Are you using OneDrive, Google Drive or Dropbox as a backup system? If so, you may be surprised to find out that cloud storage systems are not the same as a data backup.
In fact, 1 out of 3 companies have lost data that is stored in SaaS (Software as a Service) applications. Often this data loss comes out of the blue and it is only then that a business owner realizes that data in cloud services needs to be backed up just like data on computers or servers.

Microsoft says as much in its services agreement. The company warns that users can lose access to data if services become unavailable and recommends that “you regularly backup your content and data” stored in Microsoft services.

If you think your backup and recovery strategy has you covered but it doesn’t include your cloud services, then you could be in for a data loss incident in the future.

Ways You Can Lose Data from Cloud Services

It is easy to think of cloud storage as your “back up copy” when a cloud service is syncing a file on your computer. However, there are some big differences between cloud storage and a true backup and recovery service. 

If a file is saved to a backup and recovery solution, that file is not in sync with the copy on your computer so it can’t be deleted from inside the backup. The same is not true of a cloud application. 

There are several ways your data can be deleted from the cloud. Let us take a look at the reasons why you need to be backing your data up separately in a backup and recovery solution as part of your business continuity and disaster recovery strategy.

Files Can be Overwritten

Your files in a shared cloud account can be accidentally overwritten by an employee. They might think they have a revision file but they are actually editing a master copy.

Once enough time has passed after the file has been overwritten the original copy is lost forever.

Files Can be Deleted

Since files in cloud storage are designed to be updated and represent a “live” version of your data, they can be deleted. However, files in a backup solution cannot be deleted.

Entire folders can be wiped out by a careless employee or by a hacker who has gained access to user credentials. 

Another way that you can lose your cloud data in a platform like Microsoft 365 is when a user is deleted because they no longer work for your company. If the administrator does not transfer all of their data over to another user, the deleted user’s files will be deleted and purged from the system after 30 days.

Ransomware Can Infect Cloud Storage Files

Cloud storage is not impervious to ransomware attacks. If an infected computer is syncing with Dropbox or Google Drive, then those cloud files could also be infected.

If those infected cloud files are not backed up somewhere else, you can end up having to pay a costly ransom to get them decrypted and usable again.

Retention Policies Can Mean Lost Data

Most cloud services are not going to keep files indefinitely and have certain retention policies for deleted email, stored files and more.

For example, Gmail uses a policy that keeps messages for a minimum of 30 days once they have a “deleted” label. 

If you do not understand file retention policies of cloud services, it can cause you to lose files that you need to archive for legal or historical reasons.

Breached Accounts Can Lead to Data Loss

Credential theft is on the rise because companies are keeping more of their data in cloud accounts behind a username/password login.

Over 34% of businesses around the world are impacted by insider threats each year. An “insider threat” can be a malicious employee or a hacker that has logged in as an employee using stolen credentials.

Once a cloud account is compromised, the hacker can steal your data and delete it all from your cloud account if they like. 

Server Crashes & Outages

Cloud service providers take precautions to avoid downtime for their customers. However, server crashes and outages do occur even on the largest platforms. Servers can be down for hours or even days and there is always the risk with a crash that data was destroyed.

In 2019, services that saw outages included Salesforce, Amazon AWS, Apple Cloud and Microsoft Azure.

A cloud service outage can bring your office to a standstill if you don’t have access to your business data any other way. This is another reason that backing it up is essential to business continuity.

Get Backup & Recovery In Place for the Cloud from Sound Computers

We can help your business put a solid strategy in place to ensure you have a copy of all data in your cloud services so you don’t run the risk of a devastating data loss incident. 

Contact us today to schedule a free consultation. Call 860-577-8060 or reach us online.

October 13, 2020
Steven Nuhn