You might have heard of SaaS, but have you heard of BaaS? BaaS stands for Backup as a Service, which is pretty much what it says on the tin.
What is Backup as a Service? Backup as a Service is a method of off-site data storage, typically offered by MSPs. With BaaS, your data is stored in a secure, remote cloud-based data repository.
BaaS as a service is essential for businesses of any size, from sole traders to SMEs to large enterprises. Backup as a Service is far superior to old-fashioned physical backups, which I’ll explain in this blog post. But I’ll also explain more about how BaaS works and talk through some of the advantages of using Backup as a Service.
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Backup As A Service: How Does It Work?
Backup as a Service is easier to manage and safer than using physical hard disks that you have to store at a different location. But how does BaaS actually work? Do you need to have technical expertise to set it up?
First things first, you’ll need to pick a backup service. There are plenty out there, such as Acronis, Veeam, and SOS Online Backup. However, you can get more advanced managed Backup as a Service by choosing a reliable supplier (later in this blog post, I’ll give you some tips for choosing an appropriate supplier).
Once you’ve chosen the service you’re going to use, it will walk you through selecting the files that you want to backup. If you choose a supplier, they will normally consult you on the files that you want backing up and set everything up for you.
But how does Backup as a Service actually work?
After configuring the backup, your data will be backed up to a cloud repository. Your data will be transported securely over your network connection to the repository that it’s going to be stored in. It really is as simple as that.
You’ll only need to configure your backup one time. After the initial configuration, new data you add to the sources you’ve selected will be automatically backed up forever. For instance, if you backup your Microsoft Office 365, any additional files you create, existing files you add to, and new emails will be backed up without your involvement. Backups normally take place in the background as soon as you change or add to your data. With BaaS, you remove the possibility of human error, which is unavoidable with more manual backup processes.
Fundamentally, that’s how Backup as a Service will work. The specifics will differ from provider to provider, because BaaS is an umbrella term for solutions that work in different ways. However, the basics I’ve outlined here will be the same regardless of the provider that you choose to go with. Next, I’m going to talk through the benefits of Backup as a Service, before offering some tips for choosing an appropriate provider for your business.
Benefits of Backup As A Service
After spending time learning about Backup as a Service and using a BaaS solution myself, there are a number of benefits that I wanted to mention.
- Automated once configured
- No risk of losing physical backups
- Constant backups instead of one large, time-consuming backup
- Securely access your backup no matter where you are
Of course, there are some disadvantages to consider too, which I’ll go through soon.
Automated Once Configured
After you configure your backup for the first time, the backup process is automated. As you create new files and modify existing ones, you don’t have to manually set each file to backup. Instead, it’s an automated process that requires no manual effort on your part. As far as I’m concerned, that’s a primary benefit of Backup as a Service.
If you do manual backups with physical hard drives, there’s naturally more work involved. Firstly, you need to manually create a backup according to your schedule. So you might create a backup daily or weekly, and you need to remember to stick to that schedule. Secondly, you need to store the hard drive in a secure location, presumably somewhere other than your main office. I’d assume this involves travelling, making it even more of a manual process.
Backup as a Service just makes your life so much easier, because the backups are automatic and completed in the background.
No Risk Of Losing Physical Backups
There is an inherent risk with physical backups. What if someone loses the hard drive, or the hard drive becomes damaged? With Backup as a Service, there’s no risk of losing physical backups. The backup takes place online and is stored in a secure data depository that has many fail-safes in place to ensure your data is safe.
There’s less risk with Backup as a Service. As long as you choose an appropriate provider with a suitable setup, your data will be backed up in numerous depositories. Your data really is as safe as can be; much safer than using a physical system where equipment faults could cause you to lose everything.
No backup solution is infallible. However, BaaS is a less risky form of backing up your files when compared with physical backups. There’s less scope for human error.
Constant Backups, Instead Of One Large, Time-Consuming Backup
With a Backup as a Service solution, new and updated files are backed up constantly. For instance, if you modify a file on your Microsoft Sharepoint, the change is instantly backed up. Basically, you don’t have one large, time-consuming backup to complete when it comes to your scheduled backup time.
With constant backups, your work is safer too. If there was a sudden fault – such as your computer dying – your work is still intact and retrievable. With a manual backup, you may only back up your data once a day or once a week. Basically, you would potentially lose significantly more data if you were manually doing the backups yourself.
It’s important to note here that an initial hardware seed backup may be required due to internet speed. Your initial backup could be hundreds of gigabytes, or more, depending on how much data you have. It’s near impossible to backup that amount of data on any data connection; only the fastest of connections would be suitable. So just keep this in mind before jumping in headfirst!
Securely Access Your Backup No Matter Where You Are
Depending on the provider that you are using and the configuration of your Backup as a Service solution, you can securely access your backup no matter where you are. This is an excellent advantage because you wouldn’t need to retrieve a physical hard drive to access your backup.
For instance, let’s say you work remotely and something goes wrong with your emails. You need to restore your emails, obviously, but you don’t want to be messing around retrieving the hard drive where they’re all backed up. With Backup as a Service, all your data is backed up in a secure cloud depository. No matter where you are, you can access them and download the backups that you need.
Those are the benefits. So what are the disadvantages that we need to consider? Well, there are very few disadvantages, but there is one big one to consider: Backup as a Service is dependent upon your network connection. If your connection is down, your data won’t be backed up. That’s certainly something to keep in mind, because it could cause your business bother somewhere down the line if you aren’t aware of it.
Another big disadvantage to think about is how quickly you’d be able to restore your data. If you have slow broadband, it could take hours, days, or even weeks for a full restore (depending on the amount of data you have). You either need a sufficient connection that would enable you to quickly restore a backup, or you’d need other types of backup in place too. For example, you might physically back up the most crucial files so you can quickly restore these at any time.
Tips For Choosing A BaaS Provider
You need to ensure your BaaS solution works for your business, so it’s crucial that you pick a provider that suits your business. Here are some tips choosing a Backup as a Service provider:
- Unmanaged or managed? Do you need a managed or unmanaged Backup as a Service solution? Will you be managing the service yourself, or do you need a company to manage it for you? These are questions that you need to consider when exploring your options.
- Get a demo: It’s important to know what you’re signing up for, so it’s worthwhile getting a demo of the BaaS solution that you’ll be using. You need to see the backup and recovery process in action to assess whether it’s the appropriate option for your business or not.
- Confirm all your data will be backed up: Surprisingly, some backup services will only back up certain types of data. Before signing up for any service, ensure that it will fully meet your requirements. Confirm with the provider that the service will backup all of your data.
- What SLAs are offered? If you’re going to entrust a company with your data, you must ensure there is a Service Level Agreement in place.
I hope that this blog post has helped you to learn a little bit more about Backup as a Service. If you have any questions about BaaS, please feel free to leave a comment below. I’ll be sure to reply to you!