
There are several ways to move massive amounts of data into the cloud.
One popular option is to use the Snow Family of products, including Amazon Snowball and Amazon Snowball Edge.
Amazon Snowball is a physical device that transfers data into the cloud. Snowball is designed for data sets that are too large to be transmitted over the internet. Once the data is transferred to the Snowball, it can be imported into S3 or Glacier.
Another option for transferring large amounts of data is to use the AWS Transfer for SFTP service. This service allows you to securely transfer data to and from S3 or Glacier using the Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP).
You may also use the AWS Import/Export service to transfer data into S3 or Glacier. Data can be imported and exported using portable storage devices, such as hard drives and USB flash drives.
One of the most critical considerations when storing data is data residency, or where your data is physically located. AWS offers data centres in several regions worldwide (including one region currently in Canada, with a second soon to come in Alberta) where you can be sure your data is stored according to the laws of the country from which it was obtained.
It's essential to choose a region that is appropriate for your business. For example, if you're subject to specific data protection laws, you'll need to ensure your data is stored in a region that complies with those laws.
Health and Financial Data
There are special considerations for the storage of health and financial data. Health data is subject to specific regulations in many countries, such as the BC PIPA (Personal Information Protection Act) regulation or HIPAA in the United States. Individuals have the right to inspect their personal information under PIPA. The legislation specifies how businesses may collect, use, and disclose personal data from consumers, clients, or employees.
Financial data is also subject to specific regulations, such as the PIPEDA regulation. The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) is the federal privacy law for private-sector organizations.
When personal information is collected, used, or disclosed by an organization that PIPEDA covers, it must generally obtain informed consent from the individual concerned. For more information on Canadian privacy legislation check out Demystifying Canadian Data Residency and the Public Cloud.
Businesses need to be especially careful when storing health or financial data. You will want to ensure that your data is stored in a region that complies with the relevant regulations and that the appropriate security measures are in place.
General Security Tips for Data Storage in the Cloud
Here are a few security tips to keep in mind when storing data in the cloud:
Use strong passwords
When creating accounts, use strong passwords that are difficult to guess. It helps to use a password manager to generate and store strong passwords.
Use multi-factor authentication
Multi-factor authentication provides an extra layer of security to your account. You can use multi-factor authentication with various methods, such as a security key, SMS authentication, or an authentication app.
Encrypt your data
Encrypt your data to ensure it's safe from prying eyes. You can use encryption to protect your data at rest and in transit. It assists in meeting a variety of data residency requirements.
Review your cloud provider's security policies
Ensure you're familiar with your cloud provider's security policies and practices. Most software has a variety of security measures in place to protect your data.
Regularly update your software.
Make sure you regularly update your business software to ensure it's up-to-date and secure, including your operating system, web browsers, and security software.
Use a VPN
If you're working remotely, use a VPN to ensure your data is safe and secure. A VPN creates an encrypted tunnel between your device and the VPN server, protecting your data from prying eyes. AWS offers both site-to-site and client VPN options.
Turn off public access for S3 Buckets.
If you don't need the public to access your S3 bucket objects, make sure you turn off public access. This simple setting will help protect your data from unauthorized access.
Start Protecting Your Data
Backing up your business in the cloud is a wise decision. It can help you ensure the safety of your data and protect you from data loss in the event of a disaster. When selecting a cloud backup solution, evaluate your needs and choose a solution that meets your requirements. Once you have set up your backup solution, test it to ensure it's working correctly. Then, maintain it regularly to ensure that it continues to work correctly.
While there are some specific considerations to keep in mind, using AWS storage for on-premises backup is a great way to protect your data. With these tips in mind, businesses can feel confident that their data is safe and secure when stored in the cloud.
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