3 risks of keeping your data stored in a cloud service
by Abbie-Lee Hollister, on October 15, 2019
In the last few years, an increasing amount of data has moved to the cloud, mainly because the leading cloud services such as Office365, HubSpot and other SaaS applications have unlocked numerous benefits, including affordability, collaboration, accessibility, and mobility.
Unfortunately, these inroads have not reduced the potential for data loss. There are many misconceptions abound about cloud data, the biggest being that there is no risk of data loss in the cloud.
This belief has led many small to medium sized business to disregard standard business continuity practices, such as regular backup and auditing of data, when it comes to the cloud.
Risk 1: Accidental Data Deletion
The primary threat to cloud data is user error.
Accidental deletion poses a constant threat to any business data, and the open and collaborative nature of cloud applications increases this risk.
Data - including records, emails, contacts, and documents are all susceptible to user error or accidental deletion. On a daily basis, system administrators are burdened by these types of data recovery procedures.
When data is stored in a cloud application with an inadequate or non-existent backup strategy, accidental or malicious deletion is a time-consuming and costly experience.
Risk 2: Data Retention Policies
It's sometimes easy to assume that once data is stored in the cloud, it is always accessible at a moment’s notice. In reality, most major cloud services only retain data for a limited amount of time. Often this will only become apparent when a system administrator tries to retrieve deleted information only to discover that it has been automatically purged.
It is important to note that data retention does not just come into play when files are accidentally or purposefully deleted. When an employee leaves an organisation, his or her user accounts are usually closed, taking the corresponding data with them.
Microsoft’s Office 365 retention policy in particular deserves a second look.
- SharePoint Online retains deleted data for a maximum of 216 days, after which it is purged and unrecoverable.
- For Exchange Online, once a user deletes an item, the item is retained in a secondary folder accessible to admins for only 30 days.
- With OneDrive for Business, deleted items are retained for a maximum of 186 days, after which they are purged and unrecoverable.
- OneDrive only retains data for 14 days once an admin deletes a user profile.
Risk 3: Data Migrations Gone Wrong
Every cloud platform is vulnerable to mishaps when it comes to data migration, export, and integration. It is easy for anyone to overwrite previously existing data, either purposefully or inadvertently.
Issues related to third party software and account migration can result in cloud data loss too. Moving to a new email client, for example, could result in a user’s inbox being lost, especially if multiple email accounts are being configured at once.
Undoing the damage caused by data overwrites or data loss requires a separate backup repository linked to individual recovery points.
Though little can be done to prevent files from being accidentally or maliciously deleted, Axcient CloudFinder backs up the critical data stored in applications like Office 365 to ensure these deleted files can always be found and recovered.
Commonly used cloud services often lack flexible retention policies in line with corporate requirements, but CloudFinder provides an encrypted, unlimited retention for all cloud data.