Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions such as Microsoft Office 365, Salesforce, Google Suite, Dropbox and QuickBooks have made it easier for small to midsize businesses (SMBs) to adopt cloud services. In fact, Office 365 is by far the most popular cloud platform by user count, with global usage increasing from 34 percent in 2016 to 56 percent last year, according to Bitglass. Email is often an SMB’s first foray into the cloud.

But the cloud isn’t just for email. Organizations are using the cloud for storage, file sharing, accounting, customer relationship management, and other important business functions. Many organizations also use one or more cloud-based collaboration tools, such as Microsoft Yammer, Cisco Webex and Zoom.

SMBs are moving workloads to the cloud so they can get out of the business of building and maintaining onsite infrastructure and focus on core business functions. Just pay a monthly fee for the cloud-based applications and services you need. Employees gain access to enterprise-grade tools, and organizations gain the flexibility to scale those resources up or down according to current demand.

For many SMBs, data stored in the cloud is also “out of sight, out of mind.” They assume their data is being backed up and protected by the cloud provider, but that’s a serious and often costly mistake. The cloud provider is responsible for its own infrastructure. The customer is responsible for backing up and protecting its own data, even in a cloud environment.

This fact is often unknown to SMBs until data is lost or deleted due to human error, equipment failure or cyberattack. The organization asks the cloud provider to restore the data, only to realize that data backup is not a standard part of the service. Suddenly, what was thought to be a minor disruption to business operations turns into potential financial loss, customer churn and reputational damage.

To be clear, there are backup tools that automatically replicate your cloud data to ensure its recoverability. There are tools that preserve your backup data’s integrity and prevent data from being deleted even if the cloud environment is compromised. Many cloud providers offer these kinds of backup services. Unfortunately, adoption of a backup service is usually the result of a data loss event.

Of course, a proactive approach to data backup is better than waiting until data is lost or corrupted, users are frustrated, customers are annoyed, the CEO blows a gasket and the regulators come calling. The first step is to closely review service level agreements and gain a clear understanding of roles, responsibilities, included vs. optional services, and the provider’s ability to comply with industry regulations.

If there are gaps between the service provider’s offerings and business, legal and compliance requirements, organizations should look at implementing a backup solution for their cloud data. The challenge is that cloud data protection is not a “set and forget” proposition. Few SMBs have the resources to continuously monitor backup processes and keep them up-to-date as new applications and data sources are added.

As part of the SSD Assurance managed services program, our technicians will remotely monitor your IT environment, including the cloud, to ensure that backup tools are configured correctly and performing properly. Let us help you protect your cloud data with a robust and reliable backup system.