The only thing better than a good SaaS application is tying it to another SaaS app. Project management apps that integrate with your email and calendar. Expense reporting and payroll apps that connect to online spreadsheets and contact lists. Marketing analytics tools that connect to your website content management system. Integrating third-party apps with your core SaaS system extends their functionality and value to extraordinary levels.
But third-party apps can also pose some of the biggest threats to your cloud data. What if your project management app purges all your calendar events or overloads you inbox with redundant malformed messages? What if your expense report app paves over your tax records spreadsheets with garbage data? What if your marketing analytics tool corrupts your CMS database, destroying all your carefully coded web designs?
A misconfigured SaaS app has unfettered access to your cloud data, and it moves at the speed of software. If your third-party app malfunctions, it can destroy or corrupt your cloud data in a matter of seconds.
Below, we outline three tactics you can use to insulate your cloud data from third-party app disasters.
Hire an Expert
There are a number of consultants and managed service providers out there that specialize in deploying, integrating and supporting third-party SaaS applications. They already know where all the landmines are buried when it comes to connecting a third-party app to your core SaaS applications. These professionals can help you avoid the configuration errors and setup mistakes that can lead to app-initiated cloud data loss.
The do-it-yourself mantra can serve you well, but when your data is at stake, it pays to hire an expert. If you don’t plan on upgrading or fine-tuning either the core SaaS application or the integrated third-party app with, a one-time consultant will get the job done. If you’re planning on using a third-party app over a long product lifecycle—and, when it comes to SaaS, “long” may mean “a matter of months”—a managed service provider that keeps a constant eye on your third-party app is safer bet.
Never test on a production environment; developers are taught this from their earliest days of software instruction. The same wisdom holds true for software integration. Nearly every major SaaS application offers a test environment or “sandbox” where you can try out new configurations and enhancements without putting your frontline systems (and data) at risk.
Too often, organizations resist deploying and supporting a sandbox environment as an unnecessary expense. That’s akin to a professional athlete suggesting that they don’t need to practice before a game. Technically, there no requirement that you do any dry runs before going for the real thing, but your odds of success skyrocket if you practice first. A sandbox environment is the practice field your cloud team not only needs, but can’t live without.
Even experts make mistakes. No sandbox is a perfect representation of a production environment. Even if you hire all the right people and make all the right preparations, a third-party app can still malfunction and wipe out your core SaaS data set. The only answer to this risk is a backup of your cloud data. An independent copy of your SaaS data, separate from where a third-party app can reach it, is your best answer to mass data corruption.
Moreover, all the reasons you moved to the cloud in the first place—hardware resiliency, lack of maintenance, anywhere-anytime access—make the cloud a perfect place to store your data backups. An enterprise-grade cloud-to-cloud backup and recovery solution can restore the data a third-party app corrupted or destroyed in a matter of minutes, and can return it directly to your core SaaS application. Put more simply, a cloud to cloud backup can undo the damage of a rogue third-party app just as fast as the app can inflict it. If you need to get back up and running fast, cloud to cloud backup is your best option.
Now that’s an app-ready backup plan.