8 myths about SaaS data loss and recovery

by | Jan 21, 2019

There’s a pretty simple reason why some companies don’t back up their SaaS data: They just don’t understand the risks.

In this post, we debunk the most common myths and misconceptions about SaaS that are leaving businesses like yours vulnerable to data loss.

 

A SaaS data loss epidemic

80% of businesses using SaaS have lost data, according to a report by EMC Corp. And by next year, nearly 3 out of every 4 companies will be using SaaS to power their critical applications.

With such a high SaaS adoption rate, you would assume most companies are actively working to protect the critical data they store in the cloud, right?

Unfortunately, that’s not the case.

While SaaS has become more ubiquitous over the last decade, SaaS data backup has largely remained an afterthought for many businesses. And without that extra layer of protection in place, businesses continue to lose, misplace, delete and overwrite important data every day.

More often than not, the reasons for this data loss stem from the following misunderstandings about SaaS backup and data loss:

 

1) SaaS data loss doesn’t happen.

Ahem, did you skip the part above where we said 80% of businesses reported losing data from their SaaS applications?

It’s not a matter of “if” it will happen at your organization. It’s a matter of “when.”

In fact, if you have employees actively using SaaS applications, there’s a good chance that some form of data loss has already occurred—you just don’t know about it. Perhaps somebody deleted some files accidentally, but didn’t tell anybody because they didn’t want to get in trouble. Instead, they recreated their work from scratch. That’s a classic example of hidden productivity loss that drags down your bottom line.

As we establish throughout this post, the #1 cause of SaaS data loss is human error. It happens all the time, at virtually every organization.

 

2) Yes, but our SaaS provider would never lose our data.

There are two problems with this misconception:

First: Yes, when you’re talking about SaaS from companies like Google and Microsoft, you’re probably right that they won’t lose your data. Their platforms are built on secure technologies with lots of redundancies in place to ensure your data is secure. However, you should never assume that such a disaster won’t happen. Remember in 2011 when Google misplaced the email of roughly 40,000 Gmail users for days? Or, how about last September, when servers failed at Microsoft’s San Antonio data center, causing outages for Azure and Office 365. The point is: while it’s unlikely that the big providers will ever permanently lose your data, do you really want to take the risk? No matter how much faith you put in your SaaS provider, you should still have SaaS backup.

Second: Even if it’s true that your SaaS provider won’t cause the data loss, that doesn’t mean that data won’t be lost. One report found that nearly half of surveyed companies had experienced data loss because of employees accidentally deleting data. Another common reason is data being overwritten when third-party apps are integrated or when large data migrations are performed within the application. In other cases, the data was maliciously deleted on purpose by the companies’ own employees!

 

3) We’re careful. We don’t make mistakes.

That’s wishful thinking—and it’s exactly how businesses get into trouble.

For starters, not all SaaS data loss is caused directly by human error. In a survey, 13% of companies said they lost SaaS data due to cyberattacks. So even if your users are especially cautious, there’s still a risk that data will be lost or corrupted by malware.

But also, even with rigorous training and protocols in place, users still make mistakes. Nobody is infallible. The reason why 4 out of 5 businesses lose SaaS data is that human error is inevitable. It happens to the best of us. And when it does, your teams are going to wish they had a SaaS backup to fall back on.

 

4) Our SaaS provider has its own backup.

Is Google backing up your G Suite data in case of an outage at their data centers? Absolutely. Do you get access to those backups if you cause the data loss on your end? Not likely.

Yes, the best SaaS providers are actively backing up your data so that they’re never responsible for an unrecoverable disaster. In fact, their service-level agreement probably spells this out in clear terms. But when the loss is due to human error at your organization—the top cause of SaaS data loss—recovering that data is your responsibility.

 

5) But wait, our SaaS provider DOES have a backup option.

Some SaaS applications do provide a backup in case of mishaps on the user end. Salesforce, for example, gives you the option to perform a weekly data export. But that export is a far cry from the kind of recovery you’re probably imagining.

The export is a raw data file, delivered via a massive CSV. Making sense of the data in that spreadsheet is a challenge in itself. Actually restoring it and importing back into the application is a nightmare. It’s a manual, time-consuming process that eats up your IT resources.

Additionally, you have little to no control over what’s included in the backup or the retention period. So for example, if you needed to restore data from a month ago, you’re out of luck.

 

6) The cloud is like a backup, anyway.

Don’t laugh — this is a surprisingly common misunderstanding about SaaS. The reasoning goes something like this: “We’re storing data in the cloud, so it’s not vulnerable to disasters that can happen on-site, like hardware failure, flooding or natural disasters.”

That may be true in a sense, but it doesn’t account for all the other data-loss scenarios that can still happen to your cloud data, such as accidental deletion or malware infection. That’s why no SaaS platform should be used as a primary backup tool, even when you’re talking about “Drive” apps, like OneDrive and Google Drive. Those suites may indeed create extra copies of your local files in the cloud, but if those files go missing, you have little to no recovery options.

The cloud itself is not a backup. Ultimately, it’s just another server, prone to the same risks as your on-site devices.

 

7) We have an on-site backup, so we’re good.

SaaS users sometimes get a false sense of security from knowing that their employer has a dedicated business continuity and disaster recovery solution on site. It may not occur to them that this backup technology is not actually backing up the data in their SaaS applications.

Remember, an increasing number of businesses are using platforms like Gmail for company email and Google Drive for storing files. In turn, users increasingly assume that the company has some way of recovering any accidentally deleted emails or files, when in fact it probably can’t.

Similarly, it’s worth pointing out that data entered into SaaS platforms like Salesforce rarely touch your on-site servers at all. Users enter it directly into the application through the web browser. And so if there’s no backup available, lost data can’t be recovered regardless of how good the on-site BC/DR technology is.

 

8) Our SaaS data actually isn’t that important.

Sorry, what?

If the data in your SaaS application isn’t important to the business, then why is the application being used at all?

Admittedly, there are probably not many businesses that would say their SaaS data was worthless—but by not having a SaaS backup solution in place, that is the implication.

This kind of thinking is more common at smaller businesses and startups, where most of employees’ time and energy goes to growing the business, rather than protecting what’s already been built. SaaS is used as a quick and cost-efficient alternative to deploying expensive software suites and in-house IT infrastructure. And in the process, important data is entered into these applications with little regard to the risks and consequences of a disaster.

It’s important to remember that all your business-related data has value: there’s the data itself, but also the time spent handling/entering/editing that data. To believe that your SaaS data is a lower priority is to fail to understand how much it will cost the company to lose it.

 

Time to get serious about SaaS backup

Businesses that are serious about business continuity and minimizing the risk of costly disruption need to rethink their approach to SaaS. They need to secure their SaaS data with the same level of protection as all their other critical data.

For businesses using G Suite, Office 365 or Salesforce, a good place to start is Backupify. Backupify is a cloud-to-cloud SaaS backup solution that provides automatic backups, up to three times a day, of the data within those three platforms. And when disaster strikes, you can fully restore your lost data back into the application, or the end user’s account, or the administrator’s computer, with just a few clicks.

 

Learn more

See how SaaS backup from Backupify can protect the data within your cloud applications. Request a free demo or contact our business continuity professionals at Invenio IT for more information. Call (646) 395-1170 or email success@invenioIT.com.

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Tracy Rock is the Director of Marketing at Invenio IT. Tracy is responsible for all media-related initiatives as well as external communications—including, branding, public relations, promotions, advertising and social media. She is one busy lady and we are lucky to have her!