Backup definition & meaning
Backup, also known as data backup, is a process that includes storing duplicated data in a secure place. The backup data is can be used to restore in case of data loss or damage. The backup data, also known as snapshots, are immutable, which means they can’t be altered after being created. This feature provides extra protection against ransomware attacks. Most organizations prefer automating this process to keep the backup data up to date thus when recovery is needed, they don’t lose too much data. The backup data includes virtual machines, physical servers, databases, distributed databases, files, containers, applications, SaaS applications, primary storage, and mainframes.
What are the types of Backup?
There are three types of backups:
- Full backups
- Incremental backups
- Differential backups
Full backups: As the name implies, full backups duplicate all the data stored on the production system into the backup solution to keep them safe. It includes all the data, therefore it can take a very long time depending on the size of the data being duplicated. Most organizations prefer faster backup methods for their data management solutions for regular backups.
Incremental backups: Incremental backups detect only the new data since the last full incremental backup was performed and capture it. To be able to get incremental backups, it is required to get a full backup first, then incremental backups can be taken automatically based on the last incremental backup.
Differential backups: Differential backups are similar to incremental backups, but it uses the last full backup, not the last incremental. It also requires full backup data first, similar to incremental backups.
Most organizations prefer a method called the 3-2-1 backup strategy. The method is considered the best backup practice by most security experts and government authorities. The 3-2-1 refers to getting at least three copies of the data which are created on at least two different storage media and at least one of the copies is stored in a remote location. Storing one copy off-site eliminates the negative effects of natural disasters or local outages.
What are the backup options?
There are six backup options based on the techniques or technologies used.
- Removable Media
- External hard drive
- Hardware appliances
- Backup software
- Cloud backup services
Removable Media: One of the most basic solutions is using CDs, DVDs, Blu-Ray disks, USB flash drives, and tapes for storing backups. It is only possible for small-size backups and considered risky because they can get damaged easily.
Redundancy: Users can set up a hard drive to be the replica of another drive used in the system. This system requires more technical knowledge and frequent replication between cloned systems. Redundant systems can be installed in a remote site to avoid local issues.
External hard drive: With archive software, users can deploy an external hard drive to save changes. The software is capable of restoring files quickly. On the other hand, as the amount of data grows, it will be required to add additional external drives.
Hardware appliances: Users can also use purpose-built backup appliances, which are mostly deployed as a 19″ rack-mounted device. It offers a large storage capacity and pre-integrated software for backups. It also allows users to define the backup schedules and policies they prefer. Hardware appliances can also be installed in a remote site, isolated from the local network.
Backup software: Software-based backup solutions allow users to determine the systems and the data that will be backed up. Although it is very complicated to deploy and configure, it also offers better flexibility than hardware-based solutions. Users can also allocate backups to the device they prefer and manage backups automatically.
Cloud backup services: Backup-as-a-Service solutions are the most modern backup solutions, preferred by large organizations. It allows organizations to store the backup data on a public or private cloud in a remote location. It is very easy to use, however using a public cloud can make it complicated to comply with regulations and standards.