This article answers the question, “how does managed server hosting secure your business systems?”
First, what is managed server hosting? Managed server hosting is an IT service provision model where a cloud service provider leases dedicated servers and associated hardware to a single customer and manages those systems on the customer’s behalf. Managed server hosting service providers are therefore responsible for hardware and software setup and configuration, technical support, patch management, system maintenance, monitoring, backup, and updates.
With managed server hosting, you don’t have to worry about losing your data. Experiencing unplanned periods of system downtime becomes a thing of the past. This is because backups are done automatically and secured by a reliable managed hosting provider. In addition, a managed hosting service provider will also have disaster recovery strategies in place to ensure fast recovery from any unforeseen disaster that leads to loss of data or system downtime.
Going unmanaged means your IT personnel is solely responsible for backing up your systems whether on-premise or on the cloud. This means that for various reasons such as lack of enough expertise, human error, hardware, and software errors, you may not back up your data efficiently and probably will lose some. Additionally, if you lose data or experience system downtime, your IT team is also responsible for taking measures to recover and prevent future occurrences.
Managing your own backup and disaster recovery measures is an expensive endeavor due to hidden unpredictable costs. This is in addition to the cost of managing on-premise systems for businesses that have not yet embraced the power of cloud computing.
Managed server hosting services
Management services are the difference between self-managed server hosting and managed server hosting. These services include;
- backups and disaster recovery;
- advanced security services, such as vulnerability scans, intrusion detection, and distributed denial-of-service prevention and mitigation;
- physical security measures for safeguarding data centers;
- configuration of software and hardware
- Updates, maintenance, and monitoring
- support for various business applications
- support for solving technical issues
Managed server hosting backup and disaster recovery services
A disaster is an unforeseen event that causes great loss, upset, or unpleasantness of any kind. Thus, by their very definition, disasters are inevitable and unpredictable. This is why businesses today have disaster recovery planning (DRP).
It is a document that contains approaches that describe how an organization can quickly resume work after an unplanned incident. They are usually in tandem with business continuity plans, an initiative to create a system of preventing and recovering from threats to the company.
Disaster recovery plans typically include the following:
- A full inventory of hardware and software in the organization
- Defined limits for downtime and data loss that highlight how much downtime or data loss the organization can tolerate
- Responsibilities of every participant involved in executing disaster recovery plans
- A communication plan during crisis management and recovery
- Descriptions of how to handle sensitive information
- Regular disaster recovery plan testing
Most if not all the time, businesses miss out on some of the above requirements, therefore, risking the continuity of the business. Read more on our complete guide to creating your business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) plan.
Backup vs. Replication
Understanding when to choose backup and/or replication is critical to choosing which solution best suits your organization. By definition, backup is where a copy or copies of files, images, or databases are sent to an external media or offsite location for storage in case your original data is lost or corrupted.
Replication refers to copying data and moving it between an organization’s primary environment and a secondary offsite disaster recovery location. Replication means having an exact replica of your physical or virtual system (servers), applications, and data in an offsite location.
Your primary location synchronizes with your replica at the offsite location. After the first replication, further replications will occur in periodic snapshots that will simply synchronize the changes that were made since the last replication.
Local vs cloud backup
There are two main types of backup that organizations employ today; local backup and offsite backup. Local backup methods include tape backup, NAS backup, backing up files, and images to an external hard or USB drive or even an extra laptop. Offsite backup is a backup that is away from your business premises which includes cloud backup, Google drive, or carrying home your local backup devices.
The pitfalls of local backup
- Corruption of backups – if you used CDs to back up your data, the data stored within may be corrupted with time and may be incompatible with newer systems.
- Security – Ease of portability of the physical media means they are easily vulnerable to theft
- Backtracking – You have to manually sort through each entry to find what was changed so that it can get backed up.
- Insufficient space as data continues to grow – Inevitably, you will run out of space with a local backup.
- Scheduling issues – You cannot back up a document currently being worked on with a local backup.
- Read-write speed comparison – The read and write speeds are atrocious compared to the cloud.
Backup is designed to provide data protection and archiving while replication is designed to reduce Recovery Time and Point Objectives (RTOs and RPOs) by providing very fast recovery. It ensures business-critical applications and systems are always available even after an outage.
When to choose backup or replication
The choice of either or both strategies for your disaster recovery plan is dependent on your priorities:
- Recovery Time Objective (RTO) – The amount of time your business can tolerate being down before services resume. This would be a priority for businesses with a high level of traffic, like an e-commerce site.
- Recovery Point Objective (RPO) – The amount of data you can tolerate losing before you can recover from your last valid backup. This would be a priority for businesses where consistency is key, like banks.
- Current systems and applications as well as their importance. These can be classified as business-critical or mission-critical.
Here’s how to use your recovery objectives to determine your business disaster recovery plan
- Backups focus on compliance and granular recovery while replication focuses on disaster recovery.
- They take more time and resources than replication and thus are done fewer times.
- Backups only secure your organization’s data but do not focus on backing up and restoring your entire production environment
Here’s a guide that will help you understand when to choose backup or disaster recovery as a service for your business.
In a perfect world, both backup and replication would work in harmony to prevent data loss in case of a disaster. However, if you must choose between either of the strategies, we recommend cloud data backup for businesses that require data consistency and security more than uptime, for example, a banking database with short recovery point objectives.
Replication (disaster recovery as a service) is suitable for businesses that cannot tolerate more than fifteen minutes of downtime, for example, Jumia or Amazon who have short recovery time objectives.
Managed Server Hosting is a subscription-based solution that includes disaster recovery measures that suit your organization’s needs. On managed hosting, you not only save costs but guarantee the security of your data not to mention the continuity of your organization.
More resources from Pepea
- The Solution in the Cloud – Managed Server Hosting
- On-premise vs. Cloud Management of Business Systems
- The Cost of Application Downtime
- Understanding Backup and Disaster Recovery as a Service
- Eliminating painful recovery objectives with Disaster Recovery as a Service
- Disaster Recovery – The pain of doing it yourself (DIY)
- Securing your business with cloud-based disaster recovery