Backup as a Service (BaaS)
Backup as a service definition
Backup as a service (BaaS) solutions offer cloud-based data backup and recovery capabilities without the presence of physical, on-premises hardware or appliances to host and run the backup infrastructure. Unlike traditional data protection solutions which require self-managed backup software, along with tapes, disks, and physical or cloud storage, BaaS enables IT admins and professionals to offload backup application hosting and management to a third-party cloud service provider.
Organizations simply connect to their BaaS solution to securely access, store, or recover data backup copies from a remote cloud location. This model helps reduces the upfront and operating expenses associated with owning, installing, operating and maintaining backup and restore applications.
With cloud adoption, backup evolved from its traditional role as simple copying of data to a remote location into a more sophisticated data protection and business continuity approach.
What is backup as a service?
BaaS is a SaaS-delivered solution that provides data protection and business continuity capabilities. Copies of primary, application, or on-premises data are stored in the cloud and are maintained in a usable form that enables faster recovery following a disruptive event. Data copies are verified for integrity and, in most cases, kept in immutable, air-gapped locations which are decoupled and separate from company networks. This isolation keeps backup copies out of the wrong hands and safe from accidental and malicious accidents. BaaS solutions can protect a range of workloads – with most vendors protecting SaaS or cloud application data. A more comprehensive BaaS solution will cover a range of workloads both on-premises and in the cloud. For protection of on-premises workloads, a resilient BaaS solution would enable making two copies of the data, one for faster onsite recovery and the other for sending to a secure air gapped cloud storage location. Companies today are using the cloud for a safe backup repository to leverage its scalability, security, and compliance capabilities.
What is backup as a service, and how does it work?
As noted earlier, BaaS solutions seek to reduce management overhead, while protecting against data loss. BaaS solutions help companies prepare to quickly return the business to normal conditions whether facing accidental deletion, data corruption, or ransomware attack. Prudent planning calls for solutions which enable for fast recovery of data, and the flexibility to rapidly restore backup copies whether kept onsite or in private/public cloud locations. Businesses need clear BaaS plans with details on the backup/restore processes, frequency and types of backup, testing and validating procedures, and protocols for data restoration and business continuity. During the entire lifecycle, special attention is needed to ensure robust security and adherence to regulatory requirements.
Types of backup managed by a backup as a service solution include:
- Full backup performs a complete copy of all data, or all content, on the devices designated as part of the backup process. This backup is performed at the start of implementing a backup policy.
- Incremental backup only copies the data that has changed since the last full backup job.
- A differential backup backs up all the data that has changed since the last full backup.
In addition to outlining backup frequencies, the backup policies and procedures should also include the recovery point objective (RPO) metric, which defines how far back the data will be restored. The RPO value places demands on the systems involved requiring more resources for shorter RPOs.
A robust BaaS strategy can include:
- Clarity of procedures and schedules that outline the frequencies of backups and clarify the ownership and responsibilities for each process.
- Choice of backup options to satisfy the needs of organizations in terms of the timing and frequency of backups.
- Redundancy of backup copies to ensure fast recovery with nearby copy and air gap protected second copy for other occasions, including malicious attacks.
- Protection of data copies and data by encrypting data in flight and at rest.
- Security with hardened, multi-layered controls to prevent unwarranted access and the lateral movement or loss of data.
In addition, Backup as a Service can be purchased by a company as a SaaS-delivered solution for which they manage the day-to-day backup operations.
Alternately, a Managed Service Provider can offer backup as a service as a fully-managed, white glove offering that includes additional services like support, or backup job operations and management.
Why is backup as a service important?
The amount of data created daily is staggering, and all of it must be stored and protected against loss. By 2025, it is estimated that 463 exabytes of data will be created each day.1 Users rightfully expect to have the data they need accessible and available around the clock. With a robust backup policy, businesses can back up and restore their data and protect it from potential loss.
In addition, because it does not require management and maintenance of the backup infrastructure, a BaaS solution can significantly reduce management costs and time spent, while reducing on-premises IT footprint.
Unintended disruption. Unintended data loss is inevitable. From data corruption, to application failure, to accidental user or admin error, businesses of all sizes must properly prepare for outages and data deletion events. Without a reliable data protection BaaS strategy in place, many businesses would suffer loss of vital data and extended disruptions and disaster recovery times. In short, BaaS is your best option for keeping the engines of your business running and brings them back to life faster in the event of an outage.
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Benefits of backup as a service
Digital data and applications are key drivers of business growth. Deploying a BaaS strategy is vital for protection against the potentially devastating impact of malicious data theft or negligent data loss.
Adopting and enforcing a backup policy can help enterprises in numerous ways:
- Cloud adoption. SaaS solutions revolve around simple subscriptions, predictable costs, and no large capital investments – making it an attractive and viable option for organizations today. Data protection is no different. BaaS data protection provides enterprise-grade protection with the same benefits and consumption model as existing SaaS solutions, capable of helping companies deliver on cloud-first initiatives, shed tech debt without sacrificing security, and rapidly deploy and scale.
- Reducing Capex. Another critical benefit is the ability to transition from capital expenditures to operating expenditures. Instead of incurring large, upfront expenses – BaaS customers enjoy the benefits of predictable and flexible pay-as-you-go models. BaaS is budget friendly. It frees assets tied up in on-premises infrastructure, as no hardware or appliances are required. Furthermore, BaaS is automated and lowers the IT overhead associated with managing traditional backup/restore applications. BaaS solutions can also be deployed in minutes, are remotely managed, and include maintenance and upgrades built in.
- Ultimate flexibility. BaaS relieves the burdens of daily backup and restore work. Deploy the solution in minutes, administer remotely, and leverage built-in, hassle-free upgrades and releases. No more need for saving, labeling and tracking; just set up your BaaS and focus on more valuable initiatives. Just set up, fire, and forget – knowing your backups are running without any user intervention. In addition to productivity gains, BaaS ensures data is protected and usable backup copies are security available in the cloud. This enables for rapid resumption of business following disruptive events. BaaS stores multiple copies for redundancy and enduring business continuity. In addition to that, BaaS allows access from anywhere.
- Data security and compliance. Companies can take advantage of available data encryption to protect data traversing the network or at rest. Data copies are further protected behind air gaps that keep them safe and separate from source and production data. Cloud providers also offer access management security services that guard against unauthorized access, as well as AI powered anomaly detection to spot ransomware and suspicious file patterns. Companies can also leverage the broad capabilities of the cloud to help with regulatory compliance, including HIPAA, GDPR, SOC2, and ISO 27001.
- All-inclusive storage. Industry-leading BaaS solutions offer effectively unlimited storage and unlimited retention built in. Businesses no longer have to worry about storage limits, egress charges, or hidden fees. Businesses get simple, transparent per user costs that dynamically grow with their business, while only paying for what they need.
Common use cases for backup as a service
Organizations of all sizes, especially SMBs, need protection against ransomware threats. Proper data protection allows customers to deploy solutions in everyday use cases:
- Cloud adoption. The cloud has reshaped how we work. In fact, transitioning from on-premises to cloud software is one of the fastest-growing company initiatives, helping to drive productivity, lower expenditures, and facilitate remote working. BaaS plays a significant role in this transformation, enabling businesses of all sizes to accelerate their journey to the cloud while comprehensively protecting invaluable data – no matter where it lives within the organization.
- Business continuity. With BaaS, businesses can protect all of their data and bring business back to life following unpredictable disruptions. It is also worth noting that companies can access their apps and data on the cloud in the event of trouble that renders on-premises resources inaccessible.
- Data protection. Without proper protection, your data remains susceptible to potential loss and corruption. A correctly implemented BaaS strategy preserves your data integrity and provides usable copies of lost or corrupted data. It also supports air-gapped copies for protection against malware.
- Disaster recovery. It is likely that all businesses and IT environments will face unexpected events that could cause data loss, corruption, or disrupt IT operations. Using a sound backup policy ensures recovery and return to normal with reduced risks due to unplanned disruptions.
- Backup SaaS data. It might surprise some users to learn that they are responsible for backing up data living in SaaS applications. Industry leading solutions, such as Microsoft 365 and Salesforce, offer highly available and performant applications. It is the customer’s responsibility to safeguard their own data coming to and leaving these applications. With an automated BaaS solution, businesses can comprehensively protect their SaaS app data securely with long-term retention – separate from source data.
- Regulatory compliance. Companies can use BaaS to respond to audits and demonstrate compliance with data regulations through proper documentation and reporting. Many cloud providers provide broad support for regulatory compliance standards, including HIPAA, PCI-DSS, and SSAE/SOC 2 Type 1.
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- Raconteur. Data in a Day Infographic.
- Entrepreneur April 2020. “FBI Sees Cybercrime Reports Increase Fourfold During COVID-19 Outbreak.”
- Ponemon Institute 2020. “Cost of Data Breach Report 2014-2020.”
- Call for Code October 2020. “The amount of data in the world doubles every two years.”
Tata Consultancy Services
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2023 Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ for Enterprise Backup and Recovery Software Solutions.