Generic Backupify
September 06, 2013
Cloud-to-Cloud Backup

What the NFL Can Teach Us About Cloud Data Loss

The 94th season of the National Football League kicked off last night with the Denver Broncos hosting the Baltimore Ravens. Here at Backupify, we love cloud-to-cloud backup and talk about it all the time. We also often hear the term “backup” in the context of football, especially when your hometown team’s starting quarterback gets injured and your backup goes on to win the Super Bowl (see Tom Brady’s resume). In the spirit of the my favorite sport, below are some examples of how data backup is actually kind of like the NFL.

Play 1: “The Blitz”

Here’s the play, your company is the offense (represented by the blue circles) and the opposition is the red Xs.  The field is the cloud, as you’re “running” your business on it.

Let’s breakdown this play in terms of cloud backup.  While your company is continuously running on the cloud to conduct day to day business (utilizing services like Google Apps or Salesforce), your data must always be secure.

In this play your company’s data has been compromised due to a security breach (in the form of a blitz play in our football comparison).  A common security breach is a phishing attack, where users are duped into revealing passwords by way of emails or webpages that are designed to look like “real” login screens.

The best way to defend against a security breach (in our example, the blitz!) is training your cloud app users. Simple advice like “never tell anyone your password” and “check the web address of any page that asks you to login” can stop the vast majority of social engineering attacks.

Play 2: “The Fumble”

Your company’s employees are working together daily to accomplish a common goal – much like a running play as depicted in the image below.  Each player has a role in order to set up the blocking for the running back to carry the football.

In the play above, the team is running the ball to the right in a “sweep” play.  When the play starts, the quarterback receives the ball from the center and hands the ball off to the running back, who follows behind his blockers clearing a path for him.

But as the quarterback throws the ball into the running back’s hands, there’s a fumble and the ball pops out!  The running back recovers the ball, but loses 5 yards on the play.  There was an error within the team that directly resulted in a loss.

In the NFL, recovering a 5 yard loss is fairly easy but at your company, a user error could result in lost or destroyed data and that isn’t so easy to recover from.

User errors fall into two general types: accidentally deleting information or intentionally deleting data (only to find you need it later). It could be as simple as deleting a document on Google Drive that’s shared with your team.

Protect yourself from the “fumble” play and keep your data safe with an automated, regularly scheduled third-party backup of your Google Apps or Salesforce data. When it comes to Cloud to Cloud Backup, we wrote the book on Cloud Security best practices. Take a look and let us know if you have any feedback.

Additionally, are you aware of the

Play 3: “The Blackout”

It was February 3rd 2013 and with 13 minutes and 22 left in the 3rd quarter of Super Bowl XLVII, history was made…. the power went out. The NFL estimates that 1 billion people in 200 countries were watching the game when the incident occurred, the impact of this error was huge.

Now, based on our previous examples of the business “running” on the cloud which is the field – this scenario represents a real issue with a cloud-based service – a service outage. Generally, Google for example is excellent at guaranteeing that your data is kept on their servers, but Google has however denied its customers access to their data during a service outage.

Historically Google has had a few incidents (just like the Super Bowl power outage). But imagine if a presentation you created is hosted on your Google Drive and you need it for an important meeting and there’s a Google service outage.

Google can’t help you when their service is down.  The only remedy is to have a backup copy of all your Google Apps data on your domain. This way you’ll still have access to the last version of your Presentation, and ace your pitch.

Inside the Huddle

This NFL season, as you watch your favorite team take the field – remember that these pro players can recover from a blitz, fumble, or stadium blackout much easier than you can recover your data from security breaches, user error, or Google outages. Think about your company’s cloud-to-cloud backup strategy so that your Sundays are spent stressing about a field goal to win the game and not the loss of valuable business data.

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