Rethink Your Backup Strategy

July 26, 2022By David Ball

Chelsea Rodgers, Wasabi’s director of channel marketing and recent recipient of CRN’s 2022 Women of the Channel Award, recently sat down with Kena Johnson, host of The Channel Company’s Pardon the Integration podcast, to discuss the history and current state of backup and recovery, the challenges customers face today, and the role that cloud storage services such as Wasabi play in solving those problems.

The following excerpt from that discussion is printed with permission by The Channel Company.

Kena Johnson: Historically, how have your customers approached backup?

Chelsea Rodgers: Traditionally our customers have approached backup by backing their data up either to an on-premises storage area network (SAN) or a NAS device, or even off-premises onto something like LTO tape. But most organizations are still not leveraging the cloud as part of their backup strategy. And in the world of ransomware and security threats that are popping up every day, it's really important to have another copy available in the cloud should you need it.

Kena: Why are the current approaches to backup not keeping up?

Chelsea: Aside from the obvious physical disaster, like a fire or a flood or a hardware failure, which can result in total data loss if you're storing your backups in the same location as your primary data, the real challenge with traditional backup approaches is scalability. With storage hardware, you consistently have to monitor your storage consumption so that you don't run out of space. So, you need to be ahead of data growth or you're forced to delete data. You don't want to do that. Data can be the lifeblood of your business. If there's anything that we've learned in the last 10 years, it’s that massive data growth has turned into new revenue streams. And we've actually really seen that with our customers that have switched to Wasabi. They've recognized new revenue streams because they were able to save data they would have otherwise deleted just because it was cost prohibitive.

Kena: What are the critical factors in developing a backup strategy?

Chelsea: So, we're big fans of the 3-2-1-1-0 Rule. We really consider it the gold standard and it's something we encourage all of our customers to follow. So the rule is three copies of your data on two different media, one off-site, and one immutable copy. And then that zero is zero errors–making sure that those backups that you're doing are working correctly. The worst time to test your backups is when you need to restore that data in a real-world scenario. By leveraging that rule, you're making sure that you’ve covered all your bases. Having that one immutable copy off-site as one form of media checks all the boxes. You can do that with Wasabi. And you have that air-gapped copy that's immutable to protect yourself from ransomware attacks.

Kena: What are the challenges with subscription flexibility?

Chelsea: With every subscription model, whether it's your subscription to a gym or your backup subscription, you always want to find a solution that can be flexible. You don't want to be constrained by a decision that you made a year ago or three years ago. The technology market is constantly changing and you should be able to change your business model and your technologies along with it. There's a true opportunity cost to being locked into a service that becomes obsolete over your contract period. So, finding subscription models or technology solutions that don't lock you in or have flexibility allows you to change and be the most flexible and easy partner to work with for your customers.

Kena: Chelsea, how can MSPs ensure that they are offering their customers the most cost-effective choice without hidden fees?

Chelsea: Hidden fees for things like API requests and egress fees are really the gotcha of cloud storage service. Organizations hope they never actually have to restore their backup data. Those are in emergency cases. But if they do, getting hit with those steep fees when they do need to retrieve their data adds insult to injury. And it can break their storage budget for the year. Those hidden fees have really created an aversion in the market to cloud storage services, which is why when we developed Wasabi, we chose to eliminate those fees and make our pricing really predictable. We just don't believe it's fair to hold your data hostage. It's your data and you should be able to download and retrieve it when you need it.

Kena: What challenges do companies face when choosing the right backup?

Chelsea: One thing we see a lot as a storage vendor is the customer or the partner only considering the actual backup application–storage is an afterthought. Choosing a backup solution that includes storage bundled in as a service has its advantages. It's easy, they don't have to evaluate two different vendors. But it tends to hide the actual cost of storage and what they're charging. So the cost for actual storage tends to be astronomically more. Should you have chosen two best-of-breed solutions, a backup and a storage solution that integrate seamlessly? And then, of course, you need to consider security features. You choose a backup solution for security reasons and security features like object lock and immutability support… it goes back to that golden rule of the 3-2-1-1-0. One of those copies should be air-gapped and you want to choose a backup solution that offers that functionality, that has a backup option to the cloud that offers object lock so that your data is protected and encrypted against ransomware.

Kena: How Can Wasabi Help? How can you modernize your strategy without getting locked into a contract?

Chelsea: The key really is flexibility and terms. So, again, as we've learned from COVID, you need the ability to be flexible and to pivot as your customers' needs change and as technology changes. With our pay-as-you-go pricing model, you're not locked into a contract at all. You simply pay for the amount of storage you're consuming on a monthly basis. And because we don't charge for egress fees, your pricing is very predictable so you don't feel like month-to-month you don't know what to expect on your invoices. And because we don't charge those fees, you can take your data elsewhere if you feel like you're not happy with our service. It doesn't happen very often, but you're allowed to download your data and take it with you and we're not going to charge you a hefty fee to leave us so you don't feel like you're locked in.

Kena: What is the most cost-effective option for your customers?

Chelsea: Our focus at Wasabi is 100 percent on storage. We don't offer any other services so we can provide the most cost-effective, secure, and performance storage solutions for your backups. Our two pricing models offer flexibility and cost savings to our competitors. We're typically about 80 percent less expensive than other storage services like Amazon. Our pay-as-you-go model, as I mentioned, is a monthly based subscription. It's $6 per terabyte. And you pay as you consume it monthly. And then our RCS model offers even greater discounts because you can purchase a chunk of storage up front for either one, three, or five-year terms and use that storage over the term as you need it. The beautiful thing about the cloud is that it's scalable, so if you happen to go over the amount of storage you purchased, we simply just add-on to your storage. It never stops you from growing. And we don't charge any additional costs for our object lock and immutability functionalities. You get those additional security benefits without having to pay for them.

Kena: How do Wasabi and partners make it easy for customers to back up their data?

Chelsea: That's a great question. We've built out our platform using the S3 standard API which allows Wasabi to integrate with nearly any application that speaks the S3 API. We validated our technology with over 350 technology applications including all the leading backup vendors like Veeam, Rubrik, Commvault, and Cohesity. This allows our customers to choose the right solution for them and take advantage of our affordable, fast, and secure cloud storage for their backups.

You can watch the complete Pardon the Integration podcast here.

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