Over the past decade cloud storage and sharing solutions have gone from a niche product available only to Fortune 500 companies and early tech adopters to a main-stream, inexpensive and widely used tool utilized by business – and individuals – the world over.
As a result, many companies that typically utilized on-premises servers are moving to solutions like SharePoint, Google Drive, and Dropbox. It’s easy to understand why: you pay only for what you use, the monthly fees are modest, and you no longer have to worry about replacing your on-premises hardware every 3-5 years. While some companies require a physical server due to specific line of business applications they use, in many cases there are cloud programs available with the same, or similar functionality.
So, as more businesses move in this direction, we wanted to take this opportunity to provide a word of caution: if you are not actively backing up the data stored in your cloud sharing application - or if you aren’t sure whether this data is being backed up - you should look into this ASAP.
That’s because there is a hidden secret that Google and Microsoft don’t advertise. Let’s start with Microsoft. SharePoint is widely used for file storage and sharing, but if you or one of your employees accidentally or intentionally deletes a file and you don’t realize it for more than 93 days, that data is gone forever. However, even if you do realize that the file has been deleted sooner, it’s impossible to recover a single file. Instead, you would be forced to restore the ENTIRE SharePoint site. So, let’s say a critical file is deleted at 2 pm on Monday afternoon and no one realizes until Wednesday at noon. If you need to restore it, you’ll be forced to select the most current backup that contains that file, thereby overwriting any files that have been changed since.
The situation isn’t much different using Google Drive. And let me start with one caveat: Google offers a backup product Vault with certain Google Workspace subscriptions, but if you are on a Frontline or G Suite Basic plan, that tool is not included. If you HAVE Vault, you can configure it so that your data is retained indefinitely. But if your subscription doesn’t include Vault, you might want to consider backing this data up separately. If someone on your team deletes a file or folder from Google Drive, and no one realized for 30 days or more, that information is likely gone forever.
Microsoft and Google do maintain secure backups of all your information (emails, files, users, etc.), but this is primarily for their use. In the case of a deletion, chances are that neither company will be particularly accommodating about restoring your data. And even if they can assist, they can’t restore individual files, even if they want to.
If you use a file-sharing or file-sync application to store your files and collaborate, make sure you understand their data retention policies. If you don’t know what happens when files are deleted, you need to get clarity ASAP.
And if you’d like to learn more about Cloud Backup, Disaster Recovery, and Business Continuity, we recommend reading our Free Report: Business Continuity, Disaster Recovery & Cloud Backup: What They Are, Why You Need Them, and How They Can Prevent Data Loss, Extended Downtime, and Cyber Security Attacks. It should give you a clearer picture of your options, along with the pros and cons of each. To download, fill in the form above.