Data center, software as a service (SaaS) and cloud stocks are doing very well these days. Equinix, Coupa, Zoom and Microsoft are all trading at or near their 52-week highs. Why? Investors feel outsourced IT and cloud is the future, a point made abundantly clear when businesses that harnessed the cloud correctly were able to keep running, despite lockdown orders that prevented them from physically accessing their own data centers.

Cloud and SaaS-based IT infrastructure has proven a reliable, viable long-term solution for business continuity, helping facilitate a massive, sudden migration to remote work during a time of crisis. Resources and applications can be made accessible to anyone, anywhere, so long as they have a browser and internet connection. Unlimited scale accommodates any number of users, with a highly robust, redundant architecture ensuring solid performance. 

There’s no on-premises equipment or software to manage or maintain, either. And, SaaS subscription pricing is more flexible than comparatively more expensive perpetual licenses. It’s no wonder the market has responded positively. Even so, there is a vulnerability some organizations overlook that can cause serious issues.  

Can you back that up?

Muhammad Ali famously said, “It’s not bragging if you can back it up.” Though the phrase was not intended to be used in this way, I’m going to anyway: Before any of us claim victories, we should be sure we can literally “back up” the resulting data. 

A study from 451 Research showed that 49 percent of organizations depend on their SaaS vendor to protect their data. Another 25 percent don’t protect their SaaS data at all. That’s a dangerous situation because while vendors do invest resources to ensure the data in their services is protected, there are significant limits. 

Foremost, nearly all SaaS vendors operate under a shared responsibility model in which the provider and customer take ownership for different aspects of data protection. Typically, the vendor ensures their infrastructure is secure and their service and associated data is always available. 

But the data itself? That belongs to the customer – and the responsibility of protecting it is theirs alone.

Risky business

Let’s say an employee accidentally trashes documents used to create a quarterly report. If the deletion isn’t noticed, when they start work on an update in a couple months they’re in for a shock; Microsoft deletes all data in the recycle bin after 30 days. So, if an executive were to get rid of emails to hide evidence of illegal activity, these might be unrecoverable, and a company could find itself in legal hot water. 

The data protection measures taken by SaaS vendors are meant to recover the entire platform in case of a catastrophe like a fire, natural disaster or massive security breach. It’s not designed to recover the spreadsheet your CEO accidentally deleted. SaaS vendors’ data protection is architected at a service level, and it’s not suitable for granular recovery.

That said, even if a vendor does offer backup services, it’s risky to place all your eggs in one basket. What if you have a disagreement and your service is shut down? What would you do if they weren’t prepared for a catastrophe and go under? We all know now that such things do indeed happen, and in any of these scenarios and many others, you’ll be glad you invested in outside backup. 

Shifts happen

One of the most common SaaS apps in business is Microsoft Office 365. It holds data ranging from emails and presentations to SharePoint and project details. If you want to shift as much as you can to the cloud and a SaaS model, it makes sense to protect this data via another SaaS offering – and we can help.

As a Veeam Platinum Partner, we deliver as-a-service the unparalleled protection of Veeam Backup for Office 365. Through this solution, you can store data based on long-term retention policies and recover exactly what you need, even individual files. You can gain secure access to sensitive backups with multi-factor authentication. And if you have a hybrid environment or want to migrate mailbox data between on-prem and SaaS, that’s easy, too. 

According to market research from Okta, large organizations increased the number of SaaS apps they used by 68 percent from 2017 to 2018 alone. Now, with the challenges presented by the pandemic, financial markets are putting newfound stock in cloud and SaaS-based IT infrastructure to ensure business continuity in the future. 

Whether you’ve invested in the cloud and want to grow your usage or are just now realizing you need to add some SaaS, it’s time to exercise your options. The technology has proven to be reliable and viable. Just remember, the data is yours to protect, and overlooking this one detail can bring those very attainable cloud dreams crashing back to earth.

Want to learn more about how we can help you get SaaS and protect your data? Get in touch!