Cloud, Opinion

The Forgotten Data Protection of SaaS: Backup for Office 365 and Google Apps

I recently interviewed Gina Minks (@gminks), Product Marketing Manager at Spanning (and EMC company). Most people think that when they use applications in “the cloud”, that their data is “automagically” protected by the cloud provider. Consumers (and IT Pro’s) assume that Software as a Service (SaaS) applications have  data protection (and even security) built-in, which, unfortunately, it’s always true. Examples of SaaS that many companies are moving to are:

  • Office 365 and OneDrive for Business
  • Google Apps
  • Salesforce.com
  • (and more)

Are you using these types of software as a service cloud-based applications? Or considering using them? If so, you need to consider data protection options for your SaaS applications (as you’ll find out from Gina in the video below).

In the video, Gina explained how data retention works for SaaS (Software as a Service, aka on-demand software) providers like Microsoft and Google. When you were running things like email, calendar, and file sharing locally, in your own data center, data protection was something that you were responsible for. Once you move those services to the cloud, most companies and end-users are unaware that their data isn’t protected from accidental or malicious data corruption or deletion from anyone with appropriate credentials.

What, then, can admins at companies who are using cloud services do to protect their data once they move it to the cloud? That’s where Spanning comes in. Spanning is a cloud-to-cloud data protection service that takes a backup of your company’s data, stored inside cloud-based SaaS apps, that you need protected. This is typically done daily to create multiple access points in time in case the data (like email boxes or files) are accidentally changed or deleted. Should you, for example, need to retrieve a deleted email or mailbox, you could then go back to a previous backup to retrieve it. Spanning also works to protect other types of SaaS cloud-based data like Salesforce.com or OneDrive for Business (coming soon!). Here’s what an administrator would see when they want to monitor data protection or restore data, using Spanning Backup for Google Apps:

spanning backup screenshot

In my video interview with Gina, she mentioned that retention policies (protocols for retaining data within an organization) only keep data for a specified amount of time before deleting them entirely, so they don’t make effective long-term solutions. Likewise, ransomware such as CryptoLocker will hold your data hostage by encrypting it and threatening to delete it unless payment is made. If you don’t have backups elsewhere that let you go back to a recent save without the virus, you’re pretty much out of luck.

Gina was excited to tell me about a feature in their Office 365 and Google Apps backup products, called “cross-user restores.” If an employee leaves the company, and you don’t want to lose the data from their account, Spanning allows an admin to restore some or all of the backed up data into to a new user/employee’s account so you can continue to use it. In addition to backup for Office 365 and Google Apps, they also provide backup for Salesforce.com.

Spanning’s data protection is priced per user/per year, there’s no installation, and no on-premises equipment to purchase or install. You can contact Spanning for a free trial and get more information on Spanning Backup, at Spanning.com