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Remote Office/Branch Office Backup & DR: How to do it right

With a major portion of the global workforce working from home, remote office/branch office (ROBO) backup and disaster recovery (DR) has become equally as important as main branch data protection; if not more. However, ensuring data protection for multiple globally dispersed endpoints tends to be challenging, complex, and rather costly.

If done right, remote office/branch office backup and recovery can be seamless and cost-effective. In other words, the possible downside turns into a valuable asset where business owners fully utilize their data and get more value.

In this blog post, we take a closer look at what challenges or problems to expect when dealing with remote office/branch office backup and DR projects and how to overcome them.

Remote Office/Branch Office Backup & DR: How to do it right
When starting a remote office/branch office backup and DR project, the first question you’ll need to answer is: “Off-site backups or on-premises backups?” But this isn’t an either-or question. For some businesses, off-site backups work; for others, on-premises are great.

What works for your business-model depends on your requirements, budget, and project objectives. Which is why at StoneFly, we prefer to talk to our customers and understand their projects first before suggesting a solution. Need help with ROBO backup and DR? Contact us.

When comparing off-site data backups to on-premises backups, it goes without saying that backup data stored on-premises provides higher IOPS. However, there are pros and cons to both.

On-premises data backup Off-site data backups
Faster read/write speeds; great for hot-tier and frequently accessed data backups. Read/write speed suitable for infrequently accessed data and archived data
Store hot-tier backups locally and older copies in public/private cloud (hybrid backup and DR) Consolidate backup data from dispersed locations to a secure centralized public/private cloud
Requires onsite IT staff, management, and maintenance No need for constant management or maintenance
Custom-built to support your projects and requirements Choose from available storage options in public clouds or build a private cloud as per your needs
Requires upfront investment depending on the hardware specifications and vendor Minimum upfront costs
Long-term ROIs pay off investment(s) Pay-as-you-go payment model reduce financial implications and make investment(s) more manageable

 

Ransomware, Hackers, & Malicious Attackers

Remote Office/Branch Office Backup & DR: How to do it right
Arguably, one of the biggest challenges with remote office/branch office backup and DR is ransomware. Ransomware target data stored in remote branch offices and also the data being transferred to/from remote and main sites.

The reason why ransomware, malware, and hackers target data being transferred is that most conventional infrastructure secures data at rest but VPNs or RDPs do not provide adequate data security.

With each attack, ransomware and malicious attackers grow more sophisticated. Engineered to target known vulnerabilities, these threats are becoming a bigger challenge for legacy backup and DR service providers. With that in mind, when choosing a solution and service provider for your remote data backups, be sure to choose one that offers capable ransomware protection capabilities such as air-gap, Write-Once Read-Many (WORM), and object lockdown.

Error-Prone Manual Backup & Recovery Processes

Conventional backup processes involve storage administrators manually backing up critical volumes to tape libraries and keeping track of which data goes where. Regardless of the experience and skill set, due to the manual nature of the process and the human-element it relies on, the process is error-prone and a security risk to the organization.

Legal Implications & Compliance

Remote Office/Branch Office Backup & DR: How to do it right
Depending on the industry, regulations like HIPAA, FedRAMP, CJIS, etc. require organizations to make sure client data is always available and recoverable in the event of a disaster. Additionally, big or small, organizations often find themselves involved in legal issues where they have to present data to courts. Without the right backup and DR solution, gathering data from multiple remote endpoints tends to be time consuming, expensive, and puts the organization at legal risk.

Furthermore, manual processes make it nearly-impossible to properly index data which in turn makes it a time consuming process to retrieve and access data when necessary.

How to overcome remote office/branch office backup & DR challenges

Here’s what you can do to overcome the common remote office/branch office backup and DR challenges discussed above:

Hybrid backup & DR: on-premises + off-site data backups

Remote Office/Branch Office Backup & DR: How to do it right
For organizations with multiple remote offices, hybrid backup and DR delivers the perfect combination of data protection and cost-effectiveness using both on-premises infrastructure and cloud storage.

With an on-premises appliance in each site for hot-tier backup data and integrated cloud storage you’re able to recover critical workloads quickly and archive older copies affordably. Not only does hybrid backup and DR secure your workloads effectively but also improves overall ROIs.

Furthermore, you can choose to store your remote office/branch office backup data in a centralized public/private cloud which in turn enables you to facilitate collaboration and simplify asset management.

In other words, hybrid backup and DR delivers the best of both worlds for your remote office/branch office data protection.

Must-Have Data Protection Capabilities for Remote Office/Branch Office Backup & DR

Remote Office/Branch Office Backup & DR: How to do it right
The following data protection features enable you to protect your remote assets from threats like ransomware, hackers, and malicious attackers:

  • Air-gapped backups: Isolated detachable target storage repositories that are “turned-off” (detached) by default. The repositories can be “turned-on” (connected) manually or automatically by setting policies. As these repositories are detached by default, ransomware, hackers, and other threats cannot access the data stored in them. (learn more)
  • Write-Once Read-Many (WORM): Highly secure target storage repositories that allow reading but limit writing, overwriting, editing, and deletion. The data stored in WORM volumes is safe from ransomware as it cannot be overwritten, edited, encrypted, or deleted.
  • S3 object lockdown: Similar to WORM volumes, S3 object lockdown allows unlimited read-access and limits writing, overwriting, editing, and deleting for S3 object volumes. This implies that the data stored in locked S3 volumes is also safe from threats like ransomware, hackers, and malicious attacks.
  • Immutable Snapshots: Scheduled hourly, daily, or weekly snapshots of your storage volumes, which cannot be edited, deleted, or overwritten. With the immutable snapshots, you can easily brush off ransomware attacks by recovering your data using the latest copy.

In order to deliver a seamless backup and recovery experience, StoneFly offers all of the abovementioned features, and more, as part of our backup and DR solutions.

Automate Remote Office/Branch Office Backup and Recovery

Instead of relying on time consuming and error-prone manual backup and recovery processes use backup and DR services that automate daily and repetitive tasks.

Examples of daily backup and recovery tasks that can be automated include:

  • Hourly, daily, weekly backup jobs and snapshots
  • Backup data integrity checks – making sure that data has backed up correctly and can be recovered when needed.
  • Creating multiple copies of backup data for redundancy and high availability (3-2-1 rule)
  • Transferring older backup copies from hot-tier data to cost-effective capacity tiers

By automating repetitive tasks, not only do you save time and money but also minimize human error.

Compliant Remote Office/Branch Office Backup and Recovery

The best way to make compliance seamless is to use reliable and battle-tested enterprise backup and DR solutions with advanced data protection capabilities.

StoneFly backup and DR solutions are a prime example of that as our products have been deployed in US Navy Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) and Virginia Class Nuclear Submarines and are trusted by government departments and market leaders worldwide. (Customer list)

Best Remote Office/Branch Office Backup and DR with StoneFly and Veeam

As a longstanding Veeam partner, StoneFly offers turnkey backup and recovery solutions that simplify remote office/branch office data protection, compliance and deliver great value for the best price.

Deployment Options: Cloud-Only, Hybrid: On-Premises + Off-Site Backups

StoneFly backup and DR products can be deployed as:

Cloud Backup & DR

For organizations looking to set up backup and recovery with minimum to no-hardware for their remote office/branch offices, StoneFly provides a complete package that includes:

  • Veeam agents installed on each remote office/branch office infrastructure (Windows, Linux, VMware & Hyper-V).
  • Virtual StoneFly Smart cloud gateway installed on each remote office/branch office infrastructure.
  • Cloud storage in Azure, AWS, any other S3 cloud or StoneFly private cloud for off-site backup data storage.

The Smart cloud gateway maps cloud storage to Veeam software which enables capabilities such as direct restore to Azure, direct VM spin up in Azure, replication to StoneFly private cloud, and more.

CDR365 for Remote Office Backups

For organizations looking for an alternative to Veeam, or a less technical and complex backup and recovery option for their remote branch backups, StoneFly offers CDR365 software. The CDR365 provides:

  • User agent(s) that can be installed on servers, desktops, and virtual environments (VMware & Hyper-V) in remote office/branch offices.
  • Web-based application for IT managers that allows effective monitoring and control of CDR365 user agents installed on home offices and remote branches.

With the backup software, users can backup files, folders, application, and database data locally or store backups in the cloud (Azure, AWS, other S3 compatible clouds and StoneFly private cloud).

CDR365 pricing starts from $5 per workstation and $10/TB cloud storage. (learn more)

On-Premises Appliances + Off-site Backup

For remote branch offices with room for physical appliances, StoneFly offers the following choice of on-premises backup and DR appliances:

Both the DR365V and miniBackup come with built-in cloud connect to Azure, AWS, S3 cloud, and StoneFly private cloud, data protection features, and storage optimization features.

Summary

The most common challenges to expect when setting up backup and recovery for remote office/branch offices and employees working from home include:

  • Choosing between off-site backups and on-premises backups
  • The growing threat of ransomware, hackers, & malicious attackers
  • Risk of losing data due to error-prone manual backup and recovery processes
  • Legal implications and compliance challenges of securing multiple globally dispersed endpoints

To overcome these challenges, you can:

  • Set up hybrid backup & DR: on-premises + off-site data backups
  • Secure remote office/branch office data with advanced data protection features such as air-gap, WORM, immutable snapshots, and S3 object lockdown.
  • Automate repetitive remote office-branch office backup and recovery tasks
  • Use compliant and reliable backup and recovery solutions

StoneFly offers backup and recover solutions with all of the above capabilities and more.

If you’re looking for cloud-only backup and DR, then you can get:

  • Veeam + StoneFly cloud storage in Azure, AWS, or other S3 clouds: Deploy Veeam agents on each remote office/branch office and store backup data in a centralized and secure cloud storage.
  • StoneFly CDR365 with local + cloud storage in the cloud of your choice: Deploy CDR365 agents on remote office/branch office infrastructure, manage all CDR365 agents with an easy-to-use management interface, and store backup data in a secure and affordable cloud storage.

For organizations looking to set up hybrid backup and recovery, StoneFly offers:

Need help with remote office/branch office backup and recovery?

Contact us to discuss your projects today:

Email:                  sales@stonefly.com

Phone:                 +1 510 265-1616

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