Awesome, your business is in the cloud!
If you're reading this, then your data is already in the cloud. Well done, you've made a big step towards ensuring the longevity of your business and enforcing a prudent disaster recovery plan. Good platforms and document management systems like SharePoint Online have security measures and fail safes that protect your data. Microsoft are world leaders in fact. SharePoint also has not one, but two recycle bins from which you can restore any documents that you need to. Sounds good right?
But you should still back up your data
However, while having your data in the cloud is a good step, it's also only the first step towards fully protecting your business and its assets. The next one is employing a third party backup tool. Why? Because mistakes still happen and businesses still need to retain archived records over time. They might not be paper records and the mistake might not be some faulty wiring in your documents room, but it still rings true.
Reason 1 - Meet compliance standards
Businesses are increasingly required to retain information, particularly financial records, for at least seven years in case of auditing. That's a lot of documents! You could store them on your document management system, but unless it has an archive feature, you'll have to come up with your own way of filing and potentially date stamping them. It's a huge time investment for not a lot of return considering that it doesn't prevent anyone going in and deleting or tampering with them. A third party backup tool is a neat and convenient way of storing backups of your file system over time.
Reason 2 - Beware of human error
We're all prone to making mistakes every now and again. This is why technology (and backups!) are great at mitigating these risks. In the case of SharePoint Online it has a few different features to help you out. These are versioning, the user (or first level) recycle bin, and the admin (second level) recycle bin. The reason why having a backup is recommended is because documents in both recycle bins will only hang around for 90 days. After that point documents arepermanently deleted, and to restore from there requires a call to Microsoft's support centre. This can take time and may require an entire rollover of your file system to the point in time when the file was available.
A third party backup tool however gives you, the business owner, control over your files even beyond the recycle bin. It ensures that if and when a mistake occurs, that you can restore documents or your entire file system in a way that is quick, painless, and very easy.
Reason 3 - Malicious users
A small but very real fear for many businesses is the employee who takes their revenge out on the company file system. A user with admin rights can even delete entire site collections from the recycle bin. Business disruptions caused from malicious users or human error cost time and money, and may take days or even weeks to restore the file system to how it was. Again, a backup solution gives you peace of mind because you have a recovery plan for your business' worst case scenario.
Another risk to your online data is one you might not be aware of, and that's encryption. Things like the cryptolocker virus encrypts data so that documents are unusable. If this occurs, there may be whole chunks of your file system that you now have to restore. With SharePoint Online, you'll most likely have to roll back your file system to before the encryption. This means losing any new work you've done between Microsoft's backup of your files and your current file system. A good third party backup tool will allow you to pick and choose what you need to restore from which backup.
How to choose a third party backup tool
There are plenty of backup tools for SharePoint Online and other platforms available. So how do you choose? Here's our quick guide to help you get started:
Understand your needs/requirements
Knowing what parts of your SharePoint Online site are important and what you will subsequently need to restore will help you determine what backup features your business requires. If you're an SMB you might just need a simple tool that only backs up files. If you're an enterprise, you'll most likely need a copy of your whole SharePoint site. Choose a tool that will restore everything that you know you can't do without.
Find a price that's right for you
We recommend researching the options out there before making a decision on your budget for backups. Prices can range from a few dollars a GB to a hefty monthly fee, but this will depend on what features you need and what support the company in question can offer.
Do they offer support in your timezone
You've found the perfect tool but the support team for it isn't based in your country... For many this might not matter, especially if the tool itself is easy to use or you have an IT provider who can help you out. But if you're worried about it, investigate what support they offer and how long response times are.
Check it's an online backup tool
Something fairly obvious, but when looking at your options, check to make sure that it's an online backup for SharePoint Online or whatever platform you business is using. Many cloud backup tools are there to backup your on-premises server.
We hope you found this helpful. We love to read your comments, so leave us one below, or get in touch through Twitter or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Try SuiteBackups for free
We're acutely aware of the challenges and risks that businesses face that can be mitigated with a backup tool. So we made our own. SuiteBackups is the simple, user-friendly tool to help you achieve compliance and peace of mind. Try the app for free today by visiting suitebackups.com.