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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.

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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.

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

Cloud Backup For MSPsOur 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.

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How Can You Safeguard Against Data Loss in Office 365?

Office 365 Data Loss

It is a myth that Microsoft will protect you from data loss in Office 365. Microsoft is incrementally ensuring a reliable service, but the data within your Office 365 tenant is your responsibility. However, it cannot protect you from Office 365 data loss at your end – due to malware, human error or malicious intent.

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YOU have the onus of protecting Office 365 data

As per Compliance Laws

As per governance laws like the GDPR, HiPAA, SOX, and many others, protecting your customer’s data is a responsibility that is shared between the controller (your organization) and the processor (third-party service providers like SaaS platforms). Moreover, in the event of a data breach or data loss, “shared accountability” and “joint liability” is mandated.

Need another reason? Compliance laws also insist on the organization having “the ability to restore the availability and access to personal data in a timely manner in the event of a physical or technical incident”. What that means, is that they mandate that you have a solution or capability to accurately backup and restore data.

As per your Cloud Service Provider

Office 365 Data LossMicrosoft provides a highly reliable service with Office 365, but they themselves recommend backup in their service agreement, “We strive to keep the Services up and running; however, all online services suffer occasional disruptions and outages, and Microsoft is not liable for any disruption or loss you may suffer as a result. In the event of an outage, you may not be able to retrieve Your Content or Data that you’ve stored. We recommend that you regularly backup Your Content and Data that you store on the Services or store using Third-Party Apps and Services” 

Do not be mistaken – your data in Office 365 is your responsibility!

Ways data loss occurs in Office 365

Human Error: Office 365  has not yet reached the maturity where it can decipher intent when all the rules of the service are followed. We are talking about accidental deletions of data by parties with no ill-intent – plain human error. According to Aberdeen Group, research shows that 70% of all data loss is accidental.

Malware: Then there are malicious actors such as hackers, ransomware, and malware that can cause massive data loss. While there is so much you can do to fully prevent these attacks, these do happen and you need countermeasures.

And don’t forget about the disgruntled employee causing data loss by malicious intent!

Office 365 outages do happen

Service in the cloud means 99.9% uptime. In the first few months of 2019 alone, Office 365 has suffered two major outages. The second outage dated 28th January 2019 was a massive two-day outage

Another Microsoft outage caused data loss where Microsoft deleted several Transparent Data Encryption (TDE) databases in Azure, holding live customer information. 

We are talking no email access, no customer emails, no spreadsheets, no presentations – Basically bringing your enterprise to a halt. Can you quantify the financial loss in having your data unavailable or lost for that long? 

What about native Office 365 archives

Office 365 offers short preset retention periods for deleted emails and deleted items in OneDrive. However, they hold data only for a limited period of time, do not backup regularly (your data will be outdated), and restoring data from may be cumbersome. Such options are more of an archival mechanism than a true backup and restore solution.

So how do you safeguard against Office 365 data loss?

So now that you know that your data in Office 365 needs dependable protection against data loss, what should you do? Select a 

Cloudally provides a safe (ISO 27001 certified, GDPR, and HIPAA compliant), secure (Amazon S3 Secure Storage and AES-256 Encryption) and flexible cloud backup solutions for Office365, Sharepoint and OneDrive, 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.

Office 365 data loss

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. 

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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

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.

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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.

Why & How to Integrate the Cloud into Your Company in 2018

Integrate the Cloud into Your CompanyBusiness and technology are two fields where one can’t work without the other. These days, businesses need technology to grow, and technology needs business to spread. Times are changing, and it’s harder to keep up and stay relevant when new companies are popping up left and right. It is crucial for business owners to find the best ways to continue to innovate and improve. So, how to: Integrate the Cloud into Your Company

Integrate the Cloud into Your Company

Integrating cloud-based services such as cloud backup software into your business could be just the right move to get one step ahead of the competition. The cloud works by keeping and using data that is kept within the internet rather than on local storage. Cloud services include Cloud services include:

• Platform as a service (PaaS)
• Software as a service (SaaS)
• Infrastructure as a service (IaaS)

Within these three sections businesses can determine what they need, such as network equipment (IaaS), resource tracking software (SaaS), and databases (PaaS). Businesses can pick and choose what they need, or utilize all three “departments”. By working with one vendor that can provide all three services, it leaves businesses with beneficial interconnective opportunities.

Why Collaborate

The cloud can bring collaboration to a team. More often than not, team members work together via email and share documents virtually. The cloud can provide this as well, serving as a central location to share executed work, completed research and gathered data. According to Trackvia, it has been discovered that working within the cloud can increase productivity and quality of work overall. It can also support remote employees and help them feel included with the “work from anywhere” feature the cloud can provide. According to INC.com, employees that have the ability to work from home are happier and healthier. A positive outlook on the day-to-day responsibilities from employees can result in better productivity and increased quality of work.

What about Security?

Security is becoming a larger scale issue as the internet becomes the primary channel for individual needs like online banking and photo storage along with enterprise use cases for data storage and project management. According to Salesforce’s former executive vice president, Vivek Kundra, “Cloud computing is often far more secure than traditional computing, because companies like Google and Amazon can attract and retain cyber-security personnel of a higher quality than many governmental agencies.” When working with a cloud vendor, they become responsible for the client’s data security, providing benefits such as faster patching. Cloud data centers offer larger enterprise teams, increasing security and threat detection capabilities.

How about Disaster Recovery – Cloud Computing!

There was once a time when businesses both big and small didn’t prioritize disaster recovery. Up to 50% of organizations have insufficient disaster recovery plans, according to the International Data Corporation. With cloud backup for business, companies now have a built-in backup where data and files are stored without having to invest in their own data centers. Incorporating the cloud into a business, in turn, is less expensive than creating an in-house disaster recovery center. No matter the size of a business, there is the opportunity to invest in an “insurance policy” that will actually save them money. It also opens up a new market for cloud companies that can now target organizations with lower budgets but similar needs.

Environmentally Friendly

A short and sweet benefit, but a benefit nonetheless. Moving to the cloud can benefit both an organization and the environment. Saving money on supplies such as paper, ink, hardware, and big investment pieces like printers can make a heavy impact in the long run. In turn, there will be less waste and paper usage, supporting the environment and a good cause.

How

Once a company has decided to integrate cloud capabilities into its plan, the next step is finding the best way to do so. A balance must be found between the company moving forward for modernization purposes, while keeping up with already successful legacy system strategies. It isn’t required to move everything to the cloud, but finding where it fits best and where it’s needed is an important step in the process.

For example, utilizing systems such as G Suite or Office 365 is a smooth and relatively simple transition for a company to take when integrating cloud systems into their repertoire. G Suite is a collection of different business applications, including Gmail, Docs, Drive, and Calendar. All these separate apps work together and become an effective tool used by companies worldwide. This type of system creates consistency within all departments leading to seamless processes throughout the company. It can also aid in-house communication in aspects such as improved workflow, organization, and team collaboration.

For the transition to be effective, employees need to have an understanding of the technology. The creation of a company-wide strategy will ensure everyone has a clear understanding of what cloud services are being used, and what applications are suitable for this. Establishing training for employees should be a requirement to confirm that their skills are up to date, and that realistic expectations are set. On an administrative side, it is essential to remember that this will take time, and some employees may be hesitant to the initial change.

Ensuring they understand the benefits to this transition will be vital while making such an impactful change within an organization. Oracle CEO Mark Hurd recently spoke at NetSuite’s SuiteWorld Conference where he commented on a similar topic, stating “part of the reason this whole movement to the cloud is so attractive is the opportunity to get to standardization and simplification while you get to modernization.” Technology is evolving every day and to be successful it’s important to stay relevant and current in the field. Whether trying to avoid a security breach or simplifying and updating current business tech, the modernization of systems will be rewarding. Business leaders, big and small, agree movement to the cloud is something that should be done for a company to succeed.

CloudAlly provides cloud to cloud backup for GSuite, Office 365 and other leading business solutions.  If your business already has one of these business solutions why not give our 14 day free backup trial a go, backup your critical business data, so that you can restore it from any point in time in case of Malware, malicious activity, or even accidental employee error.

Latest Cyber Attack Reminds Users to Backup Their Cloud SaaS Apps

— How To Backup Google Apps & Drive —

How To Backup Google Apps & DriveThe FBI reports that there are 4,000 cyber attacks per day—that’s almost four attacks per minute—and they’re becoming more prevalent. In 2015, there were only 1,000 attacks per day. That’s a 300% increase, and the latest global ransomware attack may have been one of the worst yet.  Is your company considering how To Backup Google Apps & Drive?

While it’s obvious from their regularity that the business world is no stranger to malicious viruses, malware, and more, in many cases even large organizations aren’t fully prepared to prevent an attack. That’s because, when 93% of phishing emails are now ransomware, it can be difficult to keep up with the criminals particularly when your company’s safety is not in the hands of your knowledgeable IT department but in the hands of your everyday employees. If even one employee clicks on a link or downloads an attachment from a hacker, the data of your entire company could be compromised.

The key is understanding exactly what malware is and knowing whether all of your data, including Google Drive, is protected.

What Is Ransomware?

Ransomware is a type of malware virus that takes over a computer and prevents access to data until a ransom is paid. It works by encrypting files and forcing you to pay a fee if you want to decrypt them. Only the ransomware creator knows the encryption key, and if your company isn’t willing to pay up, the data is often deleted and lost forever.

In many cases, the ransom demand is made via new computer wallpaper, which details specific instructions for payment. Some past messages have read:

  • “Your computer was used to visit illegal content. To unlock your computer, you must pay a $100 fine.”
  • “You only have 96 hours to submit the payment. If you do not send money within the provided time, all of your files will be permanently encrypted, and no one will be able to recover them.”

Payment demands can be up to $500 USD with the price doubling if funds are paid within a specified time—usually 24 hours.

The most recent iterations of ransomware have targeted enterprise end users who may not think they are “valuable” or “high-profile” enough to be the victim of an attack. The reality is that anyone can be a victim, which was more than proven in the most recent widespread attack.

Recent Ransomware Attack

Petya” might not sound like a dangerous word, but it’s the name for a vicious ransomware attack that crippled organizations all over Europe and the US in June 2017. It began in the Ukraine and quickly spread around the world, crippling big institutions such as WPP, Mondelez (a food company), DLA Piper (a legal firm), Maers (aDanish shipping and transport company), and Merck a large U.S. pharmaceutical company. The attack locked thousands of employees out of their computers until the ransom was paid.

Large organizations were particularly vulnerable to Petya because it only took one machine becoming infected for the ransomware to spread throughout the entire network. However, that doesn’t mean small companies weren’t at risk, too. Any machine connected to the Internet—nearly everyone—is susceptible.

And “Petya” is only the most recent attack. Just two months previously, the WannaCry or WannaCrypt ransomware attack hit more than 150 countries, 230,000 computers, and hundreds of companies including Telefónica, German State Railways, and the Britain’s National Health Service (NHS).

In both attacks, the ransomware spread rapidly using Microsoft Windows as its venue to move throughout each network.

In the case of WannaCry, the ransomware found a vulnerability in Windows that could have been fixed with a software patch, but many companies were using an outdated version. Worse yet, WannaCry didn’t require humans to spread. Once it was unleashed, it had the ability to move around the network by itself.  WannaCry was able to hunt down vulnerable machines and infect them, too. It spread like a virus, searching out weaknesses and exploiting them.

Petya worked similarly.

The Petya attack began through a software update mechanism built into a regularly used accounting program. Then, a second wave of infections was released using a phishing campaign with malware-laden attachments. However, unlike WannaCry, which tried to spread both internally and externally, Petya focused solely on internal networks, which limited its range of damage.

“I’m willing to say with at least moderate confidence that this was a deliberate, malicious, destructive attack or perhaps a test disguised as ransomware,” Nicholas Weaver, a security researcher at the International Computer Science Institute, told Krebs on Security. “The best way to put it is that Petya’s payment infrastructure is a fecal theater.”

Still, in both cases, the outbreaks were devastating for the companies affected and were difficult to coral once unleashed. And security experts warn that Petya and other ransomware strains will continue to proliferate.

So, how do you protect your company?

Preventing Ransomware Attacks

The best way to prevent a ransomware attack is to be prepared for one. There’s no way to 100% stop ransomware, since it’s up to user error and appropriate training, but there are a few things you can do to negate the affects of a ransomware attack. The first step is to review your company’s security settings along with your software habits to reduce your chance of becoming a victim.

The most important protection: regularly backup Google and all of your SaaS data. The advantage of cloud storage is that it automatically backs up your data in a secure and remote location, so even if your business becomes compromised your data stays protected.

A common misconception when it comes to SaaS data in the cloud is that it’s backed up and protected. This is not the case—Google backup does not exist and Office 365 backup is limited.

Google Drive automatic backup only happens if you use third-party software, like CloudAlly, to protect yourself. This means that if you’re infected with ransomware, all of the files, spreadsheets, and private information that you put in the cloud to keep it “safe” could be at risk of attack.

And an external backup drive is not sufficient. A hard drive backup that is connected to your computer can be compromised during a malware attack.

Using CloudAlly, you can auto backup Google drive every single day including your Mail, Drive, Classic Sites, Calendar, Contacts and Tasks. This simple step can reduce your risk of losing everything if a hacker takes your system hostage. When you have a backup, you can ignore the request for ransom and have your IT department remove the malware without any data loss worries.

Then, once your system is clean again, CloudAlly offers a simple non-destructive restore process, allowing you to recover your data in its entirety with point-in-time recovery.

“If you administer your company’s cloud accounts and need a simple to use but sophisticated backup solution, CloudAlly is all you need.” — Gareth Griffiths, NRH