Do I need to back up my cloud data?

Do I need to back up my cloud data?

The short answer is ‘yes’. Just because data is stored in the cloud, doesn’t mean it is automatically backed up.

In recent years, more and more businesses are opting to store their data in cloud storage. It is often the easiest and surest way to securely store your files, emails and documents as well as being an ideal option if the sheer volume of your business's data threatens to overwhelm local storage.

However, it is a common misconception that if your business files are stored in the cloud using a SaaS solution (software as a service), such as Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive, Dropbox etc., then they are completely immune to disaster, with no chance of files being lost or unrecoverable.

Companies including Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace place the responsibility of backing up your data firmly on your shoulders.

Although data stored in cloud servers are largely protected from hardware failure, there are still plenty of risks to your storage if you don’t backup your cloud data elsewhere. Each of these risks could not only cause significant downtime for your workforce, but could also have disastrous reputational and financial consequences to your business if data is lost or stolen. If you need more convincing, here are five key reasons why backing up your business’s cloud storage is essential.

1. Accidental deletion/overwriting of data

Whether data saved in your business’ cloud server is accidentally deleted due to human error, or on purpose to remove duplication of data, shut down user accounts or safeguard sensitive information, if your data isn’t backed up via a third party solution, then your files may be lost permanently.

Furthermore, some SaaS providers such as Google Workspace allow multiple people to work simultaneously on the same file, which can help improve efficiency and productivity, however, this increases the likelihood of an employee accidentally overwriting important data. Despite Google Workspace having version control that tracks changes to documents, it is still difficult to revoke changes made by a specific user. Having a backup solution would immediately negate this situation.

2. Lost or stolen devices

With many SaaS providers, employees are able to stay signed in to their accounts on multiple devices including their personal devices. If any of these devices were to be stolen or lost, then all your company files could instantly be in the hands of criminals. Without the necessary backup, this could ultimately lead to the deletion of the only copy of your files.

Since the vast majority of files are shared and stored within the SaaS cloud storage, unless employees have copies of these files saved to their devices locally or on their own personal cloud accounts, then this data could be lost forever.

3. Ransomware

Ransomware attacks can be devastating to a business and data stored in the cloud is not immune to hackers. Cyber criminals only have to send a phishing email with a virus attachment around to everyone in your organisation and wait for an unsuspecting employee to click on the link. Once they get access, they can spread throughout your network and encrypt your data, holding it ‘hostage’ until a payment is made, with the threat of permanently deleting files if demands are ignored.

The only foolproof way of ensuring your files can't be permanently lost due to ransomware is to have a completely separate data storage solution which holds all the files your company would miss if they were lost.

4. Legal compliance litigation

For regulations such as GDPR, it is often required by law for an organisation to hold complete data records for a number of years, particularly for industries which hold sensitive information such as law firms and healthcare organisations. This encompasses all data including emails, documentation and images etc. and is often required to be held from the moment a business starts up to ensure they have a complete record to refer to if any issues arise. If a business's cloud storage has not been sufficiently backed up and crucial files are mistakenly lost or unrecoverable, then this could be catastrophic to an organisation, particularly if the small print of their liability insurance only covers them if data is securely backed up.

5. Retention gaps

Even if some SaaS applications, such as Microsoft 365, claim to back up a portion of your data, it is only for a short period of time and it is far from a foolproof solution. SaaS providers even themselves recommend that you invest in a third-party to backup your cloud data, recognising their retention policies and backup services are unable to handle, for example, threats of corruption to your entire system from malware. This is another reason why it is essential that you backup your data elsewhere and should invest in a ‘point-in-time’ backup and restoration solution, which will allow you to revert back to a point-in-time before any issues or mistakes arose as well as store all your business’s data without gaps or time limits in retention.

No matter what industry your business falls into, you cannot afford to rely solely on your SaaS provider to store the only copy of your data. The risks are too many and the consequences are too high. Backing up your cloud storage is a no-brainer. It is essentially an insurance policy against disaster and also aids in maintaining business continuity.

If you would like to talk to someone about backing up and securing your businesses SaaS files, calendars and email data, and find out how we at Counterpoint can help you achieve this, then please get in touch.

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