Enterprises are moving their data and applications to the cloud with infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) usage rising steadily over the past couple of years. According to research firm IDC, more than half of organizations currently utilize some form of hybrid cloud configuration. IDC predicts that the cloud software market will grow to $151.6 billion by 2020 with five year CAGR of 18.6 percent – surpassing the growth of conventional software. This trend is largely being driven by the rising number of services and applications being delivered from the cloud. Cloud solutions are sometimes so fluid that end-users and IT teams assume it ‘simply works’, leaving crucial issues like data security entirely up to the provider.
Though cloud-based applications may be ‘safer’, they are not unassailable. You should be completely responsible for your SaaS-based data, including every aspect of its security. Backing up your SaaS data provides the continued benefits of the cloud while retaining a secure copy that is shut off from the SaaS environment. Regrettably, for IT decision-makers, the cloud-to-cloud market is somewhat immature and fragmented. Given the stark contrast between cloud computing environments, backup solutions similarly vary quite widely in capabilities. However, there are a couple of available options in the market and choosing the right one is an uphill task. Here are a couple of things to consider.
Backup and Restore Capabilities
Not all backup solutions are created equal. Since SaaS applications are offered via API or a website, the available backup procedures tend to vary, this creates a significant challenge for Backup as a Service (BaaS) providers. The ideal cloud-to-cloud backup solution should include a simplified and automated way to securely back-up your system data (including audit logs and metadata) from one cloud to another. It is also important to review the vendor’s disaster recovery capabilities before-hand. Ensure the solution offers granular recovery capabilities and robust search and browse features that can facilitate faster, self-service recovery/restore – as opposed to waiting for IT to respond, end-users can efficiently perform the recovery on their own.
While most SaaS backup solutions allow you to back-up your data at the click, not all of the offer it as an automated service. Ensure this option is available for your data security and ease so that your business operations and pace of growth remain unaffected. Some services will only offer preset options such as weekly, monthly or daily, others may enable you to custom set the intervals. Your business requirements should match the vendor’s available options. The cloud-to-cloud backup solution should also be capable of sending out notifications or alerts for failed backups. Though automation frees up your time and guarantees round the clock protection, the ability to force a manual backup will prove to be convenient when making extensive changes.
Security and Compliance
Data security remains one of the most critical aspects of a modern enterprise. So understanding the safeguards built into storing your backups is crucial. Go for a SaaS backup provider that provides robust encryption coupled with strict privacy policies to protect your sensitive data. The cloud-to-cloud backup solution should also be fully compliant with any regulations that may require you to meet specific standards in securing your data. Regulatory requirements can become an issue when cross-border data flows are involved. An organization can be held responsible for a data breach even if they aren’t aware wherein, the cloud their data is stored. Regulatory requirement that governs the timing of a permanent deletion of backed up data should also be put into consideration. Ensure the vendor can support your organization’s specific data-retention requirements.
Application Subscription Autonomy
A cloud-to-cloud backup vendor should have tools in place to handle the potential unavailability of the source SaaS application itself. For example, if an organization opted to cancel its G Suite subscription after using it for several years. Retaining that invaluable G Suite data will be a prime concern, so a good BaaS vendor should offer a path to data recovery, even if the source cloud subscription has been cancelled. Be sure to inquire about independent access when accessing vendors.
Regardless of the features or services, the cost will always be a constraining factor when selecting a BaaS provider. Remember the best solution for you is the one that fits your budget. On the other hand, expensive doesn’t always translate to quality, especially if you are paying for services that you aren’t fully utilizing. Analyze your data storage requirements for both now and in the future so that you can select a cost-effective backup solution. Each cloud-to-cloud backup provider has their own pricing model that is typically based on a per-user, per month/year, per-application basis. Don’t forget to make inquiries regarding hidden charges tied to things like software updates, customer support, or bandwidth, if any.
Having a backup of your SaaS data provides peace of mind and guarantees business continuity in the event of data loss. There are multiple cloud-to-cloud backup providers out there, it is therefore important spend time analyzing each of their pricing models and feature sets, to ensure they are capable of meeting all your backup needs.