The 10 best features of Azure Backup

Hot air balloon in a cloudy blue sky

Backups are an important part of a disaster recovery (DR) plan, as they ensure that you can recover any lost data. Traditionally, physical backup tapes were the popular choice but with advances in cloud computing we are now seeing a lot of cloud backup solutions on the market.

We want to have a look at Microsoft’s Azure Backup solution, as this cloud model has a great number of advantages that are worth considering.

We’ve chosen our top ten features in Azure Backup:

1. No more tapes:
Physical tapes can be notoriously risky. Statistics fly around often: 71% of tape restores fail, 75% of organisations experience tape failures, etc. The numbers and the validity can vary but whatever the statistics are, cloud backups remove a number of associated tape risks, such as hardware failure and possibly most importantly, human error. Tapes require human intervention so by moving to a cloud backup solution, you do not need to worry about doing anything other than setting up your automations – saving you time.

2. Cost effective
For many, cost is the key factor, which can sometimes be chosen in compromise over another important aspect, such as security or scalability. Luckily, Azure Backup is cost effective and technically effective! Azure uses a ‘pay as you go’ method and as a cloud solution removes any costs associated with hardware, upgrades, setup and costs associated with staff hours involved in maintaining the solution.

3. Simple costings
There are no upfront costs and no termination fees, so you only pay for what you use. As Azure Backup is also a complete backup solution you won’t need to pay for any add-ons, so your backup budget is a set figure every month and won’t change unless you change your storage or service. As well as being easy to manage, it also moves more IT spend into Opex budgets – keeping your finance department happy!

4. Space that grows instantly
You only pay for what you use and you can instantly add or remove space when needed so you have access to as much space as you need depending on your current requirements. This has a great advantage over tapes because if you need more storage then you can immediately get more storage and only start paying for it when you use it, making it highly scalable.

5. Your control
You dictate the policies and timings so you still have complete control over how your data is backed up. We always recommend data backups being taken during off-peak hours (such as overnight) and will can also help to work out the best regularity to take data backups.

6. 99.9% SLA
As with any Microsoft cloud service, you can enjoy their 99.9% financially-backed service level agreement (SLA) so you have the peace of mind and a service guarantee.

7. Keep your data for 99 years
Your data can be kept in Azure for up to 99 years… yes, nearly a century’s worth of data if you want it! You define your individual businesses data retention policy to ensure that data is kept for the agreed amount of time required for your company – whether its 10 years, or even 99!

8. Incremental backups
Azure Backup uses some of the latest efficiency strategies to make your data backup as effective and efficient as possible. One of these methods is taking incremental backups, which is a great feature as it only takes the latest changes since the last backup. The benefits of this are that you have to backup far fewer files so you can backup more regularly, it will take much less time and it will also require much less storage and bandwidth.

9. Geo or local
You can finally choose if you would like your data to be locally-replicated or geo-replicated. Let’s say you’re a UK business: your data is most likely going to be stored in the Dublin data centre. If you choose locally-replicated storage, then you will have 3 copies of your data stored in the Dublin centre. If you choose geo-replicated storage, then you will have 3 copies in that data centre and 3 copies in another data centre. For UK businesses this would be Dublin and Amsterdam. (You can choose to have it stored in non-EU data centres but you will have to be aware of the legalities such as the Safe Harbour agreement).

10. Top security
Azure uses all of the latest security features available and Microsoft are continually updating and innovating in the security field. Azure has dedicated teams, as well as dedicated R&D funding and there are actually the 3rd biggest R&D spender worldwide so you know that their security will always be using the latest technologies and methods. If you want to know about the security in more detail have a look at our article on it here or visit Microsoft’s dedicated Azure Trust Centre here.