Tim is the head data security manager at a reasonably sized tech company and is responsible for managing hundreds of gigabytes of data every day. This data includes client analytics, supply chain management information, operational cost, business emails, essentially every piece of information that is critical to your business infrastructure. Knowing how important this data is to him and his organization, he chose to use highly reputable cloud vendors such as Microsoft Office 365, GCP or GSuite to store his data.
Business is running well, until the unthinkable happens. The cloud vendor Tim’s organization is using suddenly suffers an outage. All of that critical business data is rendered useless and inaccessible to him and it will take an unknown amount of time for his preferred cloud services to start functioning again. What’s worse: during this outage, Tim’s encryption keys were also lost and are unrecoverable. This may result in losing his organization’s data forever.
A majority of tech companies and organizations have made the transition from on-premise data servers to cloud platforms. It releases them from the hardware and monetary constraints of storing data and software on premise. It also brings the ability of agility and always on-demand functionality for their users. However, what many organizations don’t anticipate is what would happen if that cloud platform fails. This is why it is important to use a cloud backup platform.
Utilizing a cloud backup vendor ensures your organization’s data is protected even in the unlikely event you lose access to your data. However not all cloud backup platforms provide the same benefits to everyone. Before selecting a cloud backup vendor, here are some features you should look for when selecting a backup solution.
Important features for Cloud Backup Support
Three crucial features for a good Cloud Backup Service
You Want the Keys
Self managed keys are a very important and valuable safety tool for cloud backup services. Self managed keys give your organization the power and knowledge about how the keys are being generated and used. Your organization has the ability to distribute keys to employees as needed.
Plus, self managed keys are so powerful that they prevent the vendor themself from seeing your data. Nor can malicious actors or foreign governments access your data, even with a subpoena. This setup reduces the chance your backup data could be compromised, even if your vendor is the victim of a cyberattack. However, self managed keys are a double-edged sword. If your organization loses all of your keys, nobody will be able to access the backup data, not even you! They require careful tracking to keep safe, but are definitely worth the extra effort. Data Access Authentication
The cloud backup vendor has to both supply various authentication mechanisms and routinely enforce them to keep them mandatory. Some organizations may have a preferred or a strict policy when it comes to accessing their sensitive data or proprietary information. A strong and diverse set of tools including one time password, single-sign on (SSO) or multi-factor authentication (MFA), is desirable.
It is not unusual for organizations to use multiple different services on multiple different platforms. For example, an organization may use Google Workspace as their primary email provider while using AWS for storing client data. This feature should be critical in your cloud backup selection process because the price becomes extremely costly when paying multiple cloud backup vendors. Also, it is far easier for an organization to use a centralized backup management system than to use a different backup vendor for each cloud service.
That said, there may be some SaaS platforms an organization uses that require specialized backup tools.
Cloud Backup Vendors to Consider
The following cloud backup vendors are the ones that we know have all of the above features as of publishing this article on November 4, 2021. It’s possible there are some we are not aware of, or some that have these features but don’t list them.
Google Workspace GCP Microsoft 365 Azure
AFI also offers ransomware protection by performing pre-emptive backups. AFI maintains detailed audit logs and records all activity including access configuration, restore operations, session details including WAN IP and device type.
They provide automated archiving which would save and archived users and their data forever. Companies can manage automated backup schedules based on protections levels assigned by an administrator.
Google Workspace Microsoft 365 Google Cloud Platform AWS
Synology utilizes their proprietary Synology NAS services which prevents backups from being duplicated. This can prevent storage space from being over utilized with repetitive data. Synology also has a Hybrid Share feature which is a hybrid cloud solution combining the performance of Synology NAS with the scalability of C2 Storage. All data is kept in the cloud while requested data is streamed to branch offices. Frequently used data is retained in a cache on local NAS, providing fast, low-latency access.
Acronis Cyber Backup
Google Workspace Microsoft 365 GCP Azure AWS
Acronis retains cloud-to-cloud backup and recovery of Google Workspace user data (Gmail mailboxes, Calendars, Contacts, Google Drives), Google Workspace Shared drives and Microsoft Office 365. This service supports several Google Workspace organizations and cross-organization recovery. However, only companies that have users with an assigned Google Workspace license can have their mailboxes and Google Drives backed up.
Acronis also offers backups of Macs and Windows PCs.
Span n ing
Google Workspace GCP Office365 Salesforce
Spanning will likely be considered as a backup platform for many because of its coverage of a key SaaS platform: Salesforce. There’s a lot of valuable data there that most companies want to protect!
If the Google Super Admin user for your domain, deletes or suspends a user from your G Suite account, Spanning will retain that user’s license in your Spanning License Manager. This license remains assigned so that an admin user can still access that user’s backup data and perform a cross-user restore or export if needed. As long as the license remains assigned to this user in the License Manager, Spanning will retain all of this user’s previously backed up data. When the license is un-assigned from the License Manager, Spanning will automatically purge all of that user’s data after 30 days.
Spanning provides unlimited storage and automated daily backups.
In a world of cloud computing, it’s only natural that cloud backup solutions are becoming important tools for data protection. Cloud service outages are rare but they have the potential to cause massive amounts of damage.
Selecting the right cloud backup tool will allow your organization to be better prepared for a cloud service outage, increasing the security and availability of your data. Unlike Tim, you’ll be prepared for the worst.
Don’t be like Tim!
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