Protecting Your SaaS in 2019

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Click to learn more about author W. Curtis Preston

Two things will happen a lot in 2019: the introduction of more SaaS storage vendors and more SaaS data loss incidents. Although it may sound that the two are directly related, that A leads to B, they are actually quite different. The latter is due to an inaccurate perception of how SaaS solutions typically work, while the former is due to the popularity of the SaaS model.

It’s no secret that any company that can offer their product as-a-service is probably already looking into it. The incredible success of what many to believe to be the original SaaS company (Salesforce) has led other vendors to offer similar services. On-site Microsoft Exchange has all but been replaced by Office 365 Exchange Online and G-Suite. In fact, in a recent survey of Druva customers, 80 percent of those still running Exchange planned to be migrating to Exchange Online as soon as possible.

There is great pressure from both customers and stockholders to get companies to offer their products as-a-service. Customers like it because they can get all the benefits of a given technology without the downsides of large capital purchases and depreciation schedules. Instead of buying hardware and software years before they need it, the as-a-service model allows them to pay for what they need when they need it. SaaS customers get as much email, compute, or storage as they need when they need it – without paying for it years ahead of time, buying something that they might never use, or managing upgrades, patching and maintenance. Vendor stockholders like it because it creates recurring revenue, while customer stockholders appreciate the more predictable billing and expenditures.

This past month, Pure Storage began offering their product as-a-service, and it is a sure thing that other storage and data management vendors will follow suite. Data Management-as-a-Service is a breakthrough category and enables organizations to better manage their increasing volumes of data across data centers, endpoints, and cloud environments. It brings off the control and fully leverages the advantages of the cloud architecture without the need for on-premises hardware or legacy systems.

This trend toward SaaS is also creating another trend: the idea that SaaS solves all problems including data protection. Many people seem to think that adopting cloud-based solutions like Office 365 instantly solves data backup as well because “it’s in the cloud.” But that’s not the case, and this is why I am predicting an increase in data loss incidents for SaaS customers in 2019.

The reason that some companies trust SaaS vendors to satisfy their recovery needs is that they often provide a number of features that protect you from common problems, such as recycle bins and versioning. Without going into detail in this blog post, suffice it to say that while the features they offer do help, they do not solve all known ways that your data can be lost.

The biggest risk comes from malicious corruption or deletion of your data from a hacker or malware. As attackers become more aware of how SaaS services work, they are changing how they attack data. For example, one ransomware variant encrypts your files 100 times in order to corrupt all versions of your file. Even if you have versioning, this will likely overwrite all versions of a given file. This is why a third-party backup of SaaS data is crucial.

The cost of backing up your data properly through a Data Management service is relatively small compared to the risk to your company by ignoring the need. I would urge all readers to look into it now before it’s too late.

Also watch this blog for upcoming articles on details of risks to your data in SaaS applications, and insights as you go through the process of beginning data backup and Data Management.

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