Backup and Recovery

When is a Backup Not a Backup?

Mike Melone
Content Marketing Manager, Own Company
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Since the dawn of civilization, the evolution of the human race has been recorded in various forms, from cave drawings to papyrus scrolls. In 48 B.C., a fire destroyed the great Library of Alexandria. Much of our recorded history was feared to have been lost…or so it was thought. Copies of some of these books were being protected by Arab and Jewish scholars in libraries across the Middle East. Some might call it the first “backup” system.

As impressive as it was for those scholars to preserve history, what's more remarkable is that they had the foresight to recognize a fundamental requirement of a backup: it must be kept off site and independent from one’s primary data. Otherwise, a "backup" isn't a backup at all.

Analysts overwhelmingly agree on the importance of independent backups. According to a whitepaper from IDC¹, “ is not possible to capitalize on the speed, scale, and innovation of SaaS platforms such as Salesforce without ensuring data availability, compliance, and protection outside of the native environment.” 

Additionally, Gartner defines enterprise backup and recovery solutions as “those that write the data out to an independent secondary location.”

Still not convinced? Let’s go back in time (again). 

The concept of offsite backups isn’t new

The ancient Romans notwithstanding, there are several modern examples of offsite backups as a tried and true best practice.

The historical "3-2-1" rule of backup states that an organization should have three copies of data on two different media, with one copy of the media placed off site. Starting in the 1950’s, a common way to achieve this was by using magnetic tape. Tape libraries housed drives and tape cartridges with entire backup data sets. For disaster recovery and business continuity purposes, companies would transport backup tapes to offsite locations, or carry tapes to secure vaults daily or weekly.

More recently, as companies have moved more and more of their data to the cloud, cloud-to-cloud backup has become the preferred offsite backup method. This method of backup, which Own provides, uses one cloud to back up data that is stored in another. Because backups reside in a different cloud from the primary copy of the data, they are insulated against cloud-level data loss events or data security issues.

For example, a natural disaster that destroys a primary data center would likely also destroy the on-site backup. By keeping your backups offsite, they are insulated from the incident. Similarly, in the cloud, if an outage or breach affects the primary cloud infrastructure, backups stored in a separate platform would remain safe and secured.

Offsite is good, but it doesn’t necessarily mean independent

Even if cloud backups are offsite and on a different server than the primary data, that doesn't necessarily mean they are independent. The distinction may be slight, but it is critical. 

For backups to be truly independent, they must be:

1. Stored separately from the primary data: Storing backups separately ensures that even if the primary data location becomes inaccessible, you can still retrieve and restore your data from the backup location. This helps maintain business continuity and minimizes downtime.

2. Accessed through a separate login than the primary data. Let’s say you are using your CRM platform to store your primary and backup data. What happens if the application is down or there is a service disruption? Think of it like this: if you took the precaution to store your primary data and backup data in two different rooms, it would be meaningless if you couldn’t get into the house in the first place. 

3. Stored with a different vendor than the primary data. Even if you were able to have two separate logins for your backups and production data, your backups still aren’t independent if they are being managed by a single vendor. This is because your backups are now likely tied into a contract with other solutions and products. If you want to negotiate or end a contract with that vendor, how would it impact your backups?

Protect your business with Own

From day one, Own has provided access to data independent of your ability to log in to your SaaS application, enabling your organization to resume important work and ensure continuity, productivity, and the ability to serve customers.

Over the last eight years, we've worked with nearly 6,000 SaaS customers, including 32% of the Fortune 100, to help them recover from data incidents tens of thousands of times. Time and again, those customers have turned to us not only because native backup solutions didn't meet their needs, but because they place extreme value on having independent access to their data at all times. 

For a company like Flowserve, for example, having this independent access to their Salesforce backups was a deciding factor in choosing Own. In Flowserve’s words, they needed Own and Salesforce to "act as separate heartbeats," and it was, therefore "fundamental that our backup be on a different platform than our production data."

Now, as essential as they are, independent backups are just one requirement of a real backup and recovery solution. Read our latest blog to learn what else to prioritize when looking for a solution.

¹IDC White Paper, sponsored by Own, The Business Value of Own, doc #EUR149856622, December 2022

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