SaaS backup & recovery: everything you need to know
Ideally, cloud computing exists to help organizations grow and scale, not being bound to physical installations. However, no growth plan is complete without secure backup protocols in place.
Many SaaS providers offer built-in data protection features. However, these often fall short of the kind of comprehensive backup and recovery capabilities businesses require.
That’s where you come in. MSPs should stay ahead of data backup and recovery best practices to guarantee your clients peace of mind. So, let’s get started.
What is SaaS backup & recovery?
SaaS backup and recovery is the process of backing up cloud-stored data and applications and the recovery of said data in the event of loss. Common causes of data loss include outages, natural disasters, or theft. SaaS backup and recovery is a subset of the overall backup and disaster recovery (BCDR) field.
What makes the SaaS field of backup unique? While cloud providers typically offer data backup and recovery services, these services are generally quite limited. For example, they may not be able to restore deleted data or recover from an application-level outage caused by user error. Data loss can also occur due to cyberattacks or malicious insiders, which can bypass cloud provider security measures. In some cases, organizations making the move to cloud-based apps don’t understand they need to back up SaaS data at all.
To address these gaps, SaaS backup and recovery solutions create additional copies of SaaS data and applications, and store them in separate, secure locations. These backups can be used to quickly restore data in case of accidental deletion, data corruption, natural disaster, or a security breach.
SaaS backup and recovery solutions typically offer features such as:
- Automated backup scheduling
- Point-in-time recovery
- Role-based access control to ensure that only authorized users can access backup data
- Multi-factor authentication
- Data retention policies
Why SaaS backup & recovery are essential for MSPs
SaaS backup and recovery solutions are an important subniche of overall backup and disaster recovery, helping safeguard and secure client data for cloud applications. These are essential as a part of an MSP’s toolkit for several reasons:
- Protection against data loss: SaaS backup and recovery solutions provide an additional layer of protection against cloud data loss caused by accidental deletion, data corruption, or application outages. This allows your teams to quickly restore data from backups to minimize downtime and ensure that clients' business operations are not impacted.
- Compliance requirements: Many businesses have regulatory requirements that mandate specific data retention policies and data protection measures. Because the cloud is a relatively new institution, the requirements here continue to evolve. SaaS backup and recovery solutions help you ensure that your clients' SaaS data is retained for the required duration and is protected with appropriate security measures.
- Ransomware protection: Ransomware attacks are becoming increasingly common, and they can cause significant data loss and downtime for businesses. This is an acute risk for cloud settings as they can present an added security risk. SaaS backup and recovery solutions allow MSPs to help clients quickly recover from a ransomware attack: clients can work with backed-up files even if the originals are lost, locked up, or stolen.
- Reducing client downtime: MSPs can retrieve backed-up files in the event of cybercrime or a disaster of some sort. This drastically reduces client downtime — the period in which a company ceases to be able to conduct normal operations.
- Client peace of mind: Offering SaaS backup and recovery services to clients can help build trust and improve client satisfaction, especially for those recently transitioning to the cloud. Clients are more likely to choose MSPs that provide comprehensive data protection services that include SaaS backup and recovery.
How SaaS backup & recovery protect important data
SaaS backup and recovery solutions are designed to protect clients’ important cloud-stored data, and accomplish this in a variety of ways:
- Backup and restore: SaaS backup solutions provide the ability to automatically backup critical data and files to an off-site location. This ensures that in the event of a disaster, such as a natural disaster or cyberattack, the data can be quickly restored to its original state.
- Retention policies: SaaS backup solutions offer retention policies that allow companies to retain data for a specified period. This ensures that important data is not deleted prematurely, and that it can be restored if needed.
- Archiving: SaaS backup solutions can also archive data to a secure location. This can be useful for organizations that need to store data for compliance or regulatory purposes.
- Point-in-time recovery: SaaS backup solutions enable point-in-time recovery, which means that users can recover data from a specific time in the past. This can be useful in cases where data was deleted or corrupted and needs to be restored to a previous state.
- Security and encryption: SaaS backup solutions provide security and encryption features to protect data from unauthorized access. This ensures that sensitive data is protected and that it cannot be accessed by unauthorized users.
Common settings for SaaS backup & recovery
Settings for SaaS backup and recovery solutions depend on the specific needs of an organization. However, there are some common settings that most SaaS backup and recovery solutions offer:
- Backup schedule: The backup schedule determines how often backups are performed. Organizations may choose to perform backups on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis, depending on the frequency of changes to the data.
- Granular recovery: Granular recovery allows organizations to recover individual files or data elements rather than restoring an entire backup. This feature is useful for situations where only specific data needs to be recovered.
- Reporting and alerting: Reporting and alerting features allow organizations to monitor the backup and recovery process and receive notifications if any issues arise. This helps to ensure that the backup and recovery process is working as intended.
Best practices for implementing SaaS backup & recovery
Implementing a SaaS backup and recovery solution is a critical step in cloud data protection. Start with a SaaS backup checklist. Then, take these steps to develop the ideal backup and recovery solution:
- Identify critical data: Identify the most important data and applications that need to be backed up. This includes customer data, financial records, intellectual property, and any other data that is essential to the organization's operations.
- Select a reliable solution: Choose a reliable and secure SaaS backup and recovery solution that can meet the organization's needs. Look for solutions that offer encryption, redundancy, and the ability to quickly restore data.
- Define backup and recovery procedures: Define backup and recovery procedures, including backup schedules, retention policies, archiving procedures, and point-in-time recovery. Make sure that all stakeholders understand the procedures and their roles in the backup and recovery process.
- Test the solution: Regularly test the SaaS backup and recovery solution to ensure that it is working as intended. Test the backup and recovery procedures and verify that data can be restored quickly and accurately.
- Monitor the backup process: Monitor the backup process to ensure that backups are being performed correctly and on schedule. Set up alerts to notify stakeholders of any backup failures or issues.
- Train employees: Train employees on the importance of backing up data and how to use the SaaS backup and recovery solution. This helps to ensure that everyone understands their role in the backup and recovery process and can take appropriate action if necessary.
- Review and update the plan: Regularly review and update the backup and recovery plan as the organization's needs change. This includes reviewing the critical data, backup schedule, retention policy, and other key elements of the plan.
Download our SaaS data backup eBook, SaaS Data Backup: Everything You Need to Know (and Do) About It, for more tips on keeping your clients’ data safe.
Finding a SaaS backup & recovery solution for your business
When looking for a SaaS backup and recovery solution for your business, there are several factors to consider:
- Compatibility: Ensure that the backup and recovery solution is compatible with the SaaS applications you use, and whether it can back up all the cloud-based data you need.
- Security: Strong encryption and data security features are important to stay ahead of cyber threats. Your solution should be compliant with industry standards such as SOC 2, HIPAA, or GDPR, depending on requirements for your industry and region.
- Scalability: You’ll want a backup and recovery solution that can scale with your business as you grow and evolve. Check whether the solution can accommodate growing data volumes, and whether it can be easily integrated with other applications and systems in your tech stack.
- Usability: Check whether the solution provides a user-friendly interface, and whether it includes features such as automated backups, scheduling, and reporting.
- Customer support: Backup and recovery solution providers may offer varying levels of customer support. Check whether the provider offers 24/7 NOC support, and what types of documentation, tutorials, or resources are available to help you use the solution effectively.
- Cost: When considering cost, be sure to include any licensing fees, setup fees, and ongoing maintenance charges. Look for a solution that offers competitive flexible pricing plans and provides transparent pricing information.
- Reputation: Research the provider's reputation and track record in the industry. Check online reviews, ratings, and testimonials from other customers, and ask for references from the provider.
By carefully evaluating these factors, you can find a solution that meets your client’s data protection needs.
If you’re looking for a solution for your MSP, ConnectWise’s backup and disaster recovery solutions (BCDR) can help keep your clients’ data safe and protect your reputation. Watch our SaaS backup demo today to see this software in action and learn about the benefits for your MSP.