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Protecting your data in the SaaS market

by Mike Jones in Other Cat 08/01/2020

SaaS is continuing to expand as businesses of all sizes integrate the software-as-a-service model to meet their application requirements. Studies suggest that the use of SaaS within business increased by 68% between 2017 and 2018. Innovative companies are implementing the benefits of SaaS, offering subscription pricing options to their customers and enabling software to be used as a service, reducing overall management, maintenance, and cost. The benefits are clear but there is also an important area that needs to be considered with the rise of SaaS in business and this relates to the storage of data and protecting this information for the future.

Recent reports indicate that nearly 50% of businesses are depending on their selected SaaS system to protect their data, and a further 25% have no protection plan in place at all for their SaaS data. Whilst most SaaS vendors are investing significantly in data protection, their focus is placed on major data disruption rather than accidental removal of certain fails. Nearly all SaaS licenses available today require the customer to share the responsibility of data protection. What this means is the provider will take ownership of certain parts of the data, but the customer also has responsibility in other areas. This tends to mean that the vendor provides a secure platform and service but the data involved in the process belongs to the customer and so is their responsibility to keep safe.

Potential Issues with SaaS and Data Protection

Let’s take the scenario where certain files at your business are accidentally deleted and are left for a period of time resulting in being permanently deleted from your system, with no precautionary measure to back up the files. Many SaaS clients make the assumption that vendors are creating backups of your data, and generally, they do. However, this backup is nearly always a complete backup of the entire platform, enabling a full recovering in the case of a significant security breach or in a scenario where all your data is destroyed. What this means is data is protected at a service level but specific granular information cannot be recovered. For example, the system won’t be capable of recovering a particular email or a critical sales file sheet required for a report. Whilst this may be an extreme example, if any situations like this develop, it is prudent that a business has taken precautions and used an external backup system.

Maintaining the security of SaaS data

With large data volumes, it is good to manage and prioritise your information and create a backup plan. This enables a business to classify the most important data sources and ensure you remain compliant with current regulations. If your business intends to apply a SaaS model then it makes sense to deliver a SaaS solution service to protect it. Implementing the SaaS approach doesn’t mean you have to let your data protection focus slide. With the number of options available today, there should be no reason why a business should leave their data open to potential risks. Organisations should acknowledge that SaaS data requires a similar level of protection as applied to other major data sources.