Zetta Blog

cloud backup urban legends

My Cousin Knew This IT Guy: Top 5 Urban Legends of Cloud Backup

by Laura Knight

When it comes to cloud backup and restore, there’s a lot of things that “everyone” knows. And those things are definitely true, because their old coworker’s cousin knew this guy that it happened to (you know, the same cousin whose ex-roommate woke up without a kidney after a crazy night clubbing in a foreign country? Totally happened, man).

Shockingly, former coworkers’ cousins’ friends aren’t always accurate sources – and sometimes things “everyone” knows aren’t quite true. Here’s a few of our favorite stories about cloud backup that belong in the same category as Sasquatch.

Cloud is too slow for enterprise – that’s why you need an appliance.

This was true years ago, back when “the cloud” was just starting to take off as an idea and nobody quite knew how to approach it. But modern cloud solutions, architected specifically for the Internet, move data with maximum speed and efficiency through technologies such as parallelization and WAN acceleration.

Appliances are a safer bet for DR, because you might not have Internet access after a disaster.

It’s true that, after a major disaster, a business might be without Internet for a while. But in that case, it may also be without its appliance – and thus unable to start recovery until the vendor ships them a new one. With a SaaS-based cloud solution, data can be recovered anywhere with an Internet connection (like a remote office unaffected by the disaster, or a temporary site used by the business until the main facility is repaired).

Most companies don’t have fast enough Internet connections for cloud to be viable.

While we’re not all lucky enough to have fiber, cloud backups can still work just fine for companies on more common Internet lines. A well-architected cloud solution transfers data in such a way that even non-lightspeed Internet connections can move backups at a decent clip.

Cloud-only backups are a dangerous security gamble.

Security is a common worry about cloud, especially when high-profile consumer cloud hacks seem to be a weekly occurrence. However, enterprise-level cloud vendors usually follow stringent security rules, including compliance with regulations like HIPAA and ITAR and external SSAE-16 audits to ensure all the security talk isn’t just that. Using the cloud isn’t any less secure than using on-premise equipment – and both require that the internal IT team stay engaged and active in the company’s data security.

Only tape is really safe for sensitive data, and using cloud is a legal liability.

The idea behind this variant of the security myth is that the cloud is inherently insecure, and so using it for sensitive information can constitute negligence. Besides the inaccurate assumption about cloud security, it also overestimates the safety of tape. The problem with physical media is that it can be lost, stolen or damaged – all of which can be grounds for negligence. In one recent example, losing 19 tapes with patient data turned into a $150,000 HIPAA fine for a Rhode Island hospital.

Cloud costs a lot more than tape.

If you only look at the initial cost of buying tape equipment versus the recurring cost of a cloud subscription, tape backups might look like the budget option. But this ignores the ongoing costs of manually managing tapes, transporting them on and offsite, storing them offsite, and maintaining or replacing the tapes and related equipment. With no equipment to buy or maintain, no extra cost for offsite storage and minimal oversight, the lifetime cost of SaaS-based cloud backups can be much lower than tape.

Laura Knight
Laura Knight

As Content Marketing Manager, Laura writes, edits, designs and is always on the lookout for new ways to tell the Zetta story.