As discussed in Nodal’s earlier coverage of backup solutions for your facility, it is crucial to maintain a second copy of all your critical data to protect against loss. Equipment failure, theft, disaster, and user error can all cause vital information to be deleted or destroyed, and data recovery operations are expensive and not always reliable.
For many users, maintaining an onsite backup can be cost- and space-prohibitive. Backup servers are expensive, and drive-based backup solutions take up increasing space over time. In these situations, a cloud backup solution provides an excellent trade-off in terms of cost, scalability, and ease of management. The only downside is that your facility’s internet speed limits how quickly data can be posted to or recovered from the cloud (the former especially on asymmetric connections with lower upload speeds).
There are several cloud backup solutions from which to choose. Based on our internal testing, Nodal recommends Backblaze, a provider that offers data backup for workstations and laptops on a per-system basis, and a scalable cloud storage solution for NAS and server backup.
For important workstations and laptops, Backblaze offers unlimited storage on a per-computer basis. All data on the system - including any stored on external hard drives - can be backed up. Data gets uploaded to Backblaze’s cloud servers, with the option to manage upload speeds to facilitate faster backups and a 30-day rollback history to recover old file versions or data that was deleted from the source system. Computer backup prices out at ~$60 per year per system.
For most facilities, critical data isn’t stored on the workstations, but on a central server or NAS device. Backblaze integrates with other cloud services such as Amazon S3 and Microsoft Azure, though it also features its own dedicated cloud service called B2. This serviceis billed on a per-gigabyte basis, meaning you only pay for data storage you need and allows for scaling as your data needs grow. The cost for B2 is $0.005 per gigabyte per month for storage and $0.01 per gigabyte to download data off the cloud.
Another advantage to Backblaze’s cloud solution is its integration with a wide variety of server and backup solutions, allowing for an easy and painless transfer of data. Notable integrations include Synology, QNAP, Retrospect, Cyberduck, Facilis, FreeNAS, and more. Regardless of what sort of server or NAS you employ, interfacing with B2 is simple and straightforward.
Security and Availability
As always, security is a concern when storing critical data on a cloud solution. The cloud’s accessibility and convenience are its biggest selling points, but they also provide an avenue for bad actors to access your private information.
To counter these intrusion threats, Backblaze features a two-factor authentication system, deliverable either via SMS or to an authenticator app on your phone or another mobile device. Backblaze does not store login information as-is; instead it uses a ‘hash and salt’ procedure that prevents passwords from being read in the event of a data breach. Upon upload and download, data is transferred using the secure HTTPS protocol, ensuring data cannot be read while in transit. Backblaze is agnostic toward what data is uploaded, meaning users can employ a third-party system to encrypt data before sending it to the cloud, making any information unreadable without decryption.
Backblaze strives for maximum service availability, seeking to deliver on service requests for 99.9% of any calendar month. If availability drops below 99.9%, users are eligible to service credits based on the amount of time the service was unreachable.
For more information on how to deploy Backblaze for your workstation and server backups, contact Nodal! Check out the Backblaze site for a full rundown of features and pricing, as well as the complete B2 integrations list.