Best Practices for Cloud-to-cloud Backup

Backing up your cloud SaaS environment is a no-brainer.  Protecting your organization’s responsibility according to the fine print of cloud SaaS SLAs.  While it is possible using enterprise solutions to backup your cloud SaaS environment to on-premises storage, cloud-to-cloud backups offer many advantages over backing up your data to an on-premises data center.  

However, like any technology, service, or solution, following best practices helps avoid issues later.  It also enables you to protect your data no matter what disaster may occur. Let’s take a look at cloud-to-cloud best practices and see how you can get the most from your cloud-to-cloud backup solution.  

Cloud-to-cloud backup best practices

Implementing cloud-to-cloud best practices allows your business to protect your data effectively and efficiently.  It also helps to minimize the possibility of data loss.  What best practices should companies consider when implementing cloud-to-cloud backups for their cloud Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) environments like Google Workspace and Microsoft Office 365?  

  1. Choose the right cloud-to-cloud backup solution
  2. Give attention to backup data locality
  3. Use automatic, versioned backups
  4. Encrypt your backup data
  5. Implement a cloud cybersecurity solution

1.  Choose the right cloud-to-cloud backup solution

It may seem like an obvious point to choose “the right” backup solution.  Organizations have to make the right choice and select a solution that aligns with their business.  However, not all cloud-to-cloud backup solutions are created equal.  Choosing the right solution offering the right mix of features and functionality while considering the data protection challenges faced in cloud SaaS is vitally important.  As we will see covering the other best practices in the list, certain features should be standard in a cloud-to-cloud solution protecting your data.  If not, you should look elsewhere.  

2.  Give attention to backup data locality

Why is giving attention to backup data locality important?  What do we mean by that?  There are many cloud-to-cloud backup solutions on the market that backup cloud SaaS data but give you no control over where or which cloud your backup data is stored.  It is essential to align your cloud SaaS data protection with backup best-practice methodologies.  An industry standard is the 3-2-1 backup rule.  Simply put, the 3-2-1 backup rule recommends that you have at least (3) copies of your data stored on (2) different kinds of media, with at least (1) stored offsite.

The entire premise of the rule is having separated copies of data stored in separate locations.  It prevents the “all your eggs in one basket” scenario where you can suffer catastrophic data loss that affects production data and your data backups.  Choosing a solution that stores your cloud SaaS data in the same cloud as your production data is, in effect, doing the same thing.  

You want to diversify where your data is stored.  If your production cloud becomes inaccessible due to a specific cloud’s catastrophic failure, you still can access your data backups in another cloud.  Choose a backup solution that allows your business to align with this cloud-to-cloud backup best practice of choosing and diversifying the location of your backup data.

3.  Use automatic, versioned backups

Backing up your cloud Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) environment should happen at automatic, regularly scheduled intervals.  You never want to rely on manual backups of your cloud SaaS environment.  Relying on manual backups invites data disaster.  You want to schedule automatic backups so that you have multiple versions of your data contained in cloud SaaS services.  Why is versioning important when it comes to protecting your data?  Versioning allows choosing the “version” or point-in-time of your data that you want to restore.  

Suppose you have a spreadsheet that many different team members regularly change, and someone updates the spreadsheet with the wrong information.  Having multiple backup versions of the file available to choose from allows choosing the file version from the backup you want to restore.  

4.  Encrypt your backup data

Giving attention to protecting the information contained in your cloud SaaS data backups is extremely important.  Some businesses may overlook this point. However, data backups have production data that can be sensitive or contain other information that needs to be protected.  Protecting your data backups from unauthorized access is often just as critical as protecting the production data.  Cybercriminals are looking at any way possible to gain access to sensitive and otherwise business-critical data.  

While encryption is often thought of in a bad light due to ransomware, the technology itself can work to protect your data.  Encrypting data contained in backups prevents any unauthorized person from reading the contents of the data.  Encryption basically “scrambles” the data so that it is not readable without the encryption key.  You want to ensure you encrypt your backups both in-flight and at-rest.  What does this mean?  Encryption in-flight encrypts data as it moves across the network.  Encryption at-rest encrypts the information stored on disk.  Both are needed to ensure data is protected during the entire lifecycle transmission and storage lifecycle.

5.  Implement a cloud cybersecurity solution

Considering the modern threat landscape of business-critical data, it is alarming the number of threats and risks that can compromise, delete, lock up, or steal your data.  Backups are often categorized into a standalone silo that is treated separately from all other business-critical tasks.  However, backups are, in fact, a vital part of your overall cybersecurity strategy.  That can be a new thought for some.  When you think about it, recovering your data from backups after a ransomware infection is the only course of action aside from paying the ransom.  It brings into clear focus the role of backups in cybersecurity.

The other side of the coin is cybersecurity works hand-in-hand with data backups.  It is becoming an essential component of your backup strategy to ensure you have cybersecurity mechanisms in place to protect your cloud SaaS data.  It is the case due to an all-important part of business data SLAs called the Restore Time Objective (RTO).  The Restore Time Objective (RTO) is the amount of time decided by business stakeholders in which the business can be without business-critical data and continue to function, at least in a limited capacity. 

The more data lost in a data loss disaster, the more difficult it can be to meet the agreed-upon RTO value.  Another angle to this point comes into play when you consider that modern cloud service providers throttle the number of API calls made to cloud SaaS environments.  APIs are the web-based endpoints that cloud-to-cloud backup solutions communicate with to backup and restore your data.  The more data loss you experience, the greater the number of API calls that need to be made and for more extended periods.  

See the specific guidance offered by Microsoft regarding API calls to Microsoft Graph:

Let’s reevaluate why this emphasizes the importance of cybersecurity solutions used in tandem with cloud SaaS data backups.  If cybersecurity is left unchecked, a ransomware attack can ravage your cloud SaaS environment.  Your business may have adequate backups of all the data.  However, the sheer amount of data that needs restoring will undoubtedly hit the API calls threshold in the cloud SaaS environment and the throttling that follows.  It will drastically impact the amount of time it will take to restore your data.  

Implementing a proactive ransomware protection solution and adequate backups makes for a highly effective defense for your data.  It allows not only stopping ransomware in its tracks but also minimizes the amount of data recovery needed. 

Cloud-to-cloud best practices with SpinOne

As mentioned, choosing the right backup solution with the right features needed in a cloud-to-cloud backup solution is extremely important.  SpinOne by Spin Technology is a cloud-to-cloud backup solution that provides a powerful combination of next-generation cloud SaaS backup technology and robust cybersecurity features.  It allows your business to operate business-critical backup tasks as a Backup-as-a-Service operation.  It means you don’t have to worry about the underlying hardware, backup technologies, or details of the backups, such as the difference between incremental and differential backup, etc.  

SpinOne is a solution that “just works” to back up your data and protect it from cybersecurity threats.  SpinOne backups and cybersecurity’s seamless capabilities are powered by next-generation artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technologies that act as a 24x7x365 guardian for your data.  Using SpinOne allows taking control and ownership of your cloud SaaS data, so you choose data locality and other configuration that aligns with your business and backup best practices.

Key features of the SpinOne solution include:

  • Automatic backups and file versioning – Backup your data 1-3X daily with full file versioning
  • Choose the cloud service provider and location for your backup data – You are not locked into storing your backups in the cloud service provider of the specific cloud SaaS service you are using.  You can also choose the region where your data resides.
  • Encrypted backups, both in-flight and at-rest
  • Full data migration capabilities for effective employee offboarding
  • Searchable backups
  • Alerting and reporting
  • Visibility to which data is protected and not
  • Ransomware protection – SpinOne provides world-class ransomware protection that proactively and automatically stops ransomware in its tracks and automatically restores any data affected in the meantime.  

SpinOne provides the 1-2 punch that companies need today to carry out business-critical operations in cloud SaaS environments with confidence and without the fear of data loss.  Learn more about SpinOne here and sign up for a fully-featured trial version here.    

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