IT Brief New Zealand logo
Technology news for New Zealand's largest enterprises
Story image

The top five ways data is lost in the cloud - and how to prevent it

By Heather Wright
Mon 9 Oct 2017
FYI, this story is more than a year old

The astronomical numbers of consumer cloud-based users worldwide just keep rising. Some 3.6 billion internet users are projected to access cloud computing services during 2018, up from 2.4 billion users in 2013.

A common assumption is that if data is deleted, ‘well, it’s in the cloud, so it must be backed up, right?’ Wrong.

An industry study a few years back showed that the risk of data loss is very real, even if a cloud infrastructure service sends the data offsite. In fact, 32% of companies using SaaS services reported data loss in an Aberdeen report.

How data is lost in the cloud:

  • User error (registered users accidentally delete or overwrite data) accounts for 64%
  • Hackers (outsiders break into the business systems) are responsible for 13%
  • Closing accounts (cloud app accounts are closed without regard for the data left behind) result in 10%
  • Malicious delete (users purposely delete critical data belonging to a company) causes 7%
  • Third-party software (data is overwritten by third-party software) makes for 7%

Cloud data protection

Clearly, organisations need a sound data backup plan to protect their cloud data. A good backup and recovery strategy can save many hours of time, thousands of dollars and potentially prevent bankruptcy.

Third-party tools for backup and recovery of SaaS data can keep information safe and ready for recovery at all times. Compared to SaaS native backup functions, third-party tools have improved flexibility and functions. They allow organisations to back up SaaS applications for each account, using a trusted cloud provider; manage backups easily from a single dashboard; avoid downtime for users; spend less time managing backups and recovery; and gain fast insight into the types of data backed up.

SaaS sync issues

Most SaaS users believe their data is protected by the service provider. But the service level agreements (SLAs) for most cloud applications indicate that the service provider bears little or no responsibility for data that is lost and has not been backed up.

SLAs typically cover the common causes of application downtime, but these refer to downtime in the cloud data center, not what happens on the user’s computer. Once a user changes an object and closes the application, there is little a provider can do to restore the original object.

This is because cloud applications providers provide just that – cloud applications. They are not in the backup and disaster recovery business and most of them have no plans to be.

Most users are confident their data is safe because SaaS providers have really made a name for themselves in the software world. But there have been many documented issues with the synchronisation capabilities of the apps.

For IT administrators in companies that rely on cloud services for their productivity suite, the SLAs for cloud applications can be a headache times two. First, users are at risk of losing their data. Secondly, there is no guarantee of recovery in case of user error, malicious deletion or sync issues.

It is crucially important that end users are educated about the capabilities for backup and recovery of cloud applications. At the same time, managed service providers must ensure there is always a backup to restore from, should data be lost.

Storage vs backup

Businesses do not always follow best practices to ensure data protection. Threats like malicious deletes, unauthorised access to data or external app errors (problems with syncing) will also cause problems.

This is why using SaaS as a backup option, and not for storage or file-sharing (as it is intended), might cause trouble. Moreover, cloud application SLAs will not cover the situation in which data was deleted because of user error.

Ultimately, a business owns the data and is responsible for what happens to it – even if it is stored in the cloud.

How to prevent cloud data loss

Microsoft has a guide on best practices to prevent SaaS data loss with Office 365. This advice can easily be applied to any cloud application. It starts with knowing exactly what type of data is stored and what data must be protected. For any user of cloud services, the key take-away is to always implement three main rules for their data management:

  • Identify sensitive information across many locations: Keep track of documents containing sensitive information. Watch out for credit card numbers, names, and contact information of customers or company employees.
  • Prevent the accidental sharing of sensitive information: Studies have shown that around 16 percent of documents uploaded to the cloud include sensitive information. The trouble is, employees may inadvertently share them outside the organisation. Businesses can put processes in place to block access to these documents automatically, or prevent them from being sent out to email addresses that are not part of their corporate domain.
  • Help users without interrupting their workflow: Everybody hates downtime, which is why automated systems make it so much easier to keep track of our most important data and protect it.

Leading disaster recovery specialists have introduced set and forget solutions that backup cloud applications. The best of these are designed specifically for busy business people who need peace of mind.

By Marina Brook, Head of Sales APAC, StorageCraft Asia-Pacific

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Cradlepoint expands its Cellular Intelligence capabilities
Cradlepoint has announced additional Cellular Intelligence capabilities with its NetCloud service.
Story image
Customer experience
Research unveils precarious customer loyalty for retailers
New research has found customers are reassessing established brand loyalties as their priorities and behaviours shift.
Story image
NCSC advisory highlights poor security configurations
The GCSB's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has released a cyber security advisory identifying commonly exploited controls and practices.
Story image
Digital Transformation
Trading up: It's time to swap core systems for flexible digital applications
This year will see more oranisations planning and commencing high tech renovations that will shake up the way they operate.
Story image
Ivanti and Lookout bring zero trust security to hybrid work
Ivanti and Lookout have joined forces to help organisations accelerate cloud adoption and mature their zero trust security posture in the everywhere workplace.
Story image
SAS Viya on Microsoft Azure to deliver 204% return - study
The Forrester Total Economic Impact study finds SAS Viya on Microsoft Azure brings a 204% return on investment over three years.
Story image
Lightspeed launches all-in-one marketing platform in A/NZ
ECommerce provider, Lightspeed has launched a new all-in-one marketing solution, Lightspeed Marketing & Loyalty in Australia and New Zealand.
Story image
PwC NZ unveils new Cloud Security Operations Center
PwC New Zealand has unveiled its new Cloud Security Operations Center for the entire Microsoft technology stack.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Clear Dynamics closes $35M funding round, invests in global growth
The funding is a major milestone and speaks to Clear Dynamics’ vision for AI-enabled ‘composable’ enterprise software, the company states.
Find out how a behavioural analytics-driven approach can transform security operations with the new Exabeam commissioned Forrester study.
Link image
Story image
Power at the edge: the role of data centers in sustainability
The Singaporean moratorium on new data center projects was recently lifted, with one of the conditions being an increased focus on power efficiency and sustainability.
Story image
New digital traffic light system to tackle construction defects
Smarter Defects Management launches its PaaS digital system and says it will revolutionise managing defects in the construction industry.
Story image
Apple previews new features for users with disabilities
Apple says new software features that offer users with disabilities new tools for navigation, health and communication, are set to come out later this year.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
SAS unveils AI experience to improve kids' batting abilities
SAS has created The Batting Lab, an interactive experience using AI, computer vision and IoT analytics to help kids improve their baseball and softball swings.
Story image
Could your Excel practices be harming your business?
While Excel has been the de-facto standard for budgeting, planning, and forecasting, is it alone, enough to support organisations in the global marketplace that’s facing rapid changes due to digital transformation?
Story image
Data and analytics could be key to higher selling prices in APAC
Sisense's latest report has found that almost half of data professionals in APAC think customised data and analytics can create better selling prices for their products.
Threat actors are exploiting weaknesses in interconnected IT/OT ecosystems. Darktrace illuminates your entire business and takes targeted action to stop emerging attacks.
Link image
For every 10PB of storage run on HyperDrive vs. comparable alternatives, an estimated 6,656 tonnes of CO₂ are saved by reduced energy consumption alone over its lifespan. That’s the equivalent of taking nearly 1,500 cars off the road for a year.
Link image
Story image
New SAS service overcomes subscription fatigue for media companies
SAS has launched SAS 360 Match which helps media companies move towards a AVOD model to generate revenue as subscribers cancel.
Story image
The 'A-B-C' of effective application security
Software applications have been a key tool for businesses for decades, but the way they are designed and operated has changed during the past few years.
Story image
Wireless Nation
Wireless Nation, N4L provide 4G network to remote NZ schools
Wireless Nation and Network for Learning (N4L) have rolled out the Rural Connectivity Group’s (RCG) new 4G network to better connect three Chatham Islands schools.
Story image
Fonterra to use automated guided vehicles by Dematic
New Zealand's dairy giant Fonterra is upgrading its manufacturing facility in Edendale with new automated guided vehicles (AGVs) from Dematic.
Story image
Sift shares crucial advice for preventing serious ATO breaches
Are you or your business struggling with Account Takeover Fraud (ATO)? One of the latest ebooks from Sift can provide readers with the tools and expertise to help launch them into the new era of account security.
Story image
Public Cloud
Cloud adoption still a work in progress, NetApp finds
NetApp has announced the results of the annual Cloud Infrastructure Report based on a survey of public cloud business and IT decision makers.
Story image
Zendesk announces new conversational CRM solutions
“The last few years have made it obvious that digital is the front door, convenience is paramount and relationships are anchored in conversations."
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
CFOs using digital workers and AI to prevent unnecessary loss
New technology is now allowing CFOs to use digital workers to automate their accounting processes, making it easier for them to avoid unnecessary losses.
Story image
Application Security
What are the DDoS attack trend predictions for 2022?
Mitigation and recovery are vital to ensuring brand reputation remains solid in the face of a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack and that business growth and innovation can continue.
Booster Innovation Fund. A fund of Kiwi ingenuity – for Kiwi investors.
Link image
Story image
Grasping the opportunity to rethink the metrics of a sustainable data centre
A data centre traditionally has two distinct operations teams: the Facility Operations team, and the IT Operations team. Collaboration between them is the key to defining, measuring, and delivering long-term efficiency and sustainability improvements.
Story image
Siemens showcases new automated solutions for data centers
Siemens has implemented new automated solutions and AI in the Baltic region's largest data center, providing insight into the future of data center management.
Story image
Adyen expands partnership with Afterpay as BNPL payments increase
Adyen has expanded its partnership with AfterPay allowing more of Adyen’s merchants in more countries worldwide to use the BNPL provider.
Story image
Talend introduces new data health solutions for businesses
Talend has announced its latest version of Talend Data Fabric, with the release of Talend Trust Score enabling data teams to establish a foundation for data health.
Story image
Revenue operations is taking centre stage
As the business world continues to evolve, new demands need to be met to keep up with the ever-changing landscape. 
Story image
Cybersecurity starts with education
In 2021, 80% of Australian organisations responding to the Sophos State of Ransomware study reported being hit by ransomware. 
Story image
Data Center
Preventing downtime costs and damage with Distributed Infrastructure Management
Distributed Infrastructure Management (DIM) can often be a lifeline for many enterprises that work with highly critical ICT infrastructure and power sources.
Story image
A10 Networks finds over 15 million DDoS weapons in 2021
A10 Networks notes that in the 2H 2021 reporting period, its security research team tracked more than 15.4 million Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) weapons.
Story image
Remote Working
IT teams deploy powerful technologies to enable remote work
"We found that IT teams mastered the challenges of remote work last year in large part by employing powerful yet easy-to-use technologies."
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
SAS launches human-focused responsible innovation initiative
SAS has launched a responsible innovation initiative, furthering its commitment to equity and putting people first.
Story image
Meadows exits Ingram Micro New Zealand on a good note
We look at the resignation of Danny Meadows from Ingram Micro's New Zealand Unified Communications & Collaboration business unit.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
How to ensure ethical deployment of AI implentations
The increase in automation and machine technology such as AI and machine learning has unlocked a whole new level of scale and service to organisations. 
Story image
A third of companies paying ransom don’t recover data - report
Veeam's report finds 76% of businesses who are victims of cyberattacks paid the ransom to recover data, but a third were still unable to get their information back.
Story image
Voxel hits total funding of $18M following ongoing wins
Since raising its seed round in September, Voxel has grown at pace, by decreasing on-site injuries by upwards of 80% and increasing operational productivity.
Story image
Cloudflare launches instant serverless database for dev teams
"Today we’re announcing our first serverless database which we expect will quickly become one of the largest databases in the world."
Story image
Digital Transformation
How to modernise legacy apps without compromising security
At a time when digital transformation has become central to business, even the most important applications come with a ‘use-by’ date.