1 For: Infrastructure & Operations Professionals Back Up Your Critical Cloud Data Before It s Too Late by Rachel A. Dines, February 4, 2014 Key Takeaways As SaaS Usage Explodes, So Does The Risk Of Data Loss SaaS is an increasingly popular method of deploying new services, but many organizations don t realize that they could be at risk of losing critical data. Many SaaS providers will not restore lost data for users or will only do so for an exorbitant fee. Mitigate The Risks Of Losing SaaS Data Firms can mitigate the risks of permanently losing data by working with a cloud-tocloud backup provider to automatically transfer data to another cloud on a periodic basis, talking to your SaaS provider about backups within their platform if they offer this service, or defining a manual process for exporting cloud data on a regular basis. A New Type Of Backup Service Emerges: Cloud-To-Cloud One way that organizations are protecting SaaS data today is via cloud-to-cloud backup providers. These tools offer an automated and simplified way to back up copies of critical data from one cloud to another. Today, only major SaaS platforms are supported, but the ecosystem is growing rapidly. Forrester Research, Inc., 60 Acorn Park Drive, Cambridge, MA USA Tel: Fax:
2 February 4, 2014 Back Up Your Critical Cloud Data Before It s Too Late Cloud-To-Cloud Backup Emerges As A Practical Option For Cloud Data Protection by Rachel A. Dines with Stephanie Balaouras, TJ Keitt, Liz Herbert, and Heather Belanger Why Read This Report For years, it has been standard practice to back up your critical data. You store several copies locally for operational recovery and send copies off-site (electronically or physically) for disaster recovery. It s not just a best practice it s a fiduciary responsibility. If you don t back up your data, then customers, partners, and employees consider you negligent and incompetent. Yet, every day, enterprises send critical data to software-as-a-service (SaaS) providers without any plan for how they will back up the data and restore it. Only when they experience data loss do they ask the question, Who is responsible for backing up my data? It s time for infrastructure and operations (I&O) leaders to stop leaving the door open to data loss and start proactively protecting cloud data before it s too late. Table Of Contents Few Firms Protect Their Cloud Data From Obliteration Reality Check: Your SaaS Provider May Not Be Able To Restore Your Lost Data You Can And You Must Mitigate The Risk Of Losing Cloud Data Cloud-To-Cloud Backup Is An Increasingly Viable And Preferred Option recommendations Don t Make Assumptions; Grill Your SaaS Provider About Backup Supplemental Material Notes & Resources Forrester interviewed four vendor companies, including Asigra, Backupify, CloudAlly, and Spanning Cloud Apps, as well as users of these services. Related Research Documents The Forrester Wave : Disaster-Recovery-As- A-Service Providers, Q January 17, 2014 The Forrester Wave : Traditional Disaster Recovery Service Providers, Q January 17, 2014 Tech Spotlight: Endpoint Back In The Enterprise September 4, , Forrester Research, Inc. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited. Information is based on best available resources. Opinions reflect judgment at the time and are subject to change. Forrester, Technographics, Forrester Wave, RoleView, TechRadar, and Total Economic Impact are trademarks of Forrester Research, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective companies. To purchase reprints of this document, please For additional information, go to
3 Back Up Your Critical Cloud Data Before It s Too Late 2 few firms Protect their cloud data From obliteration Sixty-six. That s the average number of different SaaS applications that companies expect they will use in 2015 (see Figure 1). 1 Clearly, the on-ramp to the cloud is turning into a highway, but what happens when there are unexpected speed bumps? As more and more companies store critical data in the cloud either with infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), platform-as-a-service (PaaS), or SaaS the question of how to protect that data is an increasingly important one. Typical causes of unrecoverable data within SaaS applications include: Migration errors. One common cause of data loss occurs during the migration process, from on-premises to the cloud, or from one cloud provider to another. As organizations migrate applications, users, and data, it s common to lose data through sync inaccuracies, human error, or overwriting of data. Accidental deletion. While this is the most basic cause of data loss, it s also the most common for both on-premises and cloud-based data. This can be especially problematic if the user fails to notice deletion immediately and the data ages out of the user s trashcan. Accidental deletion can also take the form of accidentally overwriting correct information with incorrect information something that many cloud providers cannot reverse easily in their platforms. Malicious insiders. Whether it s a disgruntled employee, ne er-do-well contractor, or some other insider with the intention to do harm, this is another common cause of data loss, both on-premises and in cloud environments. The scope of damage will depend on the access and authorizations granted to this user. If it s an individual contributor with a narrow range of responsibilities, the damage may be limited, but if it s a power user, the damage can be extensive. Hacktivists. Every news cycle brings a new story of a cyberattack. Today, cybercriminals most often target on-premises systems, but as enterprises store critical data in SaaS and other cloudbased systems, they will quickly shift targets. Financially motivated cybercriminals want to steal copies of customer data and intellectual property that they can easily monetize, but politically and socially motivated cybercriminals (known as hacktivists) are often more interested in destroying data in retaliation for some real or perceived offense. Rogue applications. With the ecosystem of add-on applications for popular SaaS solutions growing by the day salesforce.com s AppExchange now boasts almost 2,000 apps and 1.9 million installs rogue third-party applications causing damage is a growing concern. What happens when the app that is supposed to consolidate duplicate records accidentally deletes unique records? Departing employees. As employees leave your organization, what happens to the data associated with their account in your SaaS application? The rules vary quite significantly from vendor to vendor, but for many, deactivating a user account also means deleting the data they ve stored there. Many organizations wish to keep this data but may not have a good way of exporting it or transferring it within the application.
4 Back Up Your Critical Cloud Data Before It s Too Late 3 Figure 1 Many Organizations Move To SaaS, But Do They Properly Protect Their Data? Using your best estimate, how many different software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications did you use/are planning to use? Mean number of SaaS applications Base: 943 software decision-makers at firms that use SaaS with 20 or more employees Source: Forrsights Software Survey, Q Source: Forrester Research, Inc. Reality Check: Your SaaS Provider May Not Be Able To Restore Your Lost Data While the majority of the enterprise-grade SaaS offerings have robust methodologies for backing up and restoring data to protect against data loss or disaster, they may or may not make this technology available to you as the user (see Figure 2). For example, if you lose data through no fault of the vendor if one of your employees accidentally deletes data the vendor may or may not work with you to retrieve data from its backups. In cases where the vendor can technically recover data, it s likely you will encounter delays, restrictions, or even significant fees. Salesforce.com, for example, will charge a minimum of $10,000 to recover customer data, and it can take several weeks. If you ve categorized a SaaS application as a critical system, it s time to work with the sourcing and vendor management (SVM) team to find out if you can meet internal service levels and expectations. There are other benefits to having copies of your data outside of your primary SaaS provider, such as being able to lower the barrier to switching providers and giving you additional leverage when negotiating with your vendors.
5 Back Up Your Critical Cloud Data Before It s Too Late 4 Figure 2 The Backup And Recovery Policies Of Popular Enterprises SaaS Solutions Backup-and-restore Vendor methodology to prevent data loss Ariba (SAP) Transactions made using the solution are initially stored in a database to prevent loss. All customer data resident on the systems is backed up daily. Backups are stored off-site at a secure third-party location. Backups include customer s registration and account information. BigMachines BigMachines performs both weekly full data backups and hourly incremental data backups with ability to roll back at any time. Cisco Systems Citrix ShareFile Box Box replicates data between its data centers and backs up data to a third-party public cloud provider in near real time. The backups are over 99.9% timely. Aside from Global Site Backup, Cisco WebEx utilizes traditional backup methods and has the ability to restore data if/when necessary. Citrix webconferencing data is backed up at least daily. Citrix performs database backups of ShareFile to an alternate site with the capability to attribute metadata from either site if the integrity of the databases at the primary site is negatively affected. Citrix ShareFile stores uploaded data and customer files within third-party cloud providers and ensures files are replicated locally and intra-geo. Adding extra resiliency, ShareFile can optionally back up customer files to a facility on the East Coast, which provides ShareFile the ability to recover customer files in the event of accidental deletion for up to 28 days. Restore policy if customer loses data If a user accidentally deletes a file, it goes into the trashcan, where a user or administrator can retrieve it, depending on how it has been configured by the admin. Administrators can configure the Box service to keep trash content for 7, 14, 30, 60, or 90 days or keep all trashcan content indefinitely if they choose. Box admins can also configure trash controls such that only admins; admins and co-admins; or nobody within the organization can permanently delete content. In case of deletion from the account, customers can still retrieve the files by contacting Box support for 30 days. In the event of primary file storage unavailability or other issue, files can be retrieved/restored from Box s cloud-based secondary storage systems. ShareFile end users and admins can recover items from a recycling bin for up to 7 days. The ShareFile operations team can recover files for up to 28 days before they re permanently purged. Podio users can only recover data through an API Source: Forrester Research, Inc.
7 Back Up Your Critical Cloud Data Before It s Too Late 6 Figure 2 The Backup And Recovery Policies Of Popular Enterprises SaaS Solutions (Cont.) Vendor Oracle Taleo Backup-and-restore methodology to prevent data loss Oracle runs nightly incremental backups of Taleo Learn products six days a week. The incremental backup data is stored to disk on Taleo s hosting infrastructure. It runs a full backup at least once per week. Except with respect to the Taleo Learn products, the full backup data is stored to disk on Taleo s hosting infrastructure on a weekly basis. The full backup data is then copied to disk at a physically separate location and encrypted. Restore policy if customer loses data Salesforce All customer data is automatically backed up As a last-resort process, Salesforce.com to a tape library on a nightly basis. Backup Support can recover customer data at a tapes are cloned to an off-site facility to verify specific point in time, in the case that it has their integrity, and the clones are stored in been permanently deleted or corrupted. The a secure, fire-resistant location at that off-site price for this service is a minimum of $10,000. facility. ServiceNow ServiceNow uses online/hot database diskto-disk backup of the entire instance. Ultimate Software With Ultimate Software s on-demand service model, Ultimate Software has total responsibility for all IT components, including installing and upgrading the system, maintaining and updating hardware, and performing backups. Workday Workday s master production database is replicated in real time to a slave database maintained at an off-site data center. A full backup is taken from this slave database each day and stored at the off-site data center facility. Workday s database backup policy requires database backups and transaction logs to be implemented so that a database may be recovered with the loss of as few committed transactions as is commercially practicable. Transaction logs are retained until there are two backups of the data after the last entry in the transaction log. Database backups of systems that implement interfaces must be available as long as necessary to support the interfacing systems. This period will vary by system. Upon a customer s written request, individual document restoration due to customer error may be provided and will be billed on a timeand-materials basis. Daily incremental backups in combination with weekly full backups are complete so that no more than 24 hours worth of data will be lost in the event of a local disk failure and no more than one week worth of data will be lost in the event of a site disaster. ServiceNow can restore customer data from any of the backups (past seven days, past four weekly). Customers can backup/restore data from their instance using ODBC Source: Forrester Research, Inc.
8 Back Up Your Critical Cloud Data Before It s Too Late 7 Figure 2 The Backup And Recovery Policies Of Popular Enterprises SaaS Solutions (Cont.) Vendor Backup-and-restore methodology to prevent data loss Restore policy if customer loses data Yammer Multiple encrypted copies of all data are Yammer allows administrators to export data securely stored both on-site and off-site. from the network for archiving purposes. This Yammer s off-site backup is done multiple data can be reposted to Yammer in the case times per day through a provider called Zetta. of accidental deletion or corruption. Long-term, Yammer is moving to Microsoft Azure for backups; however, Zetta is still part of its backup solution at this time. Zuora All data is backed up to disk at each data center, on a rotating schedule of incremental and full backups. The backups are cloned over secure links to a secure disk archive. Disks are not transported off-site and are securely destroyed when retired Source: Forrester Research, Inc. YOU CAN AND YOU MUST Mitigate The Risk Of Losing Cloud Data We live in the era of now : Your customers expect data and services both on-premises and in the cloud to be available immediately whenever and wherever they require them. Waiting for days or weeks for the recovery of lost data or being informed that data is unrecoverable is unacceptable for most end users. As more critical data is deployed in the cloud, it s time for I&O leaders to be proactive and invest in mitigating these risks instead of waiting for data loss to occur. What can you do to mitigate these risks? Forrester has identified several steps that you can take if you are concerned (and you should be) about losing critical data with a SaaS provider: Work with a cloud-to-cloud backup provider. During the past few years, a new class of backup software provider has emerged: cloud-to-cloud. SaaS solutions themselves, these providers offer an automated and simplified way to back up copies of your critical data (including metadata and audit logs) from one cloud to another. These tools often come with advanced search-and-browse features as well as granular recovery capabilities to make finding and restoring lost data as painfree as possible. Most of the solutions on the market today are hosted on Amazon Web Services, although this will most likely evolve to allow customers to choose their backup target. Talk to your SaaS provider about its backup and restore policies; negotiate if you must. Several SaaS providers, such as Microsoft and Box, have a strong story on backup and recovery already, and you may decide you are comfortable relying on their services to restore lost data. Smaller providers may be open to negotiating an additional backup service on top of the original SaaS offering. In these cases, it would be prudent to request that backups are stored in an off-site location.
9 Back Up Your Critical Cloud Data Before It s Too Late 8 Define a manual process for exporting cloud data. The least elegant solution to this challenge is to periodically and manually export data from the SaaS platform and store it elsewhere either in your data center or with another cloud provider. Many SaaS providers offer data export tools that can facilitate this process, but few to none offer any automation or scheduling in these tools. Furthermore, granular restores are virtually impossible with this method, so you would need to restore the data in an all-or-nothing fashion. Cloud-To-Cloud Backup Is An Increasingly Viable And Preferred Option Considering investing in cloud-to-cloud backup? Today, a handful of companies are offering cloudto-cloud backup services to the most popular SaaS providers (see Figure 3). If you re looking to back up salesforce.com, Google Apps, Office365, or a social media platform, you ll have plenty of options. If you are looking to protect data from one of SAP s or Oracle s SaaS solutions, you ll struggle to find third-party help. However, this space is progressing very quickly, and the leading cloud-to-cloud backup providers are adding new SaaS partners all the time and opening up application programming interfaces (APIs) to allow integration with a broader spectrum of partners. In addition, cloud-to-cloud backups will eventually become part of cloud management suites and cloud portals. For example, Fujitsu has announced its intention to offer a cloud-to-cloud backup module as part of its new Cloud Integration Platform, which will offer many cloud management features across SaaS, IaaS, and PaaS platforms as part of a wider suite of services.
10 Back Up Your Critical Cloud Data Before It s Too Late 9 Figure 3 Examples Of Cloud-To-Cloud Backup Service Providers Vendor SaaS apps protected Number of seats under management Key customer references Asigra Google Apps N/A Electronic Vaulting Salesforce.com Services, Backup My Info! Backupify Google Apps >640,000 Financial Times, Salesforce.com Museum of Facebook Modern Art Twitter Pipeline Deals Smartsheet Cost NA, don t sell direct $3/month/ user. Flexible storage pricing plans also available. CloudAlly Google Apps Salesforce.com Office365 Yahoo! Mail AWS DynamoDB and SimpleDB Did not disclose Braintree Payment Solutions, ClickSoftware $3/month/ user Spanning Salesforce.com Google Apps syscloud Google Apps >100,000 Netflix, EllisDon $35/year/user Did not disclose University of Groningen $12-$30/ year/user Source: Forrester Research, Inc. Recommendations Don t Make Assumptions; Grill your Saas provider about backup Getting started means gathering more information. After reviewing dozens of contracts for language on resiliency, backup, and continuity, Forrester found that many providers are vague and noncommittal regarding their efforts to recover lost customer data. Start by partnering with your SVM team to review sections on backup and disaster recovery in your vendor contracts to see what you can expect if you lose data. If contracts are vague or inconclusive, reach out to your provider for further clarifications. If you are dissatisfied with the recovery options that your vendor provides, try negotiating for additional services some providers will be more open to this than others and/ or contact a cloud-to-cloud backup provider. When you re reviewing contracts or talking to your provider, consider asking the following questions: What is your backup-and-restore methodology to prevent data loss? You ll want to look for vendors that do some type of disk-to-disk backup and move backups off-site relatively quickly. The provider should retain backups for at least 30 days.
11 Back Up Your Critical Cloud Data Before It s Too Late 10 What is your policy surrounding data loss that occurs because of customer action? In the case of data loss that is not the fault of the vendor (e.g., accidental deletion or a malicious user), will the vendor restore your data? If so, how long will it take and how much will it cost? Some vendors have set SLAs on this, but many do not. Can customers perform their own backups and restores of data from your SaaS offering? Some SaaS offerings include the ability for customers to manually export and download data. This is an alternative to using cloud-to-cloud backup providers if either your application isn t currently supported, or if you want to keep copies on-premises. What are the vendor s resiliency and continuity capabilities? While reviewing backup and recovery abilities, you should also review your vendor s disaster recovery capabilities. You should get a detailed outline of how the vendor will recover or failover in the case of a largescale event and whether you should expect service levels to change. Many firms will also review the disaster recovery plans, testing policies, and test results of their vendors. Look out for language about force majeure, which allows the provider to abdicate responsibility in the case of an act of God. Supplemental Material Methodology Forrsights Software Survey, Q4 2013, was fielded to 2,074 IT executives and technology decisionmakers located in Canada, France, Germany, the UK, and the US from SMB and enterprise companies with two or more employees. This survey is part of Forrester s Forrsights for Business Technology and was fielded during October 2013 and November ResearchNow fielded this survey online on behalf of Forrester. Survey respondent incentives include points redeemable for gift certificates. We have provided exact sample sizes in this report on a question-by-question basis. Each calendar year, Forrester s Forrsights for Business Technology fields business-to-business technology studies in more than 17 countries spanning North America, Latin America, Europe, and developed and emerging Asia. For quality control, we carefully screen respondents according to job title and function. Forrester s Forrsights for Business Technology ensures that the final survey population contains only those with significant involvement in the planning, funding, and purchasing of IT products and services. Additionally, we set quotas for company size (number of employees) and industry as a means of controlling the data distribution and establishing alignment with IT spend calculated by Forrester analysts. Forrsights uses only superior data sources and advanced data-cleaning techniques to ensure the highest data quality. We have illustrated only a portion of survey results in this document. To inquire about receiving full data results for an additional fee, please contact or your Forrester account manager.
12 Back Up Your Critical Cloud Data Before It s Too Late 11 Companies Interviewed For This Report Asigra Backupify CloudAlly Spanning Cloud Apps Endnotes 1 Source: Forrsights Software Survey, Q
13 About Forrester A global research and advisory firm, Forrester inspires leaders, informs better decisions, and helps the world s top companies turn the complexity of change into business advantage. Our researchbased insight and objective advice enable IT professionals to lead more successfully within IT and extend their impact beyond the traditional IT organization. Tailored to your individual role, our resources allow you to focus on important business issues margin, speed, growth first, technology second. for more information To find out how Forrester Research can help you be successful every day, please contact the office nearest you, or visit us at For a complete list of worldwide locations, visit Client support For information on hard-copy or electronic reprints, please contact Client Support at , , or We offer quantity discounts and special pricing for academic and nonprofit institutions. Forrester Focuses On Infrastructure & Operations Professionals You are responsible for identifying and justifying which technologies and process changes will help you transform and industrialize your company s infrastructure and create a more productive, resilient, and effective IT organization. Forrester s subject-matter expertise and deep understanding of your role will help you create forward-thinking strategies; weigh opportunity against risk; justify decisions; and optimize your individual, team, and corporate performance. «Ian Oliver, client persona representing Infrastructure & Operations Professionals Forrester Research (Nasdaq: FORR) is a global research and advisory firm serving professionals in 13 key roles across three distinct client segments. Our clients face progressively complex business and technology decisions every day. To help them understand, strategize, and act upon opportunities brought by change, Forrester provides proprietary research, consumer and business data, custom consulting, events and online communities, and peer-to-peer executive programs. We guide leaders in business technology, marketing and strategy, and the technology industry through independent fact-based insight, ensuring their business success today and tomorrow
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