Backup: Out of site, not out of mind
It’s pretty standard these days – even expected – to run some IT workloads offsite.
Whether in colo or cloud, or under a more traditional outsourcing model, not everything has to be physically within reach.
But it still has to meet most of the same – if not more stringent - standards as in-house IT.
Over the years, management oversight that cuts across complex environments of in-house and hosted resources has definitely improved. These days, one can set and manage policy, provisioning and security centrally and with little fuss.
However, I’m unconvinced the same could be said for backup.
The thing with backup is that it has had the same kind of challenges for as long as I’ve been in the industry. Everyone knows they need it, yet only a percentage have something they are confident they could properly restore from.
My team at NTT is working to improve those odds.
We’re the dedicated team that provides a fully managed Backup as a Service to our colo customers Australia-wide. We advise customers of backup best practice and ensure they are protecting their most valuable data assets. On a practical level, we work out what data sits where, how long to keep backups and provide 24x7 on-call support.
When people take colo space in one of our data centres, they may want us to run most of their IT equipment, or just a subset. For example, they might shift their entire Office 365 or a single Oracle database to run offsite from our environment.
But no matter where the workload is, the data in it needs to be protected in a verifiable and legally-compliant manner.
Just because it’s physically out of sight doesn’t make it out of mind, and yet that is a problem with many backups: they are committed to tape, stored offsite and rarely, if ever, tested.
It makes sense for the environment to be backed up and tested by people in close proximity to it. Customers don’t spend much time in the colo space they lease, and by its nature they have even less physical access to sites that run cloud services they use.
So two rules for running workloads offsite: you still need to do proper backups, and the best people to handle that are those who specialise in data protection and are closest to where the data physically resides.
That’s the reason our Backup as a Service exists: we have the specialist knowledge, experience and ‘feet on the ground’ to back up your colo environment and then restore from the backups when required.
Backup as a Service also means you don’t need to go through the burden of hiring or training your own backup administrators, or of running your own backup infrastructure and the expense that goes with it.