Why Your SaaS Provider's Backup and Recovery Capabilities Aren't Enough

It’s no secret that most enterprises have migrated to the cloud to meet some, if not all, of their SaaS initiatives. The number is a whopping 94%, according to RightScale’s 2019 State of the Cloud Survey. The benefits driving this migration are clear: lower costs, increased flexibility, and enhanced data security. SaaS solutions providers certainly offer robust security measures that protect their customers' data. But a quick read of the providers' compliance statements tells you where the buck stops: they only provide support. That means you are ultimately responsible for protecting your data and meeting compliance requirements. And that’s where a big puzzle piece may be missing from your cloud strategy. In a 2019 Cloud Security Report by security trade organization ISC2, backup and disaster recovery (BDR) in cloud environments stood out as a major IT headache. How bad? About one-third of security operations centers are struggling with compliance in setting consistent security policies across cloud and on-premises environments. It gets worse. The ISC2 study also found that 66% of respondents said traditional security solutions either don’t work at all in cloud environments, or only offer limited functionality. And many organizations aren’t helping themselves, with nearly half of the respondents saying they rely solely on their cloud provider’s native security tools, while less than a third partner with an managed security service provider (MSSP) to fill any gaps in capabilities. Those gaps are the missing pieces of the puzzle. When it comes to BDR, relying on SaaS providers’ native security tools is asking for trouble. Yes, your data is safe in the cloud. But that doesn't account for the ever-present wild card in data security: human error. People accidentally delete essential files. They overwrite co-workers’ documents. And they download devastating viruses.
That list doesn’t even touch on unforeseen sync issues or the ever-present threats from human malice. All it may take is a simple erroneous data deletion—or a successful ransomware attack—to stop an organization dead in its tracks. Sure, your SaaS vendor may have a recovery solution. But recovery isn’t likely to be fast or easy. Recovery costs can add up quickly. And the data you recover may not be in a useful format. Add it all up and, while SaaS providers deliver excellent solutions, filling in those missing pieces in the BDR puzzle is critical if you want to be sure you are ready for—and can quickly recover from—virtually any data disaster. So, what should you look for in a cloud BDR solution? Multiple, automated daily backups should be your first requirement. Frequent backups ensure that your recovery point objective (RPO)—the maximum amount of time set in your disaster recovery plan in which data might be lost and unrecoverable—is achievable. Choose a cloud-to-cloud backup solution, so you never run out of backup storage space. Plus, cloud backups are always encrypted and securely stored. But, what happens if your hosted services go down? You can fill in that piece of the puzzle by going one step further, choosing a hybrid solution that includes both cloud and local backups. Regardless of which direction you choose, the BDR solution you select must prevent your backups from being overwritten or deleted—ever. Look for BDR solutions that make it easy to find and restore all or selected parts of your data quickly. That will help you meet your recovery time objective (RTO)—your disaster recovery plan’s set maximum amount of time between when critical network functions go down and when they must be restored. A solution with advanced search and browse features makes it easy to locate specific backed-up files across all of your supported SaaS applications. It’s also a valuable asset if it’s ever needed to support investigations, electronic discovery, or compliance. Another important timesaving disaster recovery feature to look for is the capability to return lost files in their native format, to their native location, and to the original or a different owner. Finally, choose a BDR solution that makes admin easy. That includes simple setup, monitoring, and management of all client accounts from a single portal—a huge IT team timesaver. And by choosing a cloud-to-cloud BDR solution that delivers automated audit reports you can rest assured that your backups are on track, and your data is always secure.

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