In today’s world of hybrid IT operations, organizations are making use of Software-as-a-Service technologies and resources to scale the needs of the business. Businesses today are heavily using services such as Office 365 and Google G Suite to have access to cloud email and data storage services that scale and have features and capabilities simply not possible with on-premises infrastructure.

The Software-as-a-Service or SaaS offerings and buy-in from businesses have exploded over the past several years. Office 365 and Google G Suite are certainly providing real value for businesses looking to make use of these resources as services rather than on-premises infrastructure that needs to constantly be updated and maintained. While the possibilities and business value promise of these services are exciting for organizations making use of them, an often-overlooked aspect of Software-as-a-Service infrastructure is data protection. There are many misconceptions when it comes to cloud SaaS infrastructure and also the need for data protection.

Why is it important for organizations today to backup their Software-as-a-Service infrastructure such as Office 365 and Google G Suite?

Let’s take a quick look at Why backups are needed for Office 365 and Google G Suite SaaS environments and how businesses can effectively backup their data.

Are Backups of SaaS Services Really Needed?

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As organizations migrate to the cloud for email, file storage, and other business-critical services, data protection can be an afterthought. There are also misconceptions that can lead to dangerous assumptions for businesses who have already migrated or are considering migration to the public cloud by way of SaaS environments such as Office 365 and Google G Suite.

What are these misconceptions?

There has certainly been a mindset that data that is stored in the public cloud is immune to data loss. This misconception is born from confusion between high-availability and disaster recovery. Cloud providers such as Microsoft and Google operate extremely resilient, world-class data centers that promise up-time ratings that most enterprise environments could never achieve. Business and technology leaders may feel there is no need to backup data that is stored in such resilient facilities and platforms. However, Microsoft, Google, and other cloud providers provide high-availability for your data and not disaster recovery. There is a difference. High-availability is the means to provide system up-time regardless of hardware or network failures. Microsoft and Google certainly have this aspect covered with extremely resilient hardware and network infrastructure.

Backup Office 365 and Google G Suite SaaS

Microsoft Office 365 SaaS environment (image courtesy of Microsoft)

However, what happens if a user accidentally or intentionally deletes a file or multiple files/folders in OneDrive or Google Drive?

This has nothing to do with high-availability. Microsoft and Google do not protect your data from this standpoint. Microsoft out of the two has only recently provided the ability to recover files from previous versions, up to 30 days, in OneDrive. There is no provision as of yet outside of OneDrive, such as Email protection.

What happens when an Office 365 Email account is encrypted by ransomware? It can happen.

What happens when on-premises ransomware that has encrypted local files is synchronized to the public cloud storage, overwriting known good copies of Google Drive files?

Again, this is a dangerous scenario for a business that has nothing to do with the high-availability of the data which the cloud provider is taking care of. It helps to underscore some of the important reasons that backups of SaaS environments are needed and are an extremely important part of the overall business continuity plan of an organization. The protection of your data is ultimately your responsibility.

Backup Office 365 and Google G Suite SaaS

Google’s G Suite SaaS offering (image courtesy of Google)

Dangers to SaaS Data

We have already highlighted a few of the dangers that exist for public cloud-stored data.

Let’s take a look at a few of the risks to data that underscore the need for SaaS backups.

  • Accidental or Intentional File Deletion
  • Malicious attacker infiltrates the SaaS environment
  • Migration Capabilities
  • Ransomware Data Recovery
  • Archives/Auditing

Accidental or Intentional File Deletion

As mentioned, files or folders can be deleted accidentally or intentionally. A well-meaning employee may mistakenly get rid of the wrong file. They may also overwrite the wrong file with new information, causing data loss. A malicious or disgruntled employee may delete files intentionally to cause data loss. These are scenarios that are not circumvented by the high-availability mechanisms provided by cloud providers.

Malicious attacker infiltrates the SaaS environment

After compromising or stealing user credentials, a malicious attacker can potentially alter or cause data loss intentionally in the Office 365 or Google G Suite environment. Files could be deleted or information could be changed, both of which result in data loss. Again, this falls in the area of disaster recovery and not high-availability.

Migration Capabilities

Having the ability to backup and restore data in different accounts than the source can prove to be a powerful way to migrate data from one SaaS user to another. However, you must first have the ability to back up the source data to begin with. These are capabilities that are simply not available by native means in either Office 365 or Google G Suite.

Ransomware Data Recovery

Ransomware is arguably one of the most dangerous threats to data today. This is true for data either on-premises or in the cloud. Ransomware slyly and silently encrypts data so that it is unrecoverable without the private key to decrypt the encrypted data. Unfortunately, most of the time, by the time ransomware infection is detected, the damage is already done. By backing up the SaaS stored data, organizations are preparing themselves for a ransomware attack that most likely will happen at some point.

Archiving/Auditing

While Microsoft and Google do have some built-in mechanisms in their SaaS environment offerings for archiving, these have their limitations. Having a full data protection solution allows backing up data for the determined retention period length, which effectively allows archiving data for auditing/archival purposes. As more data and services are moved to the public cloud, this is an aspect of data retention that must be considered.

Backing Up Office 365 and Google G Suite SaaS

As shown, organizations today MUST take charge of data stored in SaaS offerings.

Protecting business-critical data is a huge responsibility and the complexities of doing that are growing as data and services are spread across the hybrid infrastructure. However, businesses today can take advantage of powerful SaaS backup offerings such as Vembu’s Office 365 and G Suite Backup and Recovery to effectively protect data stored there.

Office 365 Backup and Recovery

  • Exchange Online Backup – Allows protecting the entire exchange online domain which includes email accounts and individual user’s mailboxes.
    • Mail Level Restore – Mail restores can restore items to the source account or to a different user’s account
  • Contacts and Calendar Backup – Effectively backup contacts and calendar of the Exchange Online users
  • OneDrive for Business Backup – Backup all documents from OneDrive

G Suite Backup and Recovery

  • Gmail Backup – Backup G Suite domain, including Google Drive
    • Mail Level Restore – Restore individual mail items to the same or different Gmail account
  • Contacts and Calendar Backup – Backup the contacts and calendar of G Suite users
  • Google Drive Backup – Backup all documents from Google Drive

Vembu Office 365 and G Suite Backup and Recovery allows protecting the valuable data contained in today’s premiere Software-as-a-Service offerings from Microsoft and Google. This allows organizations to take charge of their data and not rely on native tools from both vendors that are either sorely lacking or non-existent altogether. As more data is migrated from on-premises, businesses today must constantly evaluate both disaster recovery and business continuity plans to take into account all aspects of recovering their data. Using powerful tools such as Vembu Office 365 and G Suite Backup and Recovery allows businesses to effectively accomplish those objectives, quickly and easily. This allows operating with confidence in the Software-as-a-Service landscapes being utilized today.

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Why Backups are Needed for Office 365 and Google G Suite SaaS
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