Digital transformation strategies are spurring massive growth in cloud services. But what do you really need for SaaS applications?
Digital transformation is constantly evolving, and with it comes increasingly rapid adoption of cloud services. IDC predicts worldwide spending on public cloud services will reach $160 billion in 2018, making it a big focus across all businesses.
But when it comes to cloud purchasing decisions, IT staff need to know what they’re looking for and what they’re buying. IT pros should be aware of the common misconceptions about cloud services, particularly Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications that make up nearly two-thirds of all public cloud spending.
Why so SaaSy?
SaaS is predicted to dominate cloud sales over the course of 2018. Flexible, scalable and often more affordable, SaaS platforms provide access to data, allow workers to retrieve files that may have been lost and alleviate some of the most common IT-related headaches.
But for as many benefits as they can bring an organization, SaaS platforms can cause just as many problems if IT staff or other end users are not aware of their roles and responsibilities regarding their data. In fact, there are several SaaS misconceptions that could prove catastrophic for uninformed users. Here, we’ll debunk three of the most common SaaS myths.
Unpacking SaaS myths
The SaaS provider is responsible for data protection. One of the biggest misunderstandings with SaaS adoption is the relationship between the vendor and customer. End users often suffer from a common misconception that their service provider is responsible for providing data protection as part of their offering.
However, prior to implementing the program, the customer and vendor agree on terms and sign a Service Level Agreement (SLA), which guarantees that the vendor will be held responsible for uptime, power, network connectivity and more. And while it can be easy to assume data protection would be folded into the agreement in some respect; that is not the case. Customers are responsible for the actual data as well as user administration.
Fact or fiction: SaaS vendors are responsible for any data lost or stolen? Fiction. Not only are customers held responsible for the data they harvest and aggregate, they are also responsible for what happens to it in the event of a hack or cyberattack. It is important that customers are aware that although the data is not located on-premise at their organization, it is still at risk of attack and they, not their SaaS provider, will be responsible for what happens to that data if it is compromised.
All SaaS platforms will be a breeze to use. Contrary to popular opinion, functionality isn’t always simple once the SaaS platform is up and running, specifically as it relates to retention. Many businesses assume they can easily recover the files and emails they might need to restore at the drop of a hat, but in reality, the process is much more involved. Currently, most SaaS platforms have limited retention for files, and even with that retention, restoration can be a lengthy and difficult process. Customers will not be able to preview and validate the files to be restored, which could lead to more headaches. They must also put in a request to the service provider for restoration that could take days or even weeks.
Data protection is everyone’s responsibility, but when it comes to SaaS applications, the onus is on the customer. Once customers understand exactly what they are responsible for, they will have a better sense of what they need to do to ensure protection of their data within the SaaS platform. Backup solutions should be top of mind for any business hoping to overcome the various shortcomings of SaaS programs.
Back it up
There are several important considerations to keep in mind when choosing a backup provider. Some of the key functionalities businesses should be looking for include:
Simple Management: Solutions that can be administered from a single console should be given priority. Key to a successful backup platform is eliminating the need for additional software or hardware to be installed on-premise. Find a backup solution that can be managed from any web browser.
Powerful Search and Restore: Searching for files is one of the main reasons businesses install SaaS platforms, so it’s important that this process be as simple as possible. Choose a backup solution that allows you to find emails and files easily and quickly without the need to search specific devices or folders. Data should be able to be viewed independently of where it was originally stored and there should be a preview option to ensure it is the right file.
When you’re going to restore, there may be different scenarios or reasons you are looking for data. With a variety of restore options, a backup solution can tailor restoration to meet a specific need. You should be able to share links with remote workers, restore data to its original location and set passwords or expiration dates for sensitive information.
Minimal ongoing administration: The solution should also be able to act autonomously, with timed data backup and the ability to add or delete users from accessing the data.
SaaS platforms are providing unparalleled benefits to businesses with regard to data access and retention. But the limited capabilities and role of the vendor in data protection and restoration could leave some businesses with a serious problem. Organizations should take the time to fully understand their role in protecting their own data and ensure they are taking necessary steps to prevent data loss in the event of a SaaS outage or cyberattack. Implementing a trustworthy backup service should diminish (or even eliminate) these concerns or frustrations.