What Is Cloud-to-Cloud Backup and Why Is It Necessary

A Tech Target IT study was conducted late in 2013 and it found that 44% of the IT techs made most of the decisions for their companies in regards to system backups might look at Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) this year. A new Forrester survey of 943 businesses that use SaaS applications found that the companies plan to use more than 50 SaaS apps this year and almost 70 in 2015. Those numbers amount to a lot of information that businesses will authorize other backup providers to protect, that is unless they decide to start their own cloud-to-cloud backup.

cloud-to-cloud backup

A lot of cloud-to-cloud backup dealers will typically only protect a few of these apps, but on a good note, they are adding more apps and abilities all the time. For example, last year, Backupify went further with the Google Apps and Salesforce.com backups by making its application programming interfaces more accessible to SaaS providers, application vendors and for companies who want to rapidly add a backup for cloud apps. Backupify CEO, Rob May said his company will be adding more backups for Box and Microsoft Office 365 sometime this year.

Another company, Spanning, has backed up Google Apps for many years, and now they have gone beta with Salesforce.com backup near the end of 2013. They are scheduled for broad availability in the next few months.

Asigra, another backup company, sells software to a lot of managed service providers. Then, last year they added backups for Google Apps to go with the Salesforce.com backups that were launched in 2012.

Other Cloud-To-Cloud Backup Companies

These backup services will allow the customers to make backup copies of any data that is stored on SaaS apps to another cloud backup, like Amazon Web Services. So these copies typically include metadata and audit logs and they can be searched for quick and granular restores.

Are these tools even necessary?

Cloud-to-cloud backups may be seen as an indulgence that a lot of companies do not need even if they have very important data in a cloud. Bill Suarez, director of IT for the software security firm Bit9, uses a mix of TwinStrata CloudArray and Veeam Software Backup & Replication to safeguard his on-premises data and he says he does not need to have another backup tool to safeguard his company’s information on Salesforce.com.

“We rely on Salesforce for that,” Suarez said. “I have to wonder about the real value of cloud-to-cloud backup. When it comes to cloud operations, Salesforce has written most of the books.”

In the Forrester report “Back Up Your Critical Cloud Data Before It’s Too Late,” Forrester senior analyst Rachel Dines urges users not to ignore the idea of cloud-to-cloud backup. “Many SaaS providers will not restore lost data for users or will only do so for an exorbitant fee,” she wrote.

She listed a few risks to information stored in a cloud application, in addition to data that is lost during data migration to the cloud or from one cloud vendor to another, accidental deletion of information by the users, malicious insiders, departing employees, cyber criminals and rogue applications.

“For years, it has been standard practice to back up your critical data. … Yet, every day, enterprises send critical data to SaaS providers without any plan for how they will back up the data and restore it,” Dines wrote. “Only when they experience data loss do they ask the question, ‘Who is responsible for backing up my data?'”

While a lot of SaaS providers have proper restore and recovery policies, others will not disclose their policies to just anyone and it may be way too expensive or put may put data at risk. Salesforce.com charges $10,000 for services that restore data that has been deleted permanently or was corrupted. Google Apps deletes data whenever a user deletes it, and the data cannot be recaptured from a user’s account that has been deleted.

Security, Compliance Could Drive Cloud-To-Cloud Backup

Backupify and Spanning seem to be the most profitable of the cloud-to-cloud backup providers, mainly because they are attract bigger companies that are taking an extra step to protect their cloud data.

Backupify’s May said his company has 1.7 petabytes under management and over 7,000 business customers, some with more than tens of thousands of employees.

May and Spanning CEO Jeff Erramouspe said that sales to larger companies are driven by the compliance and security concerns, and they are working very hard to add more features in those areas.

“We’ll do a lot more with security,” May said. “We’re looking at giving our customers the ability to provide their own encryption keys and manage those themselves. We’re also looking to do a lot more with our search functionality to give them more refined ways of searching for data.”

Spanning claims more than 3,000 customers, including Netflix.

“Our big deals are driven by compliance guys,” Erramouspe said. “Auditors say, ‘You need a separate copy of cloud data stored somewhere else.’ If the auditors say, ‘You need to have separate backup for cloud data,’ then we’ll be in a great position.”

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