Your Guide to
Protecting Data in the Cloud

Why it's important and what it means to you

What Does It Mean to Protect Data in the Cloud?

The Evolution of Enterprise Data Protection

The all-encompassing data center is a thing of the past. Modern data environments are distributed and include remote and branch officesmobile devices, and cloud solutions such as Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). There is more critical data to back up than ever before. Plus, data silos and fragmented management mean poor visibility, which can make it difficult to comply with regional data residency and security rules as well as service-level agreements (SLAs). On-premises data protection has not kept pace and experts agree cloud-based data protection delivers improved security, recoverability, backup reliability, and reduced IT costs.

Transitioning to Data Protection in the Cloud

As a result of these shortcomings, organizations are increasingly moving away from on-premises data protection and backup, and shifting to a cloud-based approach. Cloud data protection refers to data partially or entirely backed up, stored, or managed in the cloud — regardless of whether these processes are done by the organization internally or by a third party. 

Data protection differs from security in that it typically refers to your data being backed up to be easily recovered in the event of loss (accidental or malicious) or corruption. Though often going hand-in-hand with data protection, security professionals also use this phrase to refer to the protection of primary data sources from malicious threats.

How Secure is Data Stored in the Cloud?

By 2024, close to half of IT spending on system infrastructure, infrastructure software, application software, and business process outsourcing will shift from traditional solutions to cloud. Cloud data protection enables the following:

  • Improved Physical Security. Cloud service providers have outfitted their physical premises with protective infrastructure and severely limited human access to critical servers. 
  • Continuous Monitoring. Automated, 24/7 security monitoring allows cloud service providers to identify anomalies, like potentially malicious bulk deletions, before they impact customer data. 
  • Frequent Security Audits. Cloud service providers conduct frequent security audits to ensure they’re using the latest best practices. 

Why Protect Sensitive Data with the Cloud?

Keep Critical Data Resilient

Cloud storage is designed for enhanced cloud data security to protect against malware and ransomware, as well as prevent malicious or accidental deletion. Cloud solutions back up data automatically without the need to manage local storage infrastructure and update backups only when certain files change (I.e., forever incremental). Automated infection monitoring helps teams locate when the infection first occurred and “roll back” to clean data.

Increase Efficiency and Scale

The cloud partially or entirely eliminates hardware and software. This means less to manage and maintain, and fewer time-consuming tasks for the IT team to perform. Patches and upgrades take place automatically with reduced downtime. Automated backups happen across the whole organization and initial deployment often takes only minutes.

Cut Management Costs, Break from Hidden Fees, and Save Big

Automated and always up-to-date, SaaS-based solutions free up resources while eliminating delays from capacity planning, hardware acquisition, software upgrades, patches, and more. Pricing is delivered on a consumption-based model where organizations only pay for what they use — without costly overage fees or rigid usage plans, many organizations appreciate the transparency and see savings up to 50% or more over their legacy solution.

What Types of Architectures Benefit from Cloud Data Protection?

Hybrid Cloud

The hybrid cloud uses a mix of on-premises servers and the public cloud to store data. The IT team manages the on-premises infrastructure and the cloud provider manages the public cloud. It helps eliminate the use of tapes for offsite storing of replicated data.

Hosted Cloud

The data is stored in the cloud, offsite, and managed by a third party on behalf of the organization. This is similar to remotely accessing data stored in on-premises servers. This setup allows an organization to reap some benefits of the public cloud without having to share the hardware resources or data. However, this approach is difficult to scale. You need to inform (and also pay) the third party if you want to upgrade or add hardware. This could add significant time to deploying new backup resources.

Cloud-native

Backup data is stored in data centers owned and operated by the public cloud provider. To protect data from site-level failures, errors, and threats, the stored data is auto-replicated across three or more availability zones within a region. This ensures that your data is always safe, available, and accessible from anywhere at any time. As the cloud eliminates the need of buying and maintaining backup infrastructure, it is the most cost-effective, agile, and easy-to-manage data protection method. The Druva solution is cloud-native and 100% SaaS.

Download the Definitive Guide for an in-depth Exploration of Cloud Backup

In this comprehensive guide, we examine the benefits of each cloud-based approach and contrast them with legacy on-premises backup. Explore the key features and more, download the guide.

10 Key Features of a Cloud Data Protection Solution

Industry experts advise against go-it-alone approaches to securing critical data in the cloud. Your team will need to partner with a proven third-party vendor like Druva to keep your workloads secure. However, new cloud offerings are coming to market daily and you should take time to evaluate their appropriateness for your particular enterprise and applications. But not all services are built to the same standards, nor will they necessarily meet your needs. 

The ideal cloud data protection platform should enable your organization to reduce data protection costs, improve cyber resilience, maintain compliance, and simplify the management and execution of cloud projects. With this in mind, we’ve developed the following 10 key principles of a cloud data protection service.

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Reliability and Availability

Ensure the provider is committed to well-defined SLAs for the resiliency and availability of your data without any compromise.The cloud data protection solution must perform the services you need when you need them — this depends on the two most important attributes of a modern cloud service: the system works consistently and, if it does fail, there’s an immediate backup. Your business processes won’t be interrupted.

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Zero-Trust Security

The zero-trust model — never trust, always verify — is a primary tenet of cloud security. So is the 3-2-1 rule: three copies of data (production and two backups) on two different media and one copy offsite, completely separate from the production environment. All data should be encrypted in transit and at rest. Check the provider enables identity and access management, RBAC, and audit trails.

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Compliance and Privacy

Making life easy is the overarching benefit of using a cloud-based data protection solution. You won’t have to worry about hardware, and the service automatically updates the application in the cloud without taxing your enterprise IT. But nobody can relax when it comes to compliance. Fines and lawsuits are too costly, and compliance policies need to be governed accurately over time. 

That’s why when you’re evaluating a cloud data protection provider, you have to be especially careful to ensure they take compliance as seriously as you do. Look for those with more than a decade of FedRAMP, HIPAA, and SOC 2 certifications.

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Data Localization and Multi-Regional Support

Data localization and residency concerns the physical location of data storage and how agencies and companies control access to the data. Typically, governments extensively regulate any data that may include personal, governmental, or legal information, and a cloud data protection provider has to be 100% aware of the complex state, country, and regional laws. Ensure your provider has a thorough understanding of, and strict adherence to, all local and country data protection regulations.

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Radical Simplicity

Cloud-native SaaS does away with a score of management tasks typical of traditional enterprise apps. In fact, ease of management is a sure way of telling if an app was designed from the start for the cloud. 

Adding cloud-connectivity features to a legacy application or service and rebranding it as “cloud-ready” is called cloud washing — it’s an obsolescent product and it’s not going to give you real cloud performance. Triple check to ensure the solution eliminates capacity management, system management, and software upgrades.

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Linear and Infinite Scaling

Your application should provide the same benefits regardless of how demand fluctuates. With a cloud application built on a cloud service provider’s virtually infinite capacity, both processing and storage resources can be automatically added and subtracted. Need more GPUs to process an AI model? Additional VMs can be allocated in seconds. Need more backup capacity? The sky’s the limit. A true cloud-native data protection solution automatically scales up and down to meet your needs. It is easy to deploy, run, and scale, so you can focus on delivering value to the business.

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Simplified Pricing and Lower Costs

Old architectures have been replaced with comparatively simple solutions. Deployment involves little more than connecting to the internet. And the price? Again, a fraction of what you’d pay for a legacy app that didn’t work half as well. Purchase the solution from a marketplace (such as AWS Marketplace), know exactly what you’re paying for, look for a history of price reductions, and understand its licensing.

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Network Optimization

Data sprawl is a simple fact of life for modern enterprise networks. Critically important enterprise data is stored in the cloud, on endpoints, and in data centers. Thanks to the cloud, it’s all connected. But to function efficiently, cloud resources need to be well architected for global deduplication and active bandwidth management.

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Data Portability and Disaster Recovery

With the cloud, data can now be stored exactly where it belongs and be accessible only by those who are properly authorized. Your business should be able to recover data quickly and easily anywhere when a disaster occurs with support to fail over to other regions without any manual steps.

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APIs that Enable a Healthy Partner Ecosystem

The ideal cloud data protection solution securely interacts with a variety of partners, working with identity and access management (IAM) services to apply policies and technologies that make sure only the right, credentialed people are interacting with your data and other resources. These include litigation and eDiscovery support tools for preserving content and metadata, author and recipient information, and other important file properties. It’s hard work, but it’s infinitely easier when using a pre-built integration.

6 Benefits of Protecting Your Data in the Cloud

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Improve security posture and observability

You need the ability to evaluate and improve your security posture and guarantee clear visibility into your data, wherever it resides. This includes a centralized, security dashboard with alerts to suspicious activities.

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Detect data anomalies
 

Ransomware attacks produce anomalies at the data level. Quickly identifying unusual data activity (UDA) helps you choose the right course of action during the recovery process, while detecting ransomware attacks.

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Identify malicious access attempts
 

Situational awareness of activity in your backup environment can help identify malicious actions, like unauthorized access or deletions. Observing actions by users or APIs before and during an attack provides important insights.

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Apply continuous monitoring
 

Continually monitor your backup environment to pinpoint out-of-the-ordinary issues.

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Implement rollback actions feature
 

Because credential compromise is common and attackers are sometimes able to circumvent your MFA system, it's important to be able to get backup data back, despite it being deleted using "authorized" admin credentials. Learn more about Druva's Rollback Actions.

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Get full visibility
 

You need complete visibility into backup security posture, data anomalies, and access attempts to protect your data, prepare for threats, and recover quickly.

Guide to a Swift, Painless Ransomware Recovery

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You've Got Ransomware... Now What?

The first step after a ransomware attack is to stop the spread of malware. Backing up then restoring corrupted files can take you back to square one by reintroducing ransomware to your systems. Your backup solution should have the ability to automatically quarantine affected resources to avoid reinfection while you work to understand the scope of your ransomware attack.

Second, you need to figure out where the attack started and how it spread. Understanding the time frame and details of the attack is vital to identifying the correct data to recover in the final step of this process. Collaboration between IT and security teams is key in this step of recovery. Your backups should provide historical information to your forensic analysis tools to expedite the process. Historical logs can be useful for tracking the progress of the malware, and catalog searches can identify when/where malware files arrived onto OneDrive, a VM, or a NAS share.

Validate Before Recovering

You should recover the most recent good version of your data with a combination of analytics and self-service. First, determine if your protection vendor can detect anomalies — this can immediately eliminate corrupted backups. Second, look at the distribution of file types across different backups and discard those with unusual backup types. Third, even after the recovery, users should be able to rapidly extract files from older backups with self-service restores.

Automation can also greatly reduce the manual effort necessary to accomplish this. AI technology has made it possible to identify the most recent clean version of every file or data set across the entire time frame of an attack, then compile them into a single snapshot so you can recover clean and complete data immediately. Use analytics, built-in malware scans, and test restores to ensure that you are ready.

Take the Next Step in Your Cloud Journey with Druva

Druva is the industry’s first and only at-scale 100% SaaS platform for data protection and cyber resilience. Reach out for a free, personalized demo to see for yourself how the cloud eliminates hardware, software, and operational complexity from your unique environment.

Or, get set up with a trial to test drive Druva’s leading platform for yourself — free for 30 days.

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