September 30, 2020 Zachary Kitchen

Are You Backing Up Your Cloud Platforms (Microsoft 365, G Suite, etc.)?

Companies were already largely moving their data and processes to the cloud even before the pandemic hit, and the crisis accelerated that process. Businesses realized the need to have data stored safely in a place their team could access from any location and any device.

A problem that many Houston area businesses face now is that they have a false sense of security when it comes to data stored in cloud solutions. They mistake a cloud storage and file sharing service like OneDrive or Dropbox for a backup system, and it’s not.

Cloud data is becoming more at risk because hackers go where the data is, and if it’s now in a Microsoft 365 or G Suite account rather than an on-premises server, that’s where their efforts are directed.

The latest Verizon Data Breach Investigations report had several statistics that show hackers are targeting login credentials.

Some of the concerning statistics include:

  • Password dumpers have become the #1 malware deployed in data breaches
  • Fake forms seeking to steal account login credentials have become the #1 type of phishing attack
  • Credential theft is responsible for 77% of cloud account breaches

If you’re not separately backing up your cloud account data in a third-party backup and recovery platform, then you’re at a fairly significant risk of losing those files.

Why You Need to Back Up Your Cloud Application Data

Data stored in cloud platforms is not impervious to being lost, and saving a file to OneDrive is not the same as backing up that file in a format that cannot be edited.

75% of surveyed organizations have experienced data loss from a cloud service, and on more than one occasion. 

Here are several reasons that you should be backing up your cloud account data to ensure it’s not lost.

Overwritten Files

Cloud storage services are not the same as a cloud backup/recovery service. Backup and recovery tools take a snapshot of all your files and store them for restoration later. Individual files cannot be edited or overwritten when in a backup.

Unlike a backup, when files are in a cloud storage environment they are “live,” meaning they can be overwritten by a user either in the platform or through a synced version on a user device. 

Once a file is overwritten, you can lose the original forever.

Deleted Files

Files in cloud platforms can also be deleted. This can either be done accidentally by a user deleting the wrong file or folder, or maliciously through an insider attack. Files can also be deleted accidentally due to a software or syncing problem. 

Having your files in a cloud storage and sharing service and not backing them up separately leaves them vulnerable to deletion, and if you’re not familiar with cloud retention policies, it can mean those deleted files are purged from the system without a way to retrieve them.

Malware & Ransomware Infections

Ransomware attacks can, and do, target files stored in cloud applications. In fact, it’s becoming the favored target of ransomware attackers.

59% of ransomware attacks that encrypted data last year happened in the public cloud, rather than on-premises assets.

If you don’t have a backup copy of your cloud account data, then you could end up losing it forever or having to pay an expensive ransom and hoping the criminal holds up their end of the deal.

Cloud Servers Can Go Down

Cloud providers work to keep downtime to a minimum, but your data is being stored on servers in data centers and outages can occur with those servers, just like any others.

Cloud service outages can leave you without access to your data if you don’t have a backup copy to rely on.

Even cloud providers recommend that you not keep your only copy of data in their services and instead back it up. Here is what the Microsoft Services Agreement says about this:

“In the event of an outage, you may not be able to retrieve Your Content or Data that you’ve stored. We recommend that you regularly backup Your Content and Data that you store on the Services or store using Third-Party Apps and Services.”

Retention Policies that Limit Storage Time

Many companies have certain files and emails that they need to retain indefinitely for either legal or historical purposes. If you’re relying on indefinite retention in a cloud service, you could end up unpleasantly surprised years later to find data was automatically deleted after a preset retention period expired.

Cloud service retention policies can be complicated and can take companies off guard. For example, if a user is deleted in Microsoft 365 and their data is not transferred to another user, that data is purged by the system in 30 days.

When you back up your cloud data in a backup and recovery tool, you can choose to keep those files however long you need them.

Do You Need Help Backing Up Your Cloud Account Data?

Digital Crisis can help your Houston area business put a reliable backup and recovery plan in place for ALL your data, on-premises, mobile, and cloud account. 

Contact us today to schedule a consultation. Call 713-965-7200 or reach us online.

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