Image: RaStudio, Getty Images/iStockphoto

For the average modern business enterprise, operating in a highly competitive environment, procedures to securely and quickly back up vital and sensitive data are a necessity. In years past, businesses would spend extraordinary time and resources developing data backup plans and procedures. Details of these plans generally involved specialized servers or tape recorders, late-night batch operations, physical rotation of media, and myriad other tedious, repetitive procedures.

But cloud computing has changed all that. With cloud computing services like AWS Backup, businesses can contract for fast, reliable backup services on an as-needed basis. Under certain configurations, businesses may even opt to have their data securely stored in several different geographical areas for the sake of redundancy.

SEE: 2020 IT budget research report: Security, cloud services, and digitalization are top budget priorities (TechRepublic Premium)

Creating a workable and reliable backup plan with these services can be achieved with minimal training and effort. This tutorial shows you how to create a backup plan using the tools provided by Amazon’s AWS Backup service. Download the free ebook, AWS: 9 pro tips and best practices (free PDF).

Note: AWS Backup is not a standalone service from Amazon; it works in tandem with Amazon’s storage services like S3, Elastic File System, and Elastic Block Storage. You will need to have an active instance of one of these services provisioned and ready before AWS Backup can perform its role effectively. Essentially, AWS Backup provides the management services you need to create, implement, and maintain one or more backup plans for your organization. For this example, we will be setting up a backup plan using the AWS Console.

How to create a backup plan using AWS Backup

The first step is to log in to AWS using administrative credentials. From the AWS Management Console, click the Services tab and navigate to AWS Backup located under the Storage subcategory.

The AWS Backup dashboard (Figure A) shows the results of currently running backup plans. Using tools on this dashboard, you will be able to manage and control the details of dozens of data backup plans.

Figure A

Click the Manage Backup Plans button to see a list of current plans. As you can see in Figure B, there are no plans yet, so click the Create Backup Plan button.

Figure B

Creating a backup plan will require several decisions, and the first of which is whether to use an existing plan (Figure C). If you have established plans, you can use them as a basis for your new plan, which should save time. However, we are starting from scratch, so we will click Build A New Plan.

Figure C

Provide a unique name for your backup plan and then a unique name for the first rule of your backup plan (Figure D).

Figure D

Next, you will be asked to schedule a backup window (Figure E). You can opt to use the default window with a start time of 5:00 a.m. UTC and a duration of 8 hours, or you can set your own schedule.

Figure E

The next set of questions have to do with the life cycle of your backup plan (Figure F). In some situations, you may want to transition you backed up data into what AWS calls “cold storage,” where the data can no longer be modified. This is where you can set those parameters.

Figure F

You may also have a specific backup vault where you want to store your backup plans, but in general, you will want to use the default settings. There is also a section for adding tags to your backup plan, but that is beyond the scope of this article.

When you have completed making your backup plan, click the Create Plan button located at the bottom of the page. You will add information about resources to be used for this plan after the plan is created (Figure G).

Figure G

As mentioned above, AWS Backup works in tandem with other AWS services, so you will need to have an S3 or other storage instance provisioned and active before you can assign it as a resource for your backup plan.