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Do You Need to Backup Your SaaS Data?

Some novice users are under the impression that SaaS (software-as-a-service) means they no longer have to backup their important files. However, this simply isn't the case. While cloud-based SaaS can provide significant data protection, and can even be utilized in the case of an emergency, it shouldn't serve as your sole data backup.

In fact, according to recent studies, approximately 33 percent of SaaS users have lost data through their reliance on the cloud. While that's not an extraordinarily high number, and there are certainly some apps and services that are far less secure, it goes to show that your SaaS data isn't completely safe from harm, either.

What is SaaS?

To properly understand the importance of backing up your SaaS data, it's important to understand exactly what SaaS is and what it isn't. In short, it's a service delivery model that features software licensing and subscription-based services. It also features a single, centralized host. It's much more similar to the model of "on-demand software" than it is a data backup mechanism.

Previously known as "software plus services" by Microsoft, most of today's SaaS offerings are accessed via a standard web browser. Not only does this make them highly accessible, but it makes them ideal for users that are spread out amongst different operating systems and devices.

Why is SaaS / Cloud-based backup a bad idea?

Although some users still rely on the cloud for backup, there are numerous reasons why it's a bad idea, including:

- Slow recovery times: Let's face it – copying data to and from the cloud just isn't as quick as a local disk. Between network bandwidth, system bottlenecks, and network availability, it could be difficult to recover data after a disaster occurs.

- Data is sometimes deleted from the cloud: Most of today's cloud service providers have a clear policy when it comes to the retention of their customer's data. In some cases, these timeframes might cover several years. In others, data might be removed on a monthly or even weekly basis. Maintaining a localized backup of all your critical files ensures that you'll always be able to access them – even months or years down the road.

- Human error or interference: Let's face it: humans sometimes make mistakes. When it comes to maintaining a cloud server, however, these mistakes could end up exposing customer data or even deleting it altogether. In some cases, a malicious user might gain unauthorized entry into a cloud environment and intentionally delete the data within. In cases like this, it pays to host your own, local backup.

As you can see, there are a number of factors that just aren't accounted for in typical SaaS offerings – and that makes it a bad choice for data backup and archival. While it certainly fills a valuable niche, SaaS alone isn't enough for full-scale data protection in the 21st century.

Luckily, there are plenty of third-party data backup options to choose from – including cloud-based apps and services that can complement your current SaaS offerings quite well. To find out more information on these apps, or to locate specific apps that are compatible with your current services, visit your cloud provider's marketplace right away.


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