February 11, 2020
Recent Microsoft and Google Outages Reinforce Need for SaaS Backup
From cloud ransomware attacks to service outages, it’s becoming clear that SaaS application data is not as immune to data loss as some users may believe.
Recent outages of popular SaaS applications such as Google G Suite and Microsoft Office 365 have served as reminders of the importance of backing up SaaS application data with a third party solution.
For example, a massive 2019 Google outage affected nearly one billion users of applications such as Gmail, G Suite, YouTube, Snapchat, and Discord, making it impossible to access or manage their data(and you can monitor Google Drive and Office 365 outages at these links.)
Two of the most recent examples include a Google Drive outage at the end of January and a Microsoft Office 365 outage a few days later. In both instances, users were unable to access their critical emails, files or Sites.
Common Causes of Cloud Data Loss
There's a common misconception that user data in SaaS applications is fully backed up. It’s more likely that an employee will delete something they end up needing two weeks later than the possibility of all of Google’s servers being destroyed by a storm. In fact, SaaS applications usually aren’t the responsible party for data loss, but they aren’t built to protect against accidental or malicious actions either. It’s important to know that if users lose data, they’re out of luck in most cases unless you have a backup solution in place.
It’s important to know the many ways data can be lost:
- Accidental Deletion and User Mistakes: More often than not, data is deleted only for the user or organization to later realize that it is actually still necessary. A collaborator might accidentally delete a shared project, or you might delete a scrapped project and then later learn it is starting up again. Information can also unknowingly be overwritten or corrupted by users themselves, retention settings within the application and third-party apps.
- Overwriting Data: SaaS applications hold large amounts of data that is constantly added to and updated. Overwriting data is a common problem that occurs when large data sets are imported into the application via bulk uploads or when integrated third-party applications are used to manage the data inside the base SaaS application. Also, watch out for backup vendors with destructive restore features!
- Malicious Actions: People often delete data before they quit their role if they suspect they are going to be fired, or to spite a boss or coworker they are angry with. Hackers can also be the culprit, surpassing security systems to delete or corrupt data. Whether internal or external, untrustworthy users are a reality that needs to be secured against.
This shows us that while we may think the cloud is inherently secure, it is not immune to data loss.
Without backup for services like Office 365 and G Suite, businesses stand to lose valuable time and data, while you as an IT expert stands to lose faith with your employer.
Independent SaaS Backup is Essential
For those who believe that data is safe from harm once it’s in the cloud, these outages and interruptions should make you think again. A second copy of your data stored independently of your SaaS application is important.
Many cloud-to-cloud vendors tout the value of being able to pick your storage location for backups - oftentimes offering up Azure or AWS. When it comes to Office 365 or G Suite backup however, it's STILL important to have an independent second copy of your data handy as even Microsoft can experience downtime that halts your business.
In the event of a SaaS vendor outage, Datto SaaS Protection allows you to export files locally so that users could continue to work and avoid any critical downtime. It’s essential to your company to ensure you’re protected no matter the circumstance, so make sure you’ve chosen the best SaaS Backup vendor for you.
Datto SaaS Protection creates an independent second copy of SaaS data. The benefits are two-fold:
- For the purpose of protecting Google Docs, Sheets, Slides and emails against any form of data loss, from ransomware to accidental deletion and
- Granting users access to critical documents by restoring directly to their desktops while the app is down. The data stored in Datto’s private cloud can be restored en masse or get as granular as a single email, giving you a scalable way of managing SaaS backups and document access across all of your users during a data loss incident or app outage. During instances of downtime like this Google outage, a third-party solution allows you to save the day in just a few clicks.