Since the first of this year, businesses have shifted significant portions of their resources into cloud SaaS environments. These include the likes of Google Workspace, formerly G Suite. Organizations have had to make the necessary changes in technology solutions to allow remote workers to remotely access business-critical resources. On top of the typical core resources such as email and file services traditionally housed on-premises, businesses have shifted to Google Workspaces and other SaaS providers to take advantage of the powerful collaboration features.
With the significant shift to cloud SaaS environments to facilitate remote work, organizations need to think about a crucial topic – backups. Let’s take a look at G Suite backup software for remote workers and why this is so important, especially now.
Why G Suite backups are critical now
It has never been more critical for organizations that have migrated large amounts of their business-critical data and operations to cloud SaaS environments like G Suite, now Google Workforce, to examine their backups. Why are backups more crucial than ever before? There are many reasons for this. Let’s look at the following:
- Organizations may have unprotected data with the rapid shift to the cloud
- Attackers are targeting remote workers
- Remote end-users may cause data loss
Organizations may have unprotected data with the rapid shift to the cloud
This year has been a year like none other. Organizations had to make rapid decisions, including changes to how employees could carry out their business-critical tasks. After the global pandemic started taking shape, changes occurred seemingly overnight. Organizations began to shift data as quickly as possible to cloud SaaS environments like G Suite.
As a necessary evil, business-continuity was the number one priority. With the initial focus on merely keeping business operations functional, data protection may have fallen through the cracks. It means the organization’s data may be at risk of data loss. Now it is time to reevaluate data migrated to the cloud and ensure it is protected appropriately.
An additional challenge for organizations is they may lack previous experience with cloud SaaS environments. Organizations can assume data is “magically” protected, unlike traditional on-premises data. It is a misconception that can affect business decisions to back up their data, which can be disastrous. On the contrary, data in the cloud is at risk the same as data on-premises. Various dangers to cloud data include cloud infrastructure failure, ransomware, and end-user data loss.
Attackers are targeting remote workers
Cybercriminals are continually looking at ways to compromise your critical data. They observe trends in the industry, technology solutions used, and where you house your data. It is no surprise that attackers realize organizations are using cloud environments more than ever.
They are also counting on organizations making mistakes this year with the rapid transition to a remote work stance with their workforce, especially forgetting about backups. Have attackers been busy? There has been a tremendous increase in cyberattacks since the beginning of the pandemic. Note the following reports.
- Zohar Pinhasi, a cyber counter-terrorism expert and founder of the cybersecurity firm MonsterCloud, reports that ransomware attacks are up 800% during the pandemic.
- The FBI noted an increase between 3,000 and 4,000 daily cybersecurity complaints, a significant jump from before the COVID-19 pandemic when about 1,000 complaints were received daily. It is a 400% increase in the volume of cyberattacks.
- Barracuda has noted a 667% increase in COVID-19-related phishing attacks
Also alarming, cyberattackers are using ransomware prolifically during the pandemic. The shift to remote work leads to increased risks from a successful ransomware attack on your business-critical data. Why is this? There are a couple of reasons noted. These include:
- There are generally weaker IT security controls in place in home networkers of remote workers.
- Users are more likely to click on COVID-19-themed ransomware that lures unsuspecting end-users by playing on their anxiety
There is a clear theme with ransomware, and the pandemic – ransomware is thriving in a COVID-19 world. Reports include details of an increase in ransomware’s popularity, with the number of new samples rising by 72% over the first half of the year. Can ransomware infect cloud environments? Yes. There are a few ways this can happen.
- Phishing emails in conjunction with an end-user granting OAuth permissions delegation to malicious applications can easily encrypt cloud data. Kevin Mitnick demonstrated what he called “Ransomcloud” software that was fully capable of infecting cloud email services. All this takes is an unsuspecting end-user granting OAuth permissions to a malicious application. The application then has free reign to encrypt data.
- File synchronization utilities that synchronize files between on-premises end-user clients and cloud storage can synchronize ransomware-encrypted data to cloud environments. It is important to remember that “on-premises” is now the home environments of remote workers and their devices.
With the statistics showing a direct correlation between the pandemic, shift to remote work, and ransomware, it is imperative that organizations do their due diligence to ensure their data is protected, both on-premises and in the cloud.
Remote end-users may cause data loss
Data loss often comes at the hands of end-users. One of the most common causes of data loss is someone overwrites a business-critical spreadsheet or document. They may unintentionally perform a “Save” instead of a “Save As” operation, overwriting data. A user may also set about deleting unneeded files. Instead of deleting the files intended, they delete critical files instead.
For most, remotely working from their home environment means many distractions surround them. Distractions may include children who are now homeschooling and other family members who may be working from home. Distraction can undoubtedly play a role in end-users deleting data unintentionally. End-users can delete data unintentionally from cloud storage environments, including Google Drive. If these are shared storage locations, this can impact many others. If the data is critical, it can lead to a business continuity event.
Cloud backup best practices
Considering the crucial need for cloud backups due to the threats mentioned, let’s think about the cloud backup best practices when backing up your Google Workspace, formerly G Suite, environment and how this benefits your remote workers.
- Use automated versioned backups
- Store backups outside of your production environment
- Use cloud-to-cloud backups
- Backup all critical services
- Have visibility to data that is not protected
Use automated versioned backups
Relying on manual processes to backup data is a terrible idea. It will inevitably lead to data loss in some shape or form in the future. On the contrary, using automated backups of your cloud environment eliminates missed backups. Fully-featured solutions also provide effective versioning to capture various points in time, providing the ability to roll back data to an earlier state. It helps ensure data can be restored to a known good condition, previous to any data loss event.
Store backups outside of your production environment
It has long been a fundamental principle in the 3-2-1 backup best practice methodology to have a separate copy of your data that is not included in the same “failure domain” as your production data. You never want to have all your “eggs in one basket” when it comes to your data.
This principle may get a bit blurred when it relates to cloud environments. However, depending on your G Suite backup software, ideally, you want to store your backups outside the Google cloud. It helps ensure you aren’t keeping your backups in the same environment as your production Google SaaS services.
Use cloud-to-cloud backups
Many organizations consider storing backups of their cloud SaaS data on-premises. However, this can be limiting in many ways. A more effective approach to cloud backups is using cloud-to-cloud backups. In other words, a Backup-as-a-Service (BaaS) solution. It allows effectively streaming your production data from one cloud environment to a BaaS environment located in another cloud environment. Cloud-to-cloud backups extend the benefits of cloud environments to your backup solution, allow your organization to take advantage of the flexibility and agility of the cloud backups. It also enables elastic scalability for your backup environment to provide the needed amount of storage and efficiently scaling this up or down.
Cloud-to-cloud backups protect against ransomware. Ransomware processes cannot directly access the backup data when using a Backup-as-a-Service (BaaS) provider. Organizations who want to use on-premises storage to store backups of their Google SaaS data are at a higher risk of having backup data compromised by ransomware. It also means your organization assumes the risk and security tasks needed to protect your backups adequately. Most organizations benefit from the advantage of allowing a cloud-based backup service to take care of this for them.
It also means that you are not responsible for provisioning the hardware, configuration, and managing the lifecycle management of the physical infrastructure required for your backup environment. The backup service is merely a subscription service that you pay for along with your cloud SaaS environment.
Backup all critical services
It is imperative to backup all critical services you are using in your Google Workspace environment. Many organizations may choose to backup their Google Drive service, but not Gmail as an example. However, cloud SaaS services like Gmail are at risk of many different kinds of OAuth attacks that can compromise the data held in Gmail and other services.
It is crucial to provide backups of all your Google services where any production data resides. Organizations looking to use a cloud-to-cloud backup solution for G Suite/Google Workspace need to consider its capabilities and ensure it covers the services they use.
Have visibility to data that is not protected
Often, organizations may not realize certain types of data or accounts are not protected by backups only to learn when it is too late, and they have suffered data loss. Choose a cloud-to-cloud backup solution that allows quickly seeing data not protected in your Google Workspace environment. This type of effective reporting helps to ensure backups of all business-critical data.
G Suite backup software for remote workers
Organizations want to make sure they have effective G Suite backup software for remote workers. It should include all the characteristics we have described:
- Automatic versioning
- Aligns with backup best practices
- Visibility to protected data
SpinBackup, as part of the SpinOne suite of backup and cybersecurity software, provides the ultimate G Suite backup software for remote workers. It provides a feature-rich set of cloud-to-cloud backup tools that allows protecting your most important data for remote workers and your entire Google Workspace organization. What features does it include?
- It automatically backups up your Google Workspace cloud
- Protects Gmail, Google Drive, Team Drives, Calendar, Contacts, Photos, and Sites
- Provides multiple versions of your Google Workspace environment
- For those with reasons to migrate G Suite data, it allows easy data migration
- Reporting and alerting to see which data is protected and that which is vulnerable
- Part of the SpinOne full cybersecurity suite used in ransomware protection
Backing up cloud data has never been more critical than it is now. Since the massive shift to remote work earlier this year, organizations are heavily relying on cloud services such as those found in G Suite, now Google Workspace. Cyberattacks are at an all-time high since the outset of the pandemic. Attackers know that organization’s business-critical data is more exposed now than ever before. Remote workers using less secure home networks and, in some cases, their own devices significantly increase security vulnerabilities and risks.
Businesses must use G Suite backup software for remote workers to protect their organization data and protect against the risks of ransomware and also, data loss at the hands of more distracted remote workers. SpinBackup provides the tools businesses need to ensure data in their Google Workspace environments are protected. It gives the assurance and confidence organizations need in a very unpredictable time.
Sign up for a fully-featured trial of SpinBackup here.