Written by Philip Magson
I’ve made no secret of how important the cloud is when it comes to protecting your business from disaster – but moving your professional data to a virtual environment doesn’t mean you’ll be able to just sit back and ignore threats. Backing-up in the cloud remains every bit as important as backing-up in the real world – it’s down to you to make sure your data is safe… so what kind of threats should you be on the lookout for – and how can you deal with them?
As I write this, many MDs I work with are moving their company’s email, CRM and other processes to the cloud – and so they should: it offers a flexible, secure platform from which to work and allows their employees an unprecedented level of access and synchronisation. With that in mind, the value of data stored online can be incalculable for businesses – protecting it with a reliable back-up system is imperative.
In my experience, threats to the cloud reflect those which face real-world storage. A recent study revealed around 64% of cloud data loss could be attributed to accidental deletion or overwriting – in other words, good old-fashioned user error. Whilst problems are relatively rare, the cloud is susceptible to malicious actions, too – hackers and cyber attacks can cause issues within a cloud system, as can third party software when used incorrectly. Don’t forget about less visible threats: when you’re working with SaaS, it’s easy to overlook the consequences of a contract ending, but once your cloud space is withdrawn, any data on there goes with it.
The cloud isn’t a catch-all answer to security threats or data-loss, but the good news is, it makes avoiding these catastrophes easier. Cloud to cloud back-up services exist to do exactly that: back-up and protect your cloud data from the classic pitfalls of online storage. The sector has increased its profile massively in recent months – startup data protection company Spanning was swallowed up by storage giants, EMC, in October, while fellow startup, Backupify has recently been acquired by Datto Backup. There’s a reason good cloud back-up is so valuable – and why most SaaS providers, including Office 365, Google Apps and Hosted Exchange recommend it. Good cloud-to-cloud back-up services provide frequent, automated back-ups, which run at least every 24 hours. and an extra level security by encrypting the data you store on the cloud.
Let’s keep things in perspective – storing data in the cloud is an improvement on your hard drive. It lets you avoid physical threats like fire and flooding and take advantage of the flexibility, security and vast space available in a virtual environment. Just don’t be lulled into complacency: although many SaaS providers offer rudimentary back-up, data loss means the same thing whether it happens in a real or virtual context. When backing-up your cloud content is so straightforward, and peace of mind so easy to achieve, there really is no good reason not to do it.