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Technology Advice for Small Businesses

Why cloud backups matter: Lessons from 10 major cloud outages

Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security by cloud computing’s flexibility and vast storage. Outages and breaches can still occur, causing data loss and posing major risks. Many companies have endured costly disruptions due to inadequate backups. These 10 examples highlight the need for a comprehensive cloud backup strategy to protect your data.

10 Cloud outages that caused data loss

These incidents, with their different causes and outcomes, showcase the various ways in which the cloud can fail and cost vital data.

Carbonite data loss incident (2009)
Data storage company Carbonite experienced major data loss due to inadequate redundancy. By relying on consumer-grade storage, which isn’t meant for safeguarding backups, Carbonite costs thousands of their customers their valuable data. This incident underscores the importance of using reliable, secure, professional-grade backup solutions.

Dedoose service failure (2014)
A service failure cost Dedoose a month’s worth of research data, in part due to infrequent backups and because they stored both primary data and backups on the same system. Dedoose’s experience highlights the importance of regular, geographically separate backups.

StorageCraft backup metadata loss (2014)
Cloud migrations require meticulous planning and testing. Unfortunately this is something StorageCraft learned the hard way. When the company prematurely deactivated a server, they lost backup metadata, rendering backups useless for customers.

Complete data deletion at Code Spaces (2014)
A security breach led to the complete erasure of the code hosting and collaboration platform’s customer data and backups. Code Spaces never recovered, proving the critical need for strong security measures and comprehensive backups.

Musey’s cloud catastrophe (2019)
This startup accidentally deleted its entire Google account, losing over $1 million worth of data and intellectual property. Unfortunately, since the company had no independent backup, Google couldn’t restore their data. This incident emphasizes the importance of exploring alternative solutions for storing critical business data.

Salesforce permissions fiasco (2019)
When Salesforce attempted to manually fix a programming issue that enabled unauthorized users access to data, their backups failed to restore the original permissions settings, affecting all of their customers. The unintended consequences of Salesforce’s action proves that even the largest Software-as-a-Service providers need independent backup support.

KPMG’s accidental Teams data loss (2020)
An inadvertent adjustment to the Microsoft Teams retention policy at KPMG caused a substantial data loss, permanently erasing chat data and files for more than 145,000 employees. Microsoft 365’s built-in backups fell short in recovering from user errors, making a strong case for having third-party backup provisions.

OVHcloud data center fire (2021)
A fire at an OVHcloud data center resulted in substantial data loss for the company. What’s worse, the backup service they offered also stored data within the same facility, rendering those backups inaccessible as well. This showcases the need for geographically separate backups to protect against physical disasters.

Rackspace ransomware attack (2022)
Delays in applying security patches led to a ransomware attack crippling Rackspace’s Hosted Exchange environment. Recovery took months despite having backups and cost the company $5 million in expenses, emphasizing the importance of up-to-date systems and readily accessible backups.

UniSuper’s Google Cloud outage (2024)
A Google configuration error inadvertently deleted UniSuper’s entire cloud environment. Fortunately, third-party cloud backups enabled a full recovery within a week, highlighting the importance of having backups beyond a cloud provider’s solutions.

These incidents send a clear message: the cloud is susceptible to unforeseen disruptions. To avoid becoming another cautionary tale, implement a layered cloud backup strategy.

What makes for an effective cloud backup strategy?

For maximum effectiveness, a cloud backup strategy should not rely on any single solution or protocol. It requires a combination of multiple different approaches, including:

  • The 3-2-1 backup rule: Maintain at least three copies of your data, stored on two different media types (such as hard drives and cloud storage), with one copy located off site (a separate cloud account or dedicated backup service). For increased security, you should store at least one of these copies in a third-party solution that is not your cloud provider.
  • Regular backup testing: Routinely test your backups to ensure successful restoration capabilities.
  • Strong security measures: Educate your team on cybersecurity best practices and implement layered access controls such as multifactor authentication.

By taking these proactive steps, you can ensure your business data remains secure and accessible, even in the face of a cloud outage. Don’t wait for disaster to strike — implement a comprehensive cloud backup strategy today to safeguard your business continuity.

Learn more about cloud backup strategies and other ways to optimize your cloud usage by speaking to one of our experts. Contact us today.