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Backing up the Cloud: What are the security risks?

GSuite (business) and O365 are rapidly replacing the traditional onsite Exchange and Web server. Moving from on-premises servers to the cloud has many benefits for a company. Being able to access your company’s data and applications from anywhere in the world on just about any electronic device is very useful. The main problem with cloud services however is the increased security risk posed to an organisation’s data brought about by the approach of just putting their data in the cloud and failing to consider these different security risks.

While you may expect that your data is stored safely in the cloud by the provider (usually Microsoft or Google) and think that there is no reason to back up that data here are a few reasons why you should be backing up:

Accidental deletion of data – Users may accidentally delete live data and important emails. Cloud providers may be able to restore files up to 14 days after deletion, but usually not longer.

Intentional deletion of data – Users may purposely delete data they feel is no longer important or not needed. A disgruntled worker may also intentionally delete sensitive data.

Malicious 3rd party software – There are lots of 3rd party applications which integrate with cloud services. When setting up these applications if you simply “allow” full permissions to your cloud services, they could edit or delete critical data.

Service provider outage – No cloud service is bullet proof. If your provider suffers an outage it means you also suffer an outage. Having a good backup of your mail and data means you do not have to worry about data loss in such an instance.

Retention limits – Most cloud providers offer an “archiving” solution of some kind to back up your data. However, these always have a limited retention period after which time your data is gone forever. Having a proper backup in place allows to keep your data indefinitely.

Regulatory compliance – Organisations which operate in certain industries such as financial or healthcare have more stringent backup requirements over and above simply having a copy of their data stored elsewhere. These extra requirements are not taken care of by the archiving solutions provided by Cloud service providers and require a proper backup solution which takes into account these statutory regulations.

Ransomware – Ransomware attacks are on the rise and nobody is immune to them including Cloud services. Having a good backup set of your data with multiple restore points is an excellent way to mitigate against the effects of a ransomware attack on your organisation.
As we can see there are many good reasons to ensure your Cloud data is backed up properly. So how to choose a good Cloud backup product?

Here are a few tips:

Ease of use – How easy is it to set up and configure the product?
Services backed up – Does one product back up all your different Cloud services? Or do you need a different product for each Cloud service?
Data security – Is your data securely encrypted in transit and at rest?
Recovery procedure – Is the data recovery procedure easy to follow?
Searchability – Are the backups searchable if you only need to restore one item?

Moving to Cloud services is an excellent option for many organisations. But when they do, they need to ensure that their data is backed up and secured in order to avoid the consequences of data loss.