The single leading cause of data loss in the cloud is user error. This is due in equal parts to cloud vendors having largely solved the issue of hardware failure by virtue of sophisticated failover systems, and the fact that cloud solutions offer a wider variety of users a greater degree of system access than on-premise technology. Put simply, too many organizations assume their Software-as-a-Service applications are bulletproof and simply let their SaaS users run wild, leading to miscues that corrupt or destroy vital business data.
And no, the cloud vendors usually can’t get your data back. User error means the user told the system to delete data—even if accidentally—and those solutions’ privacy policies required that the data actually be permanently deleted. A simple slip of the mouse or a misunderstanding of functionality can lead to widespread, catastrophic cloud data loss even though the cloud solution is operating perfectly.
Below, we outline three simple tactics to ensure your cloud applications are truly user-proof.
Lock Down Access
One of the most appealing aspects of SaaS solutions is that they are available anywhere, anytime, through any modern web browser. That your users can access a SaaS app from almost any computer doesn’t mean you must allow your users unmitigated access to your SaaS application. The principle of least privilege still applies. Even sharing-centric SaaS solutions like Google Apps allow you to segregate users into organizational units and sharing groups, and you can fine-tune the privileges and permissions of both these groups at large and the individual users within them. Ensuring users don’t have unnecessary access also ensures their errors are limited to a smaller scope of business data.
Train Your Users
You wouldn’t let one of your users fly a plane without first going to flight school, or perform surgery without first spending time in medical school, so why would you allow them to use your shiny new SaaS application without even a little training? Even wet wipes come with instructions on the back.
The assumed difference between allowing untrained users to operate a 747 versus a Salesforce dashboard is that mishandling Salesforce doesn’t lead to death and destruction. True, while no one has yet died from deleting CRM data, an untrained Salesforce user can certainly wreak plenty of havoc. The consequences of untrained cloud users may not be fatal to you, but it can be fatal to your data—and your business.
Think of this way; a simple misunderstanding of business systems can lead to users unknowingly deleting large swaths of files. Now consider the amount of time it took to create that data—write documents, develop contact lists, code spreadsheets—and multiply it by the average hourly pay rate of your employees. The ROI of user training starts to become obvious when you consider what you’d have to pay to recreate lost data.
Speaking of ROI, there is no better user-proofing investment than a cloud-to-cloud backup. All the hardware resilience that made you move to the cloud in the first place makes the cloud the best place to store any and all backups. A true cloud-to-cloud backup and recovery solution keeps an independent copy of your SaaS data where users—and user error—can’t reach it. Those same solutions also make it possible to recover any lost data and restore it directly to the cloud app that lost it. With an enterprise-grade cloud-to-cloud backup, you can recover from user error in a matter of minutes.
Now that’s a user-proof SaaS backup plan.