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Evaulating SaaS Backup Solutions

Data protection icon

You have many choices when choosing your SaaS backup solution for Google Workspace (G Suite), Microsoft 365, Salesforce.com, and other cloud services.

When picking your solution, look for the data protection capabilities you need. At a minimum, a SaaS backup solution should offer the following.

Comprehensive Protection

Some SaaS backup solutions only protect email, files, and folders. Look for solutions that offer protection for contacts, shared drives, collaboration and chat tools, and calendars. Solutions with these features are far more effective at maintaining business continuity. And, the cost is often comparable.

Frequent Backups

More frequent backups let you to restore to a more recent point in time, minimizing data loss. Restores are faster and easier with less manual effort to perform restores. Services that backup multiple times per day will provide better results than those that only backup daily.

Access During Outages

Look for and choose a SaaS backup service that lets you export and access your data in the event of an outage. While limited in scope, the ability to use data should Google Workspace or Microsoft 365 be unavailable can help you keep essential work on-track.

Security & Compliance

The SaaS backup service you choose should be secure, with data encrypted at rest and in motion.  Additionally, services that meet SOC1/SSAE-16 and SOC 2 Type II reporting standards will help you meet HIPAA, GDPR, CCPA, SEC, and other regulatory compliance requirements.

Your Next Step:

We recommend you protect all data in Google Workspace or Microsoft 365 with a secure and robust backup/recovery solution.  Protecting your cloud-resident data is no different than protecting data hosted on servers and systems in your office. We can help you make the right choice.

For more information, view and download our eBook, SaaS Protection Buyers Guide.

Learn more about Cumulus Global’s data protection and security solutions, contact us to discuss you needs and options, or schedule a complimentary cloud advisor appointment.

3 Reasons for SaaS Data Protection

Data protection iconSaaS data is not immune to permanent data loss. Microsoft and Google make no guarantees when it comes to restoring deleted data, whether from human error or a malicious act. While Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace (formerly G Suite) may make collaboration more efficient, data protection and management is a shared responsibility. Both Google and Microsoft include some basic recovery capabilities, but they not enough to protect your business.

Here are 3 major reasons to add SaaS data protection to your Microsoft 365 or Google Workspace solution.

1: Data Loss Due to Permanent Deletion

If an employee accidentally deletes a critical spreadsheet from OneDrive or Google Drive, or a deleted folder of important emails passes the retention period in Trash, neither Microsoft nor Google will be able to recover your data.

Even if those files are within your retention period, locating and restoring lost data can cost you more time than you can afford.

2: Data Loss Due to a Ransomware Attack

If your business suffers a ransomware attack, you cannot roll-back your data to a point-in-time before the attack without a backup solution. Your data is likely gone forever.

More than losing valuable business data, you will face potentially crippling costs.  You may choose to pay the ransom (without any guarantee your files will be unlocked). You may work to rebuild your lost data. Either way, you will spend significant money, time, and lost productivity trying to save your business.

3. Time and Money Lost in Recovering Files

Retaining critical user data when employees leave your company is costly without a backup solution in place. The time spent to recover data might be more than what your business can afford. SaaS Data Protection lets you retain past employee data without the need to keep their Microsoft 365 or Google Workspace account active. You save time and money.

Whether you lose data or time, the impact to your bottom line can be significant. To address this challenge, you need a secure solution for this growing reliance on the cloud.

Learn more about Cumulus Global’s data protection and security solutions. To ensure your business continues to run smoothly, schedule a complimentary cloud advisor appointment.

Service Update: Datto SaaS Protection

Service Update: Datto SaaS Protection. The latest Datto SaaS Protection platform is now available to all of our costumers. For more recent customers, you are already on the newest platform.  For our longer term SaaS Protection (aka Backupify) customers, the transition process will begin as early as February 1, 2021. The process will complete before May 31, 2021.

Benefit:

With this move, all Datto SaaS Protection customers will have access to the latest features. These include protection for Microsoft Teams and Google Shared Drives, and the Daily Backup Success Report.

Process:

To ensure a smooth transition, any data on the legacy platform will be archived in one of Datto’s secure Microsoft Azure instances. A fresh backup set will initiate on the new platform. We can assist you in exporting your legacy backup data if you prefer to not have it stored by Datto on Microsoft Azure.

There are some unique aspects of the transition for some of our customers, our Service Team will contact you as needed to discuss your transition.

Please contact us with any questions or concerns.

SaaS Backup – 4 Dangerous Misconceptions

SaaS Backup is just as important, and necessary, as backups for data hosted on in-house servers and systems.

Data protection iconWith more remote work, our reliance on SaaS applications and services such as Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace has become more critical to our success. Easy access to files and folders from anywhere and the integrated collaboration tools keep our teams connected and productive.

Here are 4 common, but dangerous, myths and misconceptions about SaaS applications and services that will put your data and your business at risk.

Myth 1: SaaS Applications do not Require Backup

While SaaS applications protect against data loss in their cloud servers, this does not protect against user error, accidental and malicious deletion, or ransomware attacks. And while accidental deletion of files is by far the most
common form of data loss in SaaS apps, ransomware can be the most damaging. Ransomware is designed to spread across networks and into SaaS applications, impacting many users.

Ransomware isn’t only an on-premises problem. It can and does spread into the cloud, especially when using the OneDrive and/or Drive File Sync clients.

You need a way to quickly revert files, folders, settings, and permissions in the event of an attack.

Myth 2: File Sync is a Backup

While file sync tools like Microsoft OneDrive or Google Drive File Sync do create a second copy of files and folders, they do not replace backup. File sync automatically copies changes to synchronized files. If a file or folder is infected with ransomware, the malware will automatically be copied to all synced versions of that file.

File sync services do offer some restore capabilities via versioning, but they fall short of a true SaaS backup solution.

  • If a file is deleted, older versions of the file are also deleted
  • End users control backup and recovery, so you have no control over coverage or process
  • Large restores are a time-consuming, manual process.

Beyond simply lacking the restore capabilities of a backup solution, file sync and share can introduce ransomware to Microsoft 365 or Google Drive. File sync and backup are not competitive solutions, rather they can and should be used together.

File sync and share tools are for productivity; backup is for data protection and fast restore.

Myth 3: SaaS Applications are Always Available

While SaaS apps are highly reliable, outages do occur. In 2020 alone, Microsoft 365 suffered five significant outages in the space of six weeks. Last year, Google Workspace suffered a global outage, leaving users with no access to for several hours.

Outages and slow restore times are not just an inconvenience. When you cannot access important business data, productivity falls and revenue suffers. Creating backups that are independent of a SaaS provider’s cloud servers is the only way to ensure access to essential files in the event of an extended outage.

Myth 4: Microsoft and Google are Responsible for Backup

Microsoft and Google ensure they will not lose your cloud data. However, they do not take responsibility for restoring data if you lose it. This is why Microsoft recommends third party backups for Microsoft 365 data, having defined the concept of the Shared Responsibility Model.

In the Shared Responsibility Model:

  • Microsoft and Google protect your data against:
    • Service interruptions due to hardware or software failure
    • Loss of service due to natural disaster or power outage
  • You must protect your data against:
    • Accidental deletion and damage
    • Hackers, ransomware attacks, other malware
    • Malicious insiders

The Shared Responsibility Model places the onus of data protection squarely on you. Google and Microsoft are responsible for keeping their systems up and running; you are responsible for preserving and securing your data.

To review your data protections, and your ability to recover from accidental or malicious loss, contact us or schedule an appointment with our Cloud Advisors.

The Curse and Blessing of Office 365 Licensing

Office 365If you ask IT pros about Office 365 licensing, they are likely to roll their eyes.

If you ask which license is right for you, the conversation will likely start with a heavy sigh. Microsoft has 6 primary Office 365 license options for business, several add-ons, a number of special-purpose licenses, and over a dozen stand-alone and value-add products.

The Curse is Confusion

Between the number of options and the frantic rate of new features and updates, we are not surprised when companies complain that picking the “right license” is confusing. You end up bouncing between tabs and browsers, comparing feature lists that never seem to have enough detail. You struggle to find which add-ons work with each license type. You may not even know where to look for specialty licenses that can save you money. And with the rapid growth of features and functions, you wonder if the web pages you scour for information reflect the latest updates and options.

The Blessing is Customization

You can escape the confusion. And, in doing so, you can customize your Office 365 licensing plan to best meet your needs. With “too many options”, you can mix and match licenses to the needs of your users. You can tailor the feature sets for groups of users and lower your average cost per user at the same time. You can decide when to rely on built-in features or third party solutions to meet specific business requirements. You can decide which users get add-ons and which do not.

The Key is Understanding

The good news: with guidance and understanding of the Office 365 and Microsoft 365 licensing structures, you can plan and implement subscriptions that meet your organization’s needs at the most affordable cost. By looking beyond Microsoft-only options to select third party tools, you can mix in lower cost licenses without sacrificing compliance, threat protection, telephony, and needed features. You can map out a strategy that enables hybrid computing and services and capabilities move to the cloud over time. You can integrate your cloud an on-premise environments into a seamless service.

The better news: you do not need to gbecome an expert.  Our Cloud Advisors, backed by experts from Microsoft, are ready to assess your needs, explore alternatives, and design solutions options. You gain understanding and select the option that best fits with your needs, priorities, and budget.

Your Next Step is ….

If you haven’t settled on a Office 365 or G Suite as your cloud suite, or if you think you should change from one to the other, your next step is our Which Cloud Analysis.  You complete a comprehensive survey and we provide a formal report that assesses your needs and environment and provides specific recommendations. We will also schedule a Cloud Advisor Session to review and discuss our findings and recommendations.

If you have decided, or currently use, Office 365, contact us to schedule a Cloud Advisor Session to review your environment and needs.  We will help you assess, plan, and implement a solution that delivers the value you want and need.


 

Cloud Competition Has Growing Impact for SMBs

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Over the past few years, major cloud providers have been aggressively competing. At times, it’s been an all out price war with Microsoft, Amazon, Google and others lowering prices to beat the others. But it’s also been a race for new features and capabilities, as innovation and unique services can attract and retain customers.

The challenge for small and mid-size businesses, however, is that much of the competition as been focused on the Infrastructure and Platform as a Service (IaaS and PaaS) segments of cloud computing. And while lower prices on cloud processing and storage are great, most SMBs are using Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions.

Change is happening and you can benefit.

As an incentive for companies with Enterprise Agreement (EA) pricing to move off Microsoft, Google started things off by offering Google Apps for free until customers’ EA agreements end. The program, available to companies with 150 or more licensed users, removes the “double pay” period for companies that want to “go Google”.

More recently, Microsoft lowered the minimum licensed user count from 150 to 50 for its FastTrack program, which provides Microsoft partners with resources and customers with rebates to cover the cost of migration.  Companies with 50 or more licensed users can save up to 75% (or more) on their deployment and migration.

Enter Cumulus Global and More Savings

Focused on serving small and mid-size businesses, these programs are good, but not good enough. So, we are adding to the deals.

New to Google Apps for Work

  • Google Apps for Free through the end of your Microsoft EA term (150 license minimum)
  • 14 months for the price of 12 (5 license minimum, 12 month renewal terms)

New to Microsoft Office 365

  • FastTrack discounts and rebates (50 license minimum)
  • Migration savings of 35% to 70% (5 to 50 licenses)

From Direct to Partner

  • Existing Microsoft O365 and Google Apps for Work customers can save up to 10% on licensing and up to 20% on support and other services through our Switch & Save program.

The Next Step is Yours

To learn more about which discount is best for you, fill out the form, below, and speak with a Cloud Advisor.

Introducing Coffee and Clouds

Clouds in Coffee
One of the challenges we see with cloud computing is the growing complexity of options and solutions, particularly for small and mid-size enterprises.  It’s not as easy as going IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS and deciding on public, private, or hybrid anymore.  Most businesses are finding their path to the cloud is a mix of solutions.

Relax, grab a cup, and join us for some clarity.

We are launching a new series of live and web events, Coffee and Clouds, where we aim to help clear out the clutter. We will help you keep abreast of the market, technologies, and best-practices, and give you an opportunity to network with your peers.  Forget about hype, we will focus on actionable ideas and tangible results. And, we will plan content in response to your feedback.

Our first set of live events are already on our events calendar.  Learn more about the series and register today.

When and Why Go VDI?

This blog post is a reprint of an article first published on Experts Exchange as part of a series on cloud strategies and issues for small and mid-size businesses.


VDI DiagramLike many organizations, your foray into cloud computing may have started with an ancillary or security service, like email spam and virus protection. For some, the first or second step into the cloud was moving email off-premise.  For others, a cloud-based CRM service was the first application in the cloud.

Currently, we see organizations rapidly moving file services and storage into cloud-based solutions as more marketing, sales, and line of business applications switch to Software-as-a-Service (“SaaS”) solutions. Often, this leaves you with a small set of business applications running on-premise.

What do you do with applications and services left on-premise when most of your systems have moved, or will be moving, to the cloud?

While you may wish to keep these legacy systems on-premise, you can move them into a cloud or hosted Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) environment. VDI environments provide a virtualized, remote desktop accessible via browser or “receiver” app.  When connected, users get their full desktop environment with access to local and network applications.

Some applications, such as computer-aided design (CAD) and manufacturing/process controls, are not well-suited for VDI. Most local and network applications work well within a VDI environment. VDI services typically charge based on processor load, memory, and allocated diskspace. Fees may also include standard office software, data backup services, malware protection, and other common network services.

Why use a VDI solution?

  • Improved secure accessibility to legacy application, particularly for remote and mobile users
  • Lower cost for IT infrastructure, especially when email, apps, and other services are moving to the cloud
  • Improved reliability and security, as VDI solutions run in professionally managed data centers
  • IT resources are free to work on higher value projects than maintaining core infrastructure and services
  • Lower cost and less administration of end user devices, as you can move to thin clients, chromebooks, and tablets as existing desktops and laptops need replacing

When to use a VDI Solution? 

For some small and mid-size enterprises, VDI solutions provide a means to “clean out the closet”, to simplify their IT solutions and walk away from endless maintenance and updates. For others, a VDI solution enables them to move legacy systems and applications to a cloud-based environment.

When considering a VDI service for legacy applications and systems, answering a few basic questions while help you determine if your “when” is “now”.

  • Is the application is available in a Software-as-a-Service (Saas) subscription?
  • Does the application have custom modules or code that would prevent running the SaaS version?
  • Are application requirements — processor power, memory, disk space — known and understood?
  • How many users need access to the application?
  • How many users receive reports or data from the application?
  • What connections or integrations exist between local/network applications?

With answers to these questions, you can scope the size and configuration of your VDI environment. You can also assess if the benefits, and the costs, of a VDI solution outweigh the costs and effort required to maintain the systems on-premise.

As you move applications and services to the cloud, you will likely reach a point where you no longer have the critical mass necessary for on-premise servers to be the most economical and effective solution. When you reach this tipping point, a VDI solution will provide a secure home for your systems, your business, and your budget.

Surprising Stats on Cloud Data Loss

10 stats on data loss
Yes, you can lose data in the cloud!

Our friends at Backupify recently conducted a study, Protecting Data in the Cloud: The Truth About SaaS Backup, which revealed some very interesting results based on how IT perceives the safety and security of their cloud-resident data.

54% of IT professionals have implemented some form of SaaS applications

81% of IT pros that use or plan to use SaaS apps categorize the data stored in their SaaS apps as “very to extremely important”

52% of IT pros don’t currently back up their SaaS data (or even plan to)

79% of IT pros believe their SaaS application is being backed up by their solution provider

1 out of 3 companies using SaaS lose data

47% of SaaS data loss occurs from end-user deletion

17% of SaaS data loss occurs when an employee overwrites data

13% of SaaS data loss occurs when a hacker deletes data

47% of IT pros back up SaaS data with a manual export

15% of IT pros back up SaaS data with cloud-to-cloud backup

If you want to learn more about protecting your SaaS and cloud data, please send us a note.

Note: This post is based on a Backupify Blog Post, which you can see here.

 

Is Your PC a Dead-End?

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While security updates for Windows XP will continue well into 2015, the end of support and non-security updates is less than 50 days away.  According to IDC, as reported by Reuters, shipments of PCs fell 9.85 is 2013 and are expected to drop another 6.1% this year.  As more knowledge workers rely on mobile devices, the need for, and desire for, traditional desktops and laptops is vanishing.

So what is your next move?

If you upgrade from XP, your choices are limited.  Windows 8.x has been soundly rejected as a productivity killer and support challenge by enterprises as well as small and mid-size businesses.  With the expected release of Windows 9 sometime in the next year, Windows to 7 is a dead end.

Even worse, moving off XP triggers a wave of related costs, as your hardware, endpoint protection, Office suite, client access licenses, backup software, etc. must all undergo upgrades at the same time (see our prior post on this topic here).

Maybe, the “same ole, same ole” just does not work anymore.   Maybe, it is time to explore new options.  Here is some food for thought.

Hosted VDI:  Hosted VDI, or virtual desktop infrastructure, environments provide you with your operating system, productivity apps, endpoint protection, disk space, and data protection — as a service.  Rather than capital expenditures, project fees, and on-going maintenance and support costs, hosted VDI services charge monthly fees for the resources you need/use and each user with an account.  Most hosted VDI services (including ours) let you install legacy and custom applications as well.  You get the environment you need without huge expenditures and version lock-in.

Cloud Back Office:  Google Apps is the best example of how businesses can provide back office IT services without building infrastructure.  Leveraging Google Apps as a platform, businesses gain email, communication, collaboration, and productivity services.  As important, Google Apps can provide robust and secure file services and cloud print services.  Beyond replacing your email server, Google Apps can replace file and print servers as well.

L.O.B. Cloud:  With greater cloud acceptance comes greater availability of cloud-based line of business (LOB) applications and systems.  From CRM and service applications to professional service automation (PSA) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, many businesses can find the line of business applications they use in the cloud.  Moving to LOB Cloud solutions, eliminates the need for complex on-premise systems as well as significant operational expense.

New End Devices:  As reported by CNET, Meg Whitman, CEO of HP, says that Chromebooks “have surprised us.”  Here is why. When you move to the cloud, you can change your end-user devices. To access cloud services and hosted VDI, you need an Internet connection and a compatible browser.  Tablets, thin clients, and Chromebooks become viable, lower cost solutions that give users access to the applications and data they need, without the acquisition and operating costs of heavy hardware and the Microsoft ecosystem.

So what is your next move?

Do you follow your current vendors without question?  Or, is it time to look at the innovative options and new market leading solutions?

Do you continue to carry the full Microsoft burden? Or, do you move to nimble hardware and cloud/hosted solutions, renting only the Microsoft environment you actually need?

Leave a comment, below, or contact us to explore your options.

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SaaS Protection Buyer’s Guide

eBook Source: Cumulus Global

Microsoft, Google, and other cloud providers backup their infrastructure. They ensure that their services are running and accessible. You, however, are responsible for managing, securing, and protecting your data.

This eBook guides you through common myths about cloud services, why SaaS protection is important, and selecting your SaaS protection solution.

Please confirm you information below to view and download the eBook.