Making the Case for Cloud-To-Cloud Backup

July 25, 2016 Logan Bibby

As we move into the information era, data becomes a foundational element of  business. Data is collected, stored, and analyzed allowing businesses to gain  a new depth of insight into their customers and their habits with an endless  amount of possibilities to grow their business in a smarter, more agile way. This data needs to be available around the clock to ensure the operational  success of the business.

Data that once lived in basements and backrooms is being moved to cloud- based servers and SaaS applications. Historically, data backup has always  been a key component of any IT strategy – whether it was stored on floppy disks, duplicate servers, or in custom built applications. With this shift to the  cloud, backup shouldn’t be taken out of the strategy; rather, it should be re-thought to be more adaptable and cost-effective – the same reason you  moved to the cloud in the first place.

But isn’t the Cloud Already Backed Up?

There is a common misconception that the cloud is backed up. However, while Amazon, Google, and Salesforce all have disaster recovery plans for  the data they store on their servers, is that the only way you think you’ll be  affected by data loss?

It’s more likely that an employee is going to delete  something they end up needing two weeks later than the possibility of all of Google’s servers being destroyed by a tornado. Google and Salesforce both  have limited functionality when it comes to getting your data back if it is lost  for reasons other than hardware failure or disasters. In fact, Salesforce has a  high cost associated with recovering your data and it can take up to 15 days.

These applications usually aren’t the responsible party for your data loss, but  they aren’t built to protect you against accidental or malicious actions either.  In other words, if the data loss is your fault, you’re out of luck in most cases  unless you have your own backup solution.

How Can I Lose Data?

Data loss has serious implications for businesses affected. The Cloud  Security Alliance listed the Top 9 Cloud Security Threats and rated Loss of  Data as the #2 most severe threat, up from #5 in 2010. For businesses that  sustain data loss, statistics show that 60% of those companies will be out of  business within 6 months of the disaster.

  • Accidental Deletion and User Mistakes. More often than not, data is deleted only for the user or organization to later  realize that it is actually still needed. A collaborator might accidentally delete  a shared project, or you might delete a scrapped project and then later learn  it is starting up again. Information can also unknowingly be overwritten or  corrupted by users and third party apps.
  • Over-Writing Data. SaaS applications hold large amounts of data that are constantly added to  and updated. Over-writing data is a common problem that occurs when large  data sets are imported into the application via bulk uploads or when integrated  third party applications are used to manage the data inside the base SaaS  application.
  • Malicious Actions. People often delete data before they quit, if they suspect they are going to  be fired, or to spite a boss or coworker they are angry at. Hackers can also  be the culprit, surpassing security systems to delete or corrupt data. Whether  internal or external, untrustworthy people are a reality.

How Common is Data Loss?

In their report entitled “SaaS Data Loss: The Problem You Didn’t Know You  Had,” the Aberdeen Group cites that 32% of companies surveyed lost data  from within a SaaS application. That means more than one in every three  companies lose data in the cloud.

In a similar report by Forrester titled, “Back Up Your Critical Cloud Data Before  It’s Too Late” it was stated that companies were steadily increasing their use  of SaaS applications. According to Rachel Dines, the analyst who wrote the  report:

As more critical data is deployed in the cloud, it’s time for I&O leaders  to be proactive and invest in mitigating these risks instead of waiting for data  loss to occur.

If there is one thing that the above statements have in common, it’s that the  use of SaaS applications is growing but data loss within those apps is also  increasing at a steady pace. Companies are investing more and more of their  data in SaaS applications, and protecting those investments should be a  priority.

We live in the era of ‘now’: Your customers expect data and services – both  on-premises and in the cloud – to be available immediately whenever and  wherever they require them. Waiting for days or weeks for the recovery of lost  data or being informed that data is unrecoverable is unacceptable for most  end users.

How Do I Prevent Data Loss from Causing Business Disruption?

We suggest a layered approach to protecting your  company’s data, which involves all or a combination of the following  measures:

  • Good data management processes
  • SaaS application training
  • Robust password policies
  • Automated backup with easy recovery

Good data management processes means putting procedures, policies and  checklists in place specific to SaaS applications. They could be focused on  instances such as times of high-volume data or when users join and leave  a company. Users should be thoroughly trained in order to understand the  purpose of the application and the role the data plays in the success of the  organization. Passwords should always be robust and changed frequently.

All of these measures help to minimize the instances when data is lost,  however, none replace your data once it’s gone. That is why having an  automated daily backup solution can help businesses “set it and forget it” – and having some type of backup should be critical to your overall cloud  strategy. The result is that your information is readily available when you need  it, including in an instance of user error and deletion, allowing you to easily  restore data with minimal business interruption.