Making the move to cloud-based services like Office 365 provides organisations with many benefits; from an increase in end user productivity to reduced cost and complexity of maintaining on-site hardware. The risk of downtime is also substantially reduced because the applications are run across highly available architectures spread over different regions. These benefits have made Office 365 an attractive prospect to businesses of all sizes and industries.
But cloud service providers have made it easy for IT departments to think that when it comes to disaster recovery, their work has been done. While application downtime is certainly reduced in Office 365, Microsoft cannot protect businesses from themselves.
There is no way for Office 365 to distinguish between a malicious employee deleting critical files and another deleting some unneeded items. This means that if data is lost because of human error, there’s often very little that businesses can do to get the files back.
What’s worrying is that data loss through human error isn’t an uncommon occurrence. Recent research from Cloudwards found that 32 percent of data loss is caused by human error. And there are plenty of ways this can occur, for instance:
While Office 365 does provide customers with some protection against loss of data, often the window for data recovery is short and the recovery options limited. For example, in Exchange Online, individual emails that are deleted will remain in the user’s deleted items folder for 30 days by default.
While the deleted items folder does provide a layer of protection against end-user errors, if the user chooses to empty the folder, the data will be held for a further 14 days by default, after which it will be gone forever.
Businesses looking to adopt a Cloud solution for business-critical activities need some additional support to eliminate the risk of items lost due to human error or malicious deletion, as well as retain emails and files indefinitely if users leave the organisation. Here are four tips to ensure that important data is accessible, recoverable and protected:
Most SaaS vendors back up their customers' data to protect against application downtime, but they cannot protect customers from themselves; if data within the application is changed, either accidentally or on purpose, the overwritten data can be lost forever. Companies must implement the same level of data protection for their Cloud services as they have for their existing on-premise applications, so they can rest assured that their business won’t be damaged by data loss.
By Stefan Schachinger, Consulting System Engineer – Data Protection, Barracuda Networks