What is cloud backup?
Whilst multiple forms of cloud backup are available, the most common is to send a copy of your files and data to a cloud service provider. It’s basically the backing up of computer (or server) files to a server located elsewhere via a secure connection – depending on your service provider, your files could be stored in a data centre in the USA or Europe.
Why do I need cloud backup?
Yachts use this service to ensure that a recent copy of files is available in the event of a disaster – such as a server crash or fire. It will give you an extra layer of security if major issues occur by adding a new form of off-site backup.
What storage and service provider should I use?
There is a difference between the storage provider and service provider. A storage provider is a company providing the means to store your data – on their servers. There are many storage providers each with their own pros and cons but the most commonly used are Amazon (S3 and Glacier) and Google drive.
A service provider is a company providing the means by which you can access (and therefore backup) your data to a storage providers infrastructure.
How much does it cost?
If you are technically capable of setting this up yourself, then you may pay a few pence per GB + any software related costs. Although setting things up yourself is the most affordable option, you may find that you’re lacking the support you need when testing and restoring from backups.
If you opt to use a service provider, you will pay a little more per GB – this is normal due to a small mark-up by the provider which often includes installation and support. Support for cloud backup is important – you want to ensure that the configuration is correct and your files are restorable. Azuz IT charge £0.50 per GB which includes installation and support.
How do I set this up?
Chances are you are using a server to centralise your data. If you are, you can install and configure software that will allow you to select the files you want backing up and set a time when this occurs (giving the added benefit of automated backups). The difficult part is ensuring that the storage provider space and permissions and set-up correctly.
If you need help setting up cloud backups – Azuz IT provide a service called JustBackup – complete automated backup, scheduling, testing and support for your yacht. Contact us for more info.
How do I know if this is working?
The service provider you opt for usually includes reporting emails – these emails will let you know if the backup was successful and how much data was backed up.
An important part of using cloud backup is ensuring the data you backup is restorable! You should run a test restoration every 3 – 6 months by scheduling a task – you can then check the restored data to ensure it’s not corrupt.
A note about bandwidth, data usage and initial backup time
Keep in mind that the initial backup will take a long time. Depending on the speed of your connection and the amount of data you are backing up, your first backup could range from a few hours to a few weeks. Backups performed after this will be much quicker because only new and changed files will need backing up.
Ensure you have enough data with your chosen internet service provider (ISP) to perform backups. For example, if you have a large amount of data to backup and are using a 3G/4G mobile data connection – you may reach and exceed your data limit and have to pay additional costs.
What else do I need to know?
If you use an on-board server that controls your emails, you will need to ensure the service provider software is capable of backing up the information (store).
File versioning options allow you to keep several copies of a file after it has been edited. For example, if file versioning is enabled for a word document that is updated every week, you have the ability to restore a version that was updated several weeks ago (rather than the latest copy). This is useful if you edited a file incorrectly, and need to restore the document that you changed several weeks ago. Enabling file versioning will increase the cloud storage space required (and thus cost).
Long term archiving
Some yachts require that data is archived for a set period of years – this is often true of financial data that does not change often. Storage providers such as Amazon (Glacier) allow the backup and long-term storage of data. The cost of this type of cloud storage is much lower because you as not accessing the data as often.
You should note that additional costs may occur when restoring data. Cloud storage providers don’t usually charge for the data transferred during a backup, but do charge for the storage space being used and also any file restorations (downloading previously backed up files).
Cloud service providers normally charge a subscription fee for software and support. The cost is usually defined by how many software licenses are required (number of servers or computers) and the type of backup required (email, data, database).