Our friends at Spanning Backup announced their series B funding round this week, and so I wanted to take a few minutes to both congratulate them and to also discuss what that means for the cloud-to-cloud backup industry.

I remember the initial posts when both Backupify and Spanning launched their products, and the skepticism about how anyone would ever need to backup Google Apps. Even when we both raised Series A rounds, the comments on both pieces of news around the web were often negative. People didn’t get it.

Fast forward now to an industry that is about 4 years old, and there has been total funding of almost $30M between us. Backupify and Spanning combined will probably pass 10,000 business customers and over one million Google Apps accounts backed up this year . Between this rapid growth rate of the industry and this new funding round, it is becoming clear that cloud-to-cloud backup is a real industry. In fact, Forrester recently issued a report describing cloud-to-cloud backup as one of the Eight Disruptors That Will Transform Business Technology Resiliency.

There are more signs that the industry is maturing too. In the early days, it was difficult to differentiate between the functionality of Backupify and Spanning. We were both responding to the basic feature needs for a cloud-to-cloud backup product, and we sold more against the inertia of apathy than against each other. Even today, we both release features so fast that it is hard sometimes to keep up with who does what and whether or not we offer the same things.

But even that will change soon. We have hit a point where the core features have been built for both companies, and you can start to see the product roadmaps taking different directions to go after different market needs. While I don’t know exactly what target market segment Spanning is pursuing, I do know that Backupify has consciously pursued a product path that targets large enterprises, with features specific to their needs like: configurable data retention, enterprise level independent multi-admin functionality, audit logs, account level encryption, and more frequent backups. Google Apps spans 5 million companies of all sizes, so Spanning may choose to target a different market segment, but if they use the new investment to target larger enterprises, we may see them in more of our larger deals than we do today.

Either way, there is clear evidence that the industry is starting to mature, and moving beyond the stage of just early adopters and evangelists to adoption by the early majority.

If you are looking to backup your Google Apps, we would be happy to talk to you about the differences between Backupify and Spanning and see if Backupify for Google Apps is a good fit. But even if you don’t choose Backupify, please realize that backing up your cloud apps is just as important as backing up your on premise data, and this latest investment in the cloud to cloud backup industry proves that.