These days, data is everywhere and with more people working from home than ever before, data is moving beyond the secure file servers at head office. Employees are creating and saving their files on desktops and sometimes even on personal devices, and not always copying the files back to the server. What happens to the data if the employee accidentally deletes or overwrites the file, or the device is lost or damaged?
What about File-syncing services?
Lots of business owners are using file-syncing services and believing that those will eliminate the need to worry about backups.
Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, iCloud Drive, and other similar file-syncing services are convenient, but they also sync deletions and changes. You can often recover deleted files or undo changes for a certain period, but they should not be your only backup method. What if you need to restore a file that was deleted 12 months ago but your file-syncing service only allows you to go back 30 days, which is the case for Dropbox Basic and Dropbox Plus at the time of writing (the professional Dropbox plans allow for 180 days).
File-syncing services don’t count as a proper backup solution. A dedicated backup service should allow you to recover files that were deleted years ago, or step back through a complete history of changes to a document. Syncing services are convenient but are not a replacement for a proper backup solution.
The 3-2-1 strategy
Best practice is to keep 3 copies of your data, in 2 different formats, with at least one of them offsite. If a backup relies on someone remember to do something, it’s likely to fail. This is why using an external hard drive is never a recommended backup strategy. Invariably one of two things happen.
- People forget to plug in the hard drive and take backups regularly so when the time comes to recover a file, chances are it is either missing or so out of date that it is of no use.
- They leave the drive connected permanently. This makes it just as vulnerable as the PC to which it is connected, to electrical damage, damage, theft, fire etc.
Remember: a backup is a copy. If you only have one copy of something, it’s not a backup.
Office 365 does not backup your data!
Many customers believe that Microsoft is backing up their files when they use Office 365. In fact, Microsoft operates Office 365 (now called Microsoft 365) under what they call the “Shared Responsibility Model” and they state the following:
- Microsoft is responsible for keeping the cloud infrastructure services available, you are accountable for protecting your data which is hosted by those services
- “Service Availability: We strive to keep the Services up and running; however, all online services suffer occasional disruptions and outages, and Microsoft is not liable for any disruption or loss you may suffer as a result. In the event of an outage, you may not be able to retrieve Your Content or Data that you’ve stored. We recommend that you regularly backup Your Content and Data that you store on the Services or store using Third-Party Apps and Services.”
This applies not only to files in Sharepoint and Onedrive, but also to email in mailboxes. This means that if an employee accidently provides a malicious user with access to their account, ransomware can infect their O365 email and encrypt their entire mailbox. Only a recent backup would be able to restore the content to safe state.
There is also a need to retain access to data during an Office 365 outage.
Cloud Data Backups
There is an easy solution, which is to use a good Cloud Data Backup service. The software runs on each computer, and automatically backs up any new or changed files to the cloud so you don’t have to worry about it. There are dozens of offerings, some of them free, so why pay for this service?
As the saying goes, you get what you pay for. Some of these free services will charge you if you need to recover your files, or to recover your files within a reasonable amount of time. Some use 3rd parties to actually store the files, so you never really know where your files are and how secure they are. And if you’re not paying for it you probably aren’t getting any guarantees either, so can you really count on these services when you need them? Consumer cloud backup services do not provide a service that satisfies the need of a business.
Flywire offers a range of backup solutions to meet every need including:
- Professional Cloud Data Backup for PC and Mac, either unlimited or per GB, to automatically backup files
- Backup solutions for servers, including the ability to spin up a virtual instance of the server in the event of failure
- Office 365 backups to allow for recovery of files and mailboxes
All backup services are fully managed so you know that the backups are working, and if anything goes wrong it can be corrected immediately.