Protecting Against Cloud Data LossJohn LeMay
Many business and IT leaders incorrectly assume that public cloud storage services, such as Microsoft OneDrive for Business, a component of Microsoft 365, provide the necessary backup and restore capabilities needed to protect critical business data.
Business and IT leaders have rapidly adopted Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365) over the past several years. In 2020, due to the COVID pandemic, this adoption rate accelerated. OneDrive for Business, a cloud storage component of the Microsoft 365 offering, allows users to easily save their data to the cloud, access that data from multiple devices, and share that data with other users. When a user saves a file to their computer, OneDrive for Business automatically syncs these files to the cloud with no user interaction required.
For many organizations, OneDrive for Business has replaced most or all of their local file storage such as file servers. During this transition, many business and IT leaders failed to develop proper backup strategies, policies, and procedures believing that this was also handled automatically by Microsoft. This has left a serious gap in the data management practices of many businesses leaving their data at risk and exposing their organizations to potential loss of this data.
As part of the OneDrive for Business service, Microsoft provides the infrastructure needed for business users to store data in the Microsoft cloud. Microsoft ensures that data is replicated – three times by default – to other systems in their cloud for redundancy and availability. These replica copies ensure users can continue to access their data even if there is a fault in the Microsoft cloud such as a hardware failure or loss of network connectivity at the Microsoft data center. Microsoft also provides the tools necessary for you to manage, secure, and ensure regulatory compliance for your data as part of this service.
Microsoft does not offer a backup and restore service as part of OneDrive for Business. Ensuring data is backed up regularly, testing those backups, and being able to restore data from those backup copies as needed is still the responsibility of the business. Compared to the replication technology Microsoft provides, data backups provide the ability to restore a file or files from a specific point in time in case a file is deleted or corrupted. The Microsoft replication technology cannot provide this level of recovery. While OneDrive for Business does provide a “trash bin” where deleted files can be recovered, this bin is limited to 90 days retention of deleted files and does not protect against file corruption.
As a best practice, IT leaders should ensure that a backup strategy is well defined, documented, and implemented. A backup strategy should define what data is to be backed up, how often the data is backed up, how long copies of data are stored before being permanently deleted, and what security and regulatory requirements must be followed when creating, storing, and destroying backup copies of data.
Once the cloud data backup and recovery strategy is defined, IT leaders must identify the required technology components and develop the policies and procedures to support the strategy. IT leaders will likely look to other cloud-based backup and restore services to fill this gap. Several such services exist, each with unique strengths and weaknesses. Selecting an appropriate service is important to ensure that critical business data is protected from loss.
If your organization is one of the many facing challenges related to cloud data management, Oceantec can help. We provide expert guidance in developing strategies around cloud data management, in the tools and platforms required to manage cloud data, and in developing the necessary supporting business and IT processes to successfully manage and protect your Microsoft 365 and other cloud data. Additionally, we can manage all aspects of not only your cloud data management, but all of your IT needs through our Managed Services offerings. Contact Oceantec today to learn how we can assist your organization.