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February 11, 2013
Cloud-to-Cloud Backup

The Two (Bad) Reasons Why Users Don’t Back up Their SaaS Data

So here’s a strange behavioral paradox: Almost everyone understands the need to backup the data on their computers, but almost no one seems to think they should backup their data in the cloud. There are two very common reasons why backup best practices aren’t observed with SaaS applications—and both of them are dangerously wrong.

1. “Doesn’t the cloud backup my data?”

Users and organizations typically move from on-premises applications to software-as-a-service apps to get out of the hardware and software management business—including the management of backup systems. In the old on-premise days, the leading cause of data loss was hardware failure. A good, old-fashion hard drive crash was once an IT pro’s greatest fear—accounting for 44 percent of all data losses. Moving to the cloud absolutely ameliorates this concern, as every major cloud provider has multiple redundant hardware systems that make hardware failure almost irrelevant. To lose data, every device replicating your data (and there are many, in many places) would need to fail.

That’s great, but what about the other 56 percent of the data loss equation? User error, a rogue employee (yours or the SaaS provider’s), a skilled hacker, a software glitch or even a natural disaster could still wipe out your SaaS data. Cloud providers are naturally reticent to talk about this possibility. User error accounted for a mere 32 percent of data losses in on-premises systems, but accounts for 63 percent of data loss in Google Apps. As these systems become easier to access, it becomes easier for users to screw them up, too.

Cloud providers can’t protect you from self-inflicted data loss; SaaS applications can’t distinguish between intentional and mistaken commands, or between benevolent and malicious users. Backing up your cloud data is the only way to ensure that your information is safe from both hardware failure and human error.

2. “It’s more trouble than it’s worth!”

Many IT professionals know that independent data backup is a good idea, even in the cloud—they just don’t have the time or the patience to perform backups on a regular basis. As mentioned above, the common misconception that “cloud” means “you don’t need backup” leads even seasoned IT admins to de-prioritize making backup a central feature of their SaaS applications.

Salesforce, for example, offers weekly or monthly exports, but they are more than a little cumbersome. Google has a number of export options through Google Takeout, but none of these one-off, manual solutions matches the purpose-built efficiency of on-premise backup systems. They either require explicit oversight and initiation from the administrator, or they simply aren’t frequent enough to mitigate serious business risk.

Since most users aren’t asking for automated export or backup, these SaaS providers have no reason to concentrate on improving these features. That puts the onus on SaaS administrators to muddle through manual, barebones data backup—which is exactly the sort of work moving to the cloud was supposed to eliminate.

These two reasons are why Backupify exists. We offer independent, automatic, daily backup for Google Apps, Salesforce and virtually any other mature SaaS application. Backupify covers the use cases the cloud’s hardware redundancy doesn’t, and makes backup as simple as you always hoped SaaS could be. Give it a try today.

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