WOOF! Newsletter

February 11, 2021

The Biggest Risk of Cloud Services, and How to Manage It

Cloud services allow organizations to build up their operations quickly without a large hardware investment. But cloud services present a risk to the data you store on them. You don't own the hardware or control the cloud service where your data resides.

TIME TO READ: 5 MINUTES

 

Everybody's moving onto Cloud Services. 85% of businesses worldwide use at least 1 cloud service. 67% of enterprises use cloud-based infrastructure. Cloud computing comprises 37% of the global IT budget.

However, in the rush to the cloud, we've exposed ourselves to an existential risk: Loss of data control.

What's that? How could that affect my company?  You'll find all the answers in this WOOF issue.

 

The Risk in Running Businesses "In the Cloud"

Think about the data you store on a cloud service, instead of in your office’s server room or on your computer.  Communications.  Intellectual Property.  Financials.  Customer records.  Transactions.

Storing data in a cloud service, means your company "lives" on their servers. Not yours. You can access the data by logging in, of course.

But here's the risk: What happens if you lose access to the service?

This could come from several potential causes:

  • Disruption, either Internet access, or the service goes offline
  • Deplatforming—the service decides they don't want you on their platform
  • Account shutdown without exporting the data
  • Cyberattacks stealing data from or destroying the cloud service's servers

Smart businesses make contingency plans! Make sure you always have a Plan B—in this case, a backup plan for accessing the data you have stored on cloud services.

 

Make a Backup Plan for Each of Your Cloud Services

At this point, your business uses at least one cloud service, right?  If you had to change to a different cloud service quickly, how would you transfer your data? Do you even have it backed up someplace where the cloud service can't cut you off from it?

That's the first step to regaining control of any data stored on a cloud service...back it up to another service or perform regular backups yourself.

 

Back Up to Another Cloud Service

For example:  Office 365 does not include a backup option in its service. To back up files stored in your O365 tenant, you must use a third-party service.

However, many of those third-party services only allow you to restore the data BACK to Office 365. This means the data is "stuck" within the O365 system.

Instead, find a cloud backup solution that allows you to restore your backed-up data to another service.  A real backup is independent of the primary host.

What if you have an entire server hosted in the cloud? Make sure your cloud backups home the data in another company’s data center.

 

How to Make Your Own Backups from Cloud Services

If you need to, you can make your own backups from a cloud service. Here are three ways: Automatic ExportManual Request, and Third-Party Backup Tools.


AUTOMATIC EXPORT

  • The cloud service may have a data export function. If so, use this to create a downloadable export file (often in ZIP format).
  • Add the ZIP file to your company's backup routine. The best way is to send the ZIP file to your IT Support team.
  • If the cloud service offers scheduling for such an export, all the better!
  • The same person should conduct the export every month.

MANUAL REQUEST

  • If the service doesn't have an automatic export, you can request a copy of your data manually.
  • Contact the service's Help Center while logged in. Look for a "Help" or "Support" link in the service's main menu.
  • Request a copy of "all client data."
  • You may need to specify that you are not closing the account. You're instead adding the data to your own backup routine.
    • (If the service's team balks at the request, you might want to consider another cloud service!)
  • We suggest asking if you can receive a data copy monthly. This way your backup routine incorporates the cloud service data regularly.

THIRD-PARTY BACKUP TOOLS

  • Deploy a third-party backup tool which backs up your cloud service data, and stores it in a private data center.
  • Several options exist, like . We recommend choosing one that runs its backup on a nightly basis, and has no restrictions on the data type backed up.
  • As long as they're storage-independent, they're a useful & cost-effective data protection tool.


Cloud Services Are Great, But You Have to Manage the Risk

Many cloud services will make a strong effort to protect your data, and to work with you on its privacy. However, it’s your job to protect your company and its data.  Understand the risks and create a Plan B for each of your cloud services.

 

Need help?  Contact PlanetMagpie at for a cloud services backup review!