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Article · Aug 21, 2023

5 Best Practices for Cloud Data Backup

84% of businesses use cloud backup and the number goes up to 93% for small and mid-sized businesses.(1) No surprise given the reliability, affordability and accessibility of the cloud. Backing up your data to a cloud-based server is a more secure, reliable, and cost-effective way to protect data than traditional backup methods. However, to ensure that your cloud backup strategy provides the best possible protection, you need to follow certain best practices. In this blog post, we will discuss the 5 best practices that an organization should follow to optimize their cloud data backup protection.

An arrow pointing down inside a cloud and five of the best practices for cloud backup surrounding it.

#1 Ensure Redundancy with the 3-2-1 Backup Rule

To ensure backup data survivability, data redundancy is important and can be achieved by following the 3-2-1 backup rule, the gold standard for backups. This rule recommends having three copies of the data, with two stored in different formats (media) and one copy stored offsite. By implementing this rule, you have multiple copies of your data saved in different locations, improving security and reducing the risk of data loss due to corruption, breach, or cyberattack.

When applied to cloud backup, the 3-2-1 rule can be viewed as:

  • Copy #1 on Cloud #1: Production data on your SaaS platform
  • Copy #2 on Cloud #2: Backup data on your cloud backup provider’s cloud storage
  • Copy #3 on Cloud #3: Long-term backup copy on another cloud storage

Check that your cloud backup solution has built-in redundancy in their cloud storage to provide you with a long-term immutable backup copy in keeping with the 3-2-1 backup rule.

#2 Leave No One Out

Comprehensiveness is essential for an optimized backup. This means all your SaaS data is included in the cloud backup. For instance, check that both data and metadata is backed up. Salesforce’s native options for “backup” do not include metadata. Data needs metadata to provide it useful information. Without metadata recovery, the recovery of the cloud data may not include settings and customizations, causing confusion and frustration.

Also, ensure that other “low-profile” ecosystem apps that hold essential data such as public folders, Teams, shared drives, archived folders, Notes, etc. are not excluded. Teams, in particular, holds business-critical information and is not always included in Microsoft 365 cloud backup solutions.

#3 Champion Adoption of Cloud Backup and Cybersecurity Best Practices

A secure and robust cloud backup solution can help you restore your data in the event of a data loss incident. But that is only if your admins and users are well-trained in using it. Ensure that your admins are familiar with the solutions backup and recovery processes and fully understand its features, tips and tricks. For example, cloud backup solutions often provide multiple recovery options such as granular, search and filter, point-in-time snapshots, hierarchical, cross-user, and cross-site. Knowing which option would be the best to use for a particular type of data loss would quicken recovery and business continuity. If the cloud backup tool allows for self-service recovery, train your employees too for quick, hassle-free recovery of lost data.

Finally, continue to evangelize cybersecurity best practices, safe email hygiene and a checklist for secure remote working. Circulate your Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery (BCDR) plan and/or your Ransomware Incident Response Plan to ensure that everyone understands their roles if an incident does occur.

#4 Check on Security and Audit-ready Credentials

Your data is only as secure as its backup. Here are a few must-have security credential checks of your cloud backup

  1. Check your cloud backup is stringently encrypted both at rest and in flight.
  2. Make sure your backup system is compatible with Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). This will ensure that only authorized individuals can access data and applications at any given moment.
  3. Make sure that the backup solution has robust in-app security practices such as intrusion detection, secure backup storage servers, and compliance certifications that comply with PCI standards.
  4. To improve security, limit access to the backup service by implementing the “least privilege” principle. Only allow backup or restore requests from IP addresses that have been authorized by the company. This can be achieved through the use of IP “allowlisting” with IP address restrictions especially in workplaces with distributed or hybrid employees.
  5. Don’t forget to check on the cloud backup service’s certifications such as ISO certification, Cloud Security Alliance membership, HIPAA and GDPR compliance, BAA provision, etc.

#5 Test Extensively: Both your Backup Strategy and your Cloud Backup Solution

It is recommended that you regularly test your backup and recovery procedures and cloud backup solution to confirm that they function correctly and that you can actually recover your data in case of an attack. There are two kinds of tests: Full system restore, which restores the entire system, including the operating system, applications, and data from scratch, and partial file restore, which only recovers a small portion of files or data. It is recommended that you perform tests on your backup and recovery process at least once a month, or more frequently if you make frequent changes to your system. By testing your backup and recovery process thoroughly, you can ensure smooth data recovery, reduce downtime, and meet your Recovery Time Objective. This will help you maintain uninterrupted business operations and recover quickly from disasters.

In Conclusion

Cloud backup is an essential part of any organization’s data protection strategy. By implementing these best practices, you can ensure the safety and recovery of your data. Choosing the right cloud provider, defining clear backup objectives, implementing multilayered security, testing your backup and recovery, and considering scalability are essential for cloud backup success.

Carbonite Cloud-to-Cloud Backup pioneered cloud backup more than a decade ago. Our SaaS data protection platform offers stringently secure, comprehensive multi-SaaS backup and recovery with one intuitive tool. Get cloud backup for all your SaaS data – Microsoft 365, Google Workspace, Salesforce, Dropbox, and Box including , Groups), Teams, OneDrive, SharePoint, Public folders, shared Drives, and Archives.

Book a consultation now and never face cloud data loss again!


Monty Sagal

Monty Sagal is CloudAlly’s Director of Channel Enablement and Compliance. He has over 20 years of experience spanning the entire SDLC - from planning, and product development, to project management, and customer engagement. While audits strike fear and dread for most, Monty has extensive experience as an internal auditor for ISO 27001 and software development. Read his practical insights on information and data security and privacy.

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