Businesses often believed they didn’t have to backup data stored in cloud programs. But there were still benefits to making an independent backup, a study by Forrester, a global IT analyst firm, has found.
Many SaaS providers didn’t restore lost data for users or charged an exorbitant fee to do so, said the report, Cloud-to-Cloud Backup Emerges as a Practical Option For Cloud Data Protection.
The report examined some of the largest SaaS vendors and found significant variations in their data restoration policies
IBM SmartCloud used full duplication and backup of its data centres in near real time to a remote site. IBM included a “configured trashcan retrieval” for up to 90 days to help customers recover lost data.
Salesforce automatically backed up all customer data on a nightly basis and cloned it to an off-site, fire-resistant facility for verification and storage. But Salesforce charged a minimum US$10,000 to recover data that had been permanently deleted or corrupted and which had to be recovered at a specific point in time.
Google Apps replicated data multiple times in the one data centre to prevent against hardware failure, and to a separate data centre in case the primary data centre went offline. However, Google permanently deleted any data that had been deleted by an administrator or user to comply with its privacy policies.
Microsoft Office 365 also used multiple backups to on-site and off-site locations. However, administrators were able to recover accidentally deleted information and deleted users.
“Cloud-to-cloud backup is an increasingly viable and preferred option, [it] will eventually become part of cloud management suites and cloud portals,” wrote Rachel Dines, Forrester’s senior analyst for infrastructure and operations professionals.
It was possible for SaaS providers to give users methods for backing up and restoring data to protect against data loss or disaster, the report said. But if the user was responsible for losing data and the vendor was able to recover data, the retrieval process was likely to incur delays, restrictions or hefty fees.
Companies could limit the risks of permanently losing data by having copies of information outside the primary SaaS provider. Fujitsu announced its intention to offer a cloud-to-cloud backup module as part of its new cloud integration platform, which will offer many cloud management features across SaaS, IaaS and PaaS platforms as part of a wider suite of services, Dines said.
“[Other strategies include] working with a cloud-to-cloud backup provider to automatically transfer data to another cloud on a periodic basis, talking to their SaaS provider about backups within their platform if they offer this service, or defining a manual process for exporting cloud data on a regular basis,” Dines added.
The report indicated six main reasons for data loss; migration errors or syncing inaccuracies between on-premise data and the cloud, accidental deletion or overwriting correct information with incorrect data, malicious employees, hacktivists of customer data and intellectual property, rogue applications accidentally deleting data and departing employees deleting their data accidentally.
The single leading cause of data loss in the cloud was user error, said Shaun Pinney from Backupify, a cloud-to-cloud backup service for Google Apps, Salesforce.com and other cloud pograms. Backupify has published an eBook outlining how to protect against data loss with cloud software.
Cloud-to-cloud backup services stored a copy of data contained in a cloud program or on a cloud server. This service was different to a cloud backup, which typically referred to a remote, online or managed backup service that allowed users to backup, store and recover files from their desktop PCs, laptops or in-office servers.