Remote Workforce Security in the Shadow of Coronavirus

Telecommuting is emerging as the best protection from Coronavirus (apart from the 20-second hand wash). If your organization has switched to remote working, you’re in good company; all major organizations globally – Apple, the US Government, Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon, and Google – have en masse advised their workforce to telework. This has triggered the largest-scale migration to remote work in corporate history, with business-critical workflows and processes now conducted with distributed telework in the cloud. How can you empower your remote teams to work confidently and securely in the cloud? Four pointers to implementing remote workforce security:

Four pointers to improve remote workforce security

#1 Facilitate remote access

Ensure that your workers have high-speed and reliable internet access and remote devices – upgrade their home internet plans/mobile data access, provide webcams/multimedia headphones. Your organization’s Virtual Private Network (VPN) which was probably designed to be used by only a small section of employees, will now be inundated by thousands logging in 24×7. Increase the number of licenses and robustly test the VPN. Consider purchasing bulk plans with real-time collaboration tools like Slack, Trello, Skype, Zoom, Webex, GoTo Meeting, etc. If you’re not already on a SaaS platform like Office 365, G Suite, Salesforce, Box or DropBox, the timing couldn’t be better to get on one ASAP.

#2 WFH requires training too

Employees that have worked from home for the odd day, will now be doing it for more than a few weeks at a stretch. Create video tutorials and guides to train them on using remote applications and technologies, particularly those recently introduced. Assign a local support number or champion for employees to quickly resolve their tech queries/issues.

A productive remote workforce is only possible with a cultural shift to a more flat, inclusive structure with effective mechanisms for digital collaboration. Consider regular video lunch-and-learns, video standups for the team, daily video updates from team leaders, weekly retrospectives, and digital whiteboards.

#3 Secure your devices, applications, network…and employees

While VPNs are secure and encrypt data in transit, they cannot secure the remote employee’s device. An entire spectrum of devices and applications will be connecting to your network and accessing important data. Check that all firewalls, anti-virus software, network monitoring tools are active and auto-updated. Enforce Two-Factor/Multi-Factor Authentication (2FA/MFA) for all work applications.

The weakest link in your organization’s security is your employee, especially the remote employee. Social engineering, phishing, spear-phishing, and business email compromise are top cybersecurity threats that account for 98% of cyber-attacks. Mandate video security training for all your employees on good cybersecurity practices, anti-phishing policies, and secure email hygiene.

#4 Backup your business-critical SaaS data

All that valuable data on your SaaS platforms – Office 365, G Suite, Salesforce, Box, and DropBox – needs a safety net like never before. While they are extremely secure solutions, they cannot protect you from data loss at your end due to malware, hackers, human error, sync errors, and/or malicious deletion. With a majority of your workforce going remote, the likelihood of a data breach due to such issues will rise exponentially.

In fact, in addition to top IT analysts and regulatory laws,  your SaaS providers also strongly recommend that the best defense against a security breach is third-party SaaS backup and recovery. 

Empower your remote workforce to work confidently in the cloud

Your business-critical SaaS data is only as safe and secure as the accuracy of its backup and reliability of its recovery. It can massively improve your Recovery Time Objective (RTO) leading to quick disaster recovery and seamless business continuity. All essential components of remote workforce security. With the majority of workforce remote, it is important to select a backup and restore solution that is geared to the enterprise – scalable, secure and compliant. One that dependably backs up your data with easy restore options – to blunt the stress of data loss in an already volatile situation. So you and your remote workforce can have complete peace of mind to work on the cloud.

CloudAlly pioneered SaaS backup almost a decade ago, and our solutions are proven, robust and top-rated. Over 10,000 IT pros ranked us as a leading backup solution provider in a recent Newsweek survey. We offer comprehensive automated backup of Office 365, G Suite, Salesforce, Box, and DropBox with easy, self-service recovery from any point-in-time with unlimited data retention. Additionally, our solutions are stringently secure with Amazon S3 storage, OAuth/MFA/2FA capability, global data centers, and GDPR/HIPAA compliance checks. Our backup and recovery solutions will empower your organization to confidently thrive in the cloud knowing that your data is safe and secure.

Secure your SaaS data and empower your remote workforce to work confidently on the cloud.

Try a free trial or book a quick demo now!

Backup Unlicensed Office 365 Accounts with CloudAlly

Are you maintaining inactive Office 365 licenses to avoid losing data? Is the cost of maintaining licenses to adhere to data retention policies rising as your organization scales? Paying for inactive Office 365 licenses to prevent loss of data during employee onboarding/offboarding can eat into your budget, with no measurable ROI. 

Explore ways to backup unlicensed Office 365 accounts to simplify employee management, save on license costs and meet compliance requirements. 

The High Price of Inactive Office 365 Accounts

An active Office 365 license is required for Office 365 data to be stored and accessible. This means that when an employee leaves the organization, the license gets revoked and access stopped. This can be challenging for the modern organization which has a chunk of licenses that are used on an ad-hoc or rotational basis; such as those belonging to vendors, part-time employees, and/or ex-employees. The data held within these accounts is not only valuable but also helpful to onboard the employee, vendor or contractor filling the position. 

The catch is this – Office 365 permanently deletes the data held by inactive licenses after 30 days. Preserving the business-critical data within the unused accounts means paying for the licenses. Audit requirements also typically mandate a minimum data retention period for non-active accounts. This makes it all the more essential to maintain the inactive licenses to meet compliance measures. All while incurring significant licensing expenses.

Litigation Hold is Not a Workaround

What about Microsoft’s Litigation hold? Using Litigation hold to export data and then perform a cross-user restore of emails and data is non-intuitive and complex. This is because litigation hold is not meant to be a recovery tool; particularly to restore emails and user accounts. While the data can be exported, recovery is a manual process, and there is no direct restore option. Litigation hold also does not maintain a separate copy of data in another physical location, making it susceptible to data and security breaches.  

This makes it an unviable and cumbersome option to depend on for onboarding/offboarding employee data transfer, meeting compliance requirements and quickly recovering emails, accounts, or documents.

How CloudAlly Can Help

SaaS Backup is an easy, cost-effective, and secure option to save on the expense of maintaining inactive Office 365 licenses while avoiding data loss. Back up inactive account data, relinquish the license and restore it to the new user/licensed account when required. More significantly, SaaS backup is the only sure way to protect your organization from Office 365 data loss due to human error, malicious intent, malware attacks, and sync errors.

CloudAlly pioneered Office 365 SaaS backup almost a decade ago, and consequently, our products are tested, proven, and top-rated. Newsweek recently ranked us as a leading backup solution provider. Our Office 365 Backup includes support to activate Office 365 account backups that have their status as “Unlicensed”. These can be new accounts or group accounts created by the Office 365 system itself. With the account data backed up, you can release the license knowing that the data can be securely restored to the new user’s account when required. Thus ensuring the smooth transfer of all relevant data from the employees, vendors or contractors who are exiting with the newly joined ones; while saving on licensing costs. Secure and cost-effective backup and recovery that’s geared for the enterprise.

Protect your valuable Office 365 data, skip the stress of complying with data retention, and save on the high costs of Office 365 licenses with CloudAlly. Try a free trial or book a quick demo now!

Why Exceptional Customer Service is an MSP/Partner Differentiator?

By Adi Hirsh Schwartz – Customer Support Director

MSP Business Plan

MSP business planThe Managed Service Providers (MSP) market is expected to grow from $155.91 billion in 2017 to $296.38 by 2023, at a growth rate (CAGR) of 11.32%. Similar growth is exhibited by the Reseller Market. This potential for high returns is resulting in an uptick in entrants and an increasingly competitive business landscape. How can you differentiate your products or suite? With simply exceptional customer service, and build up your: MSP business plan.

Read on for pointers. This article is about:

Standing out in the MSP Market

MSPs offer multiple advantages such as low operating and capital expenditure, quality of service and best-in-class expertise. Thus, it’s no surprise that organizations are turning to MSPs in droves to facilitate and sustain digital transformation. MSPs enable companies to focus on nurturing their own core business and gives them peace of mind that their SaaS stack is being taken care of both proactively and reactively. However, the potential for high returns and rapid growth has resulted in increased competition and reseller/partner programs. MSPs have to differentiate themselves to survive and thrive. Offering a comprehensive suite of premier solutions helps greatly in building long-term sustainable customer relationships. Another oft-neglected differentiator is offering exceptional Customer Service.

How Customer Service can be a Differentiator?

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Studies show that it costs five times more to attract a new customer than to keep an existing one. This cost will probably go up when applied to the competitive MSP/Partner market, where losing even a few major customers can be crippling to the business. Here are aspects of Customer Service that can help both with customer engagement and retention:

  • Understanding the Customer

MSPs and Partner resellers offer a range of products to a variety of clients. It is essential to understand what the customer expects from each of them, to avoid potential disappointments and unmet requirements. However, to be able to market the product effectively, it is equally, if not more important to understand the customer’s requirements, pain points, and core challenges. Build an engaging customer service both pre-sales and post-sales to benefit from valuable persona insight that can be used to inform product marketing and development of both your suite and the individual products. 

  • Keeping Communication Lines Open and Active

Exceptional customer service requires an effective communication framework that is multi-channel, intuitive and responsive. Keep the communication lines active – provide product updates, metrics of the ROI you bring, and regular reports of your KPIs. Encourage two-way communication with regular surveys, social media engagement, and feedback mechanisms.

  • Fast Issue Redressal to Combat Customer Loss 

To increase customer retention, their complaints and queries must be addressed rapidly before they become festering roadblocks. For that, there needs to be easy support options for the customers to share their grievances and ask their questions. As per ZenDesk customers overwhelmingly prefer multi-channel support options. These queries must then be followed through with actionable resolutions with a short response time.

How CloudAlly Can Help?

At CloudAlly we are driven by delighting our customers and partners. And this is not mere lip-service.  It starts with the development ethos of our SaaS backup solutions for Office 365, G Suite, Salesforce. We prioritize UI/UX with OOTB products that require minimal adoption effort.

We cultivate our customer engagement pre-sales and post-sales with 24x7x365 customer support where you can expect a practical solution to your query within 30 mins from a real person. We also understand the customer’s need for multi-channel support options via call, email, chat, or a ticket through our dedicated customer portal Customer support that is highly responsive, dedicated and spans the full sales lifecycle is a proven product differentiator.

Explore our accelerated Partners Program that offers exclusive partner discounts, commissions and added revenue. MSP business plan – Complete your MSP suite with a comprehensive SaaS backup solution with customer support that makes a difference that will matter to you and to your customers.

Why Should MSPs Include Backup Solutions in Their Suite of Offerings?

Cloud Backup For MSPs

Organisations are increasingly trusting Managed Service Providers (MSPs) to provide them with an all-in-one SaaS platform and comprehensive cloud service management at an optimal cost. However, with increasing malware attacks, data protection is of vital importance to the success of the SaaS suite. Cloud backup for MSPs, is a must-have. A few pointers on how the MSP can secure their cloud solutions.

This article includes:

Why do Organisations use MSPs?

The modern organisation requires a diverse stack of SaaS-based enterprise applications. Given the complexity, organisations typically have two options to manage their SaaS suite: 

  • Build a team within their organisation that is knowledgeable, and responsible for managing and supporting the range of cloud services. This means high Capital expenditure (CAPEX) and compromised Quality of Service (QoS)
  • Choose an MSP for the job and benefit from proven expertise and efficiencies of scale.

The advantages of this method are:

  • Low Operating Expenditure (OPEX) and low CAPEX,
  • Access to best-in-class expertise. 
  • Industry-grade quality of service (QoS)
  • Frees up time to focus on their core business 
  • Peace-of-mind that the MSP is taking care of the SaaS stack both proactively and reactively.

It’s no surprise then, that organisations are overwhelmingly choosing Managed Service Providers (MSP’s). ChannelE2E indicates that the MSP market is globally a ~$200 billion dollar industry and continues to grow at 12.5% compounded rate.

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Why is Backup so Vital to the MSP’s suite?

Our previous blog post extensively talks about why SaaS platforms need backup too. Most SaaS services like G Suite, Office 365, OneDrive, Sharepoint Online, Dropbox, Salesforce make it explicitly clear in their terms and conditions that they are a service provider and ownership of data in their service is the customer’s responsibility. These best-in-class SaaS solutions are extremely secure, but they cannot protect the customers from their own mistakes such as inadvertent or malicious deletes, overwrites, sync errors or from the threats of malware, ransomware, and hackers. Hence, the SaaS providers themselves actively advise using 3rd party backup solutions. Compliance laws like GDPR, HIPAA, and Sox also mandate that data protection is a “shared responsibility”. 

All of which highlights how vital it is for MSPs to include a reliable cloud-based backup and recovery solution as an essential part of their SaaS suite. This is particularly critical for MSPs, as Quality of Service QoS is paramount for MSPs, and how better to ensure high-quality than by providing a data protection safety net? Hence, an increasing number of MSPs are offering managed backups via 3rd party solutions as part of their service offerings. SMBs (small and medium-sized businesses) are especially vulnerable to data breaches which at a crippling cost of $3.92 million is many times greater than or comparable to their monthly/annual revenue. MSPs ensuring 3rd party backup solutions bundled with their offerings – seamlessly ensure adherence to the golden 3-2-1 backup rule

MSPs know best how important it is to distinguish offerings by industry sectors, customer types, etc. For example, the data retention needs of a publishing house will be different than a HIPAA compliant healthcare service provider. So MSPs can also intelligently bundle backup services to maximise their margins while retaining the customer’s focus on the top-notch QoS provided by the MSP.

How can CloudAlly Help?

CloudAlly helps MSPs proactively solve their customers’ data protection and data loss issues by providing SaaS backup solutions for the entire range of SaaS platforms – Office365, G Suite, Salesforce, Sharepoint and OneDrive, Dropbox, Box and more. We are also ranked as the Newsweek’s #1 best backup and restore tool. We offer a full-featured 15-day free trial which you can activate and start backing up your data in minutes and are very highly rated and recommended by our users. As an MSP, if QoS is important to you, you would be glad to know we take pride in our 365 X 24X7 availability for through our dedicated customer support hub across channels like phone, email, ticket and chat.

Contact us to have an expert guide you through making your managed service offerings holistic. Psst…we also offer competitive affiliate commissions.

Why Do You Need SaaS Backup for Your Data in the Cloud?

SaaS Backup

An increasing number of organizations are moving to SaaS platforms like Office 365, G Suite and Salesforce. It is a misconception however to assume that your data on the cloud is secure. Understand the risks of data loss on the cloud and use SaaS backup solutions to protect it. 

This article contains:

SaaS data loss is a reality

SaaS BackupYou’ve moved your data to a SaaS platform, and are hugely benefiting from its flexibility, scalability, and fantastic collaboration mechanisms. However, did you know that while SaaS solutions like Office 365, G Suite, Box, and Salesforce, have best-in-class security precautions, they cannot protect your data from data breaches or data loss at your end or from platform outages? Which is why it is no surprise that SaaS industry news is replete with increasingly frequent occurrences of outages and security breaches

At the root of it is a mistaken (but gradually changing) perception within the IT workforce that using cloud / SaaS solutions means that there is no need for data in the cloud to be backed up.

Main reasons for SaaS data loss

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According to Ponemon Institute’s Cost of a Data Breach 2019 report, the global average cost of a data breach is $3.92 million. Your data on the cloud is vulnerable to loss and breaches due to these reasons:

Human error: An account mistakenly deleted, a critical email erased or an org-wide shared document overwritten? Nightmarish scenarios that cannot be fixed without a backup and recovery solution.

Malicious intent: Your SaaS data is also prone to intentional overwrites, and deletes by bad actors like disgruntled or malicious employees.

Synchronization errors: Syncing or updating multiple SaaS applications, which is a common software scenario in organizations, is not always seamless and can cause loss of SaaS data.

Hackers, Malware, Ransomware, Cryptomining, Phishing: There is an ever-growing list of malware types and scams. The damages due to such data breaches are devastating not only in terms of financial loss, but also damage the business’ reputation and cause loss of customers

Your SaaS platforms cannot protect you from all these causes. Additionally, many regulatory laws such as GDPR, HiPAA, SOX, etc. mandate that protecting SaaS data is a “shared responsibility”, and an organization needs to have accurate recovery capabilities in the event of data loss.

How do you secure your SaaS data?

Ironically, the cloud itself is the answer to protect your SaaS data. Cloud-to-cloud backup harnesses the many advantages of the cloud to provide reliable backup and quick recovery. 

CloudAlly provides SaaS backup solutions for the entire range of SaaS platforms – Office365, G Suite, Salesforce, Sharepoint and OneDrive, Dropbox, Box and more. We were also ranked #1 under best business tool category by Newsweek by over 10,000 IT Pros. We offer a full-featured 15-day free trial which you can activate and start backing up your data in minutes and are very highly rated and recommended by our users.

Contact us to have an expert guide you as you navigate the waters of data protection to achieve a reliable and secure enterprise.

How cloud to cloud backup solutions, help avoid business continuity disruption?

…with increasingly common cloud outages?

Why cloud to cloud backup is needed for business continuity in the face of  recent series of outages?

On January 24, 2019, European Microsoft Office 365 Exchange Online users discovered that they couldn’t access their emails. It turned out that some of Microsoft’s data center infrastructure had failed, leaving these cloud users out of luck.

While one Microsoft cloud outage might not have been a problem, less than a week later, users faced problems with their cloud Office 365 and Azure and Dynamics services. The outage was blamed on a CenturyLink software defect.

These outages from major players in the cloud industry has IT pros nervous, and for a good reason indeed. Is the cloud really the full-scale solution we’ve been promised? Certainly, in order to adopt cloud services without worrying about down-time, it’s important to use a third-party service that helps you recover lost data and continue operations during outages.

What this article is about:

  • Outages from Big-Name Cloud Providers
  • Is the Cloud Actually Trustworthy?
  • Using a Third-Party Backup for Recovery

Outages from Big-Name Cloud Providers 

 Why Cloud Backup Is Needed for Recovery DataThis year, many of the best-known cloud providers have had one or more outages. Some of these well-known cloud providers have included widely-used business services, like Google Cloud, Apple Play, and iCloud.

On March 12, 2019, for example, Gmail and Google Drive were down for over three hours. Microsoft Azure, which includes features like Microsoft 365, Active Directory and database services, and storage, was down for almost three hours on May 2.

While many of the cloud outages this year have been relatively short, this time offline adds up in productivity and money. Further, different cloud providers have differing outage length, so your business could be more or less affected based on the service you use. From January 2018 through May 2019, Amazon Web Services (AWS) only had 338 hours of downtime, with Google Cloud Platform (GCP) reporting 361 hours. Microsoft Azure, in turn, reported 1,934 hours of downtime.

Complicating this outage reporting time, too, is the fact that there is no standardized measure for reporting cloud outages. Each company must self-report its outage times and frequencies. This means, then, that Azure and GCP often don’t report the regional impact of cloud outages. For example, some services would report only one hour of downtime, even if that downtime affected three distinct service regions.

With good reason, these regular outages have worried IT professionals about how reliable cloud services are for their businesses. After all, how would operations come to a halt if Office 365 Exchange came to a halt in the middle of the workday?

Is the Cloud Actually Trustworthy? 

Cloud platforms are growing at an exponential rate. In 2019, Gartner predicts that cloud services will increase by a remarkable 17.5 percent in just one year. Though cloud providers know about the issues that will inevitably face their data centers and services, an increasing demand for cloud services means that problems will certainly continue to arise.

For example, as cloud services increase quickly to meet demand, older on-premises infrastructure that probably should have been aged out will be forced to work another day.

Still, while most of the outages thus far have often been short, a loss estimate has been predicted for a longer outage that lasts for three to six days. Because so many businesses rely on a limited number of providers, the estimators suggest, an outage that lasts for multiple days could lose companies a total of $15bn. Small businesses would be particularly at risk for loss because many of them don’t have cyber-insurance.

Using a Third-Party Backup for Recovery 

There are undeniably benefits to using cloud services, and as we see a significant industry change, companies that don’t switch over will likely be left behind. At the same time, though, cloud outages will likely continue to be a problem as the industry expands.

The only solution, then, is to be prepared for cloud outages, or even data loss, before it happens. Using a third-party cloud to cloud backup like CloudAlly for Office 365, G Suite, SharePoint, OneDrive, and DropBox ensures that you’ll be able to recover necessary files during a cloud outage.

Say for example that you’d experienced the Office 365 email outage described above. With CloudAlly, your users would have had their email contacts and mailboxes saved the day before with CloudAlly’s automatic daily backup. With CloudAlly restore, they could have retrieved the information they needed to continue daily functions until the outage was restored. Once that happened, then users could access both their older and newer files, accessible through CloudAlly’s non-destructive data restore.

Interested to know more about why it’s necessary to protect your online data? Read our eBook Why Backup Online Data? to learn more.