What is cloud-to-cloud backup?

Most businesses understand the importance of having a robust backup strategy in place for their on-premises data, but as more companies migrate to the cloud, myths and misunderstandings are beginning to creep in about how to backup data in a cloud environment.

One type of backup that is growing in popularity is cloud-to-cloud backup (or C2C backup). At a basic level, this is where data stored on one cloud service is copied to another cloud.

But if company data is stored in a cloud, why does that data need to be backed up to another cloud?

Many people think that they're protected from data loss if they use a software as a service (SaaS) platform such as Microsoft Office 365 or G Drive. But although these platforms have robust solutions in place for protecting data in the cloud, they are only designed to protect against losses on their side.

Download nowIn fact, 77% of IT decision makers reported some form of data loss through SaaS over a 12 month period,  according to an extensive survey from Spanning. That figure is higher than previously reported figures of 58%, suggesting that data loss in the cloud is a growing issue as more organisations experiment with the technologies.So how is cloud-to-cloud backup solving this issue? Here, we break down what C2C backup is, and how it can help your business.What is cloud-to-cloud backup?As the name suggests, cloud-to-cloud backup is where data in the cloud is backed up to another cloud, rather than to an on-site method such as tape or disk backup. It is also sometimes known as SaaS (software as a service) backup.It adds an extra layer of protection for businesses using cloud services by quite simply keeping a duplicate copy in a separate cloud.An important distinction here is between backup and archive. When looking for a C2C backup solution, it should specifically be a solution for backing up data, not archiving it. A backup copy exists for the express purpose of making data available and recoverable in the event of the original being inaccessible.But an archive exists to meet compliance needs or internal policies, and isn't designed for data recovery. Most archiving systems aren't able to rapidly restore lost data back into production, and don't have the functionality needed to automate accurate restores.How does C2C backup help businesses?Like on-site backup methods, C2C backup benefits businesses by storing data in multiple locations, enabling easy restoration of data in case of a cyber attack, accidental deletion, data corruption or other incidents. See related  Your data backup could be a disaster waiting to happen How to enhance your backup strategy Many applications that run in the cloud are already protected by the provider from data loss on their side. But there is a common assumption that SaaS providers like Google's G Suite and Microsoft's Office 365 have backup completely covered.Although many providers are geared up to protect data in the cloud from problems on their side, such as disk failures or natural disasters, they can't do much if the issue occurs on your side.If a ransomware attack erases your files, or if they're deleted accidentally or maliciously by an employee, it can be difficult to restore the data. This is one-way cloud-to-cloud backup can be used to help businesses with an extra layer of protection, should the worst happen.Pros and cons of cloud-to-cloud backup?The main benefit of cloud-to-cloud backup is cost. Because there's no investment required in on-site backup infrastructure, C2C backup can be set up quickly and inexpensively. This also applies in the long term; cloud storage can be added or taken away quickly as business needs evolve, and costs are kept predictable on a monthly basis.However, as with many cloud services, this can also lead to wastage, with dark data or unnecessary data taking up large amounts of storage space and driving up monthly costs.Due to the nature of C2C backups, availability is a major advantage. Backup copies of data in the cloud can be accessed from anywhere, so IT teams don't have to come to a physical location to restore business data if anything goes wrong.C2C is still a relatively new market, and most vendors currently offering cloud-to-cloud backup services also manage the backup and day-to-day management themselves. This makes it a good option for organisations that don't have their own in-house specialists to do this for them. But larger enterprises may feel more comfortable managing C2C backup themselves, or even keeping backup on-site.'The definitive guide to backup for G Suite' covers why you need a solution for G Suite, what you need to understand about cloud-to-cloud backup, and more. Download it here.

Download now

Another benefit is resilience to cyber attacks. Should an employee accidentally click on a malicious email attachment and open the business up to a ransomware attack, backup data on a cloud generally won't be affected as it isn't on the office network.

However, as with all cloud services, data security is an issue. Backup data stored on a cloud opens it up to being hacked or otherwise compromised, and offline hard backups are still considered to be the more secure option.

Any businesses looking at cloud-to-cloud backup services should carefully consider their needs, from how frequently a backup should be run to how the day-to-day management should work, and how much storage is required.