All B2B companies are using cloud-based services, software, or storage as part of their computing infrastructure. I am not a data storage expert, but I’m a heavy Google Apps user and I have lost data due to user error, so I decided to do a little research on exactly how companies lose data in the cloud and what can be done to prevent it.
Top 5 ways data is lost in the cloud
An Aberdeen Group Survey estimates that one out of every three companies using SaaS applications has lost data.
- User error – 64%
Registered users who accidentally delete or overwrite data. This was the mistake I made. Keep reading for the solution we adopted for the entire agency.
- Hackers – 13%
Outsiders who get into the system with nefarious intent.
- Closing an account prematurely – 10%
Registered user or provider who closes an account without regard for the data left behind.
- Malicious delete – 7%
A registered user who purposely deletes data.
- Third-party software – 7%
Unintentional data overwrite by third-party software on the user’s system.
Data loss on cloud platforms is more common than you might think. There are millions of businesses using hosted services such as Google Apps, Dropbox and SalesForce. Unfortunately, most of these businesses incorrectly assume that the software vendor is actively protecting their data.
Top SaaS application providers do a great job of protecting from loss and catastrophic failure on their end, but they do not offer protection from user error, which accounts for almost two-thirds of all data loss.
Forrester predicts that a typical firm will use an average of 66 SaaS applications in two years — and most organizations don’t realize that they are at risk for losing critical data on those applications.
Assess the need for backup of your cloud data
Before you go rushing around trying to find a suitable backup solution, take a careful look at what needs to be backed up. Our agency, like many, is almost exclusively cloud-based, but our critical data isn’t in too many locations. Here is our list of the main cloud-based tools we use:
- Google Apps (including GMail, Contacts, Calendar, Hangouts and Google Docs) – MISSION CRITICAL
- HubSpot (marketing automation, blog creation, web hosting, social media, analytics) – MISSION CRITICAL
- PipeDrive (CRM for the sales team) – MISSION CRITICAL
- Slack (our “water-cooler” conversation center) – IMPORTANT
Our critical and important data is centered on very few services. There are some other apps that we depend on, like Zerys and ToDoist, but these don’t contain a lot of agency data and the data they do contain isn’t mission critical.
HubSpot has designed a user interface that almost eliminates the possibility of data loss by user error. Every once in awhile I forget to Save, but Hubspot has an auto-save feature that handles this for me. There is also a strong revisions system, so I can revert back to a previous version easily. With these features in mind, we’ve decided that the risk of data loss in HubSpot is very low.
Google Apps is a core application for us, as we are all using this set of tools all day every day. And this is where I made a mistake and permanently deleted some important documents accidentally. (For those of you who are Google Apps savvy, yes, I did somehow manage to permanently delete these — they’re not in Trash and talking with a Google service rep confirmed that the documents are gone.) For the cost $3/month/user, we use Cloudfinder to backup everything from Google Apps, Mail, Contacts, Calendar, and Drive.
PipeDrive is our CRM and it has critical information that we don’t want to lose. A call to PipeDrive support confirmed that then can restore accidentally deleted records for us in case of user error. So we don’t need another backup of this data (although we’re talking about automating an Excel CSV download of the data on a weekly basis, just to be sure).
A study by the IT Policy Compliance Group showed that human error, in one form or another, accounts for 75% of ALL data loss, whether cloud-based or on-premise. It makes sense to survey what cloud software you use, determine how important that data is, and find a way to automatically back it up to protect against human error.
I love talking and writing about our tools and processes. If you have questions about what tools might serve you best, or how we leverage our tools in our agency, please drop me a line at [email protected].