Backup as a service (BaaS) is a subscription-based approach to data backups. As a fully managed backup service, it takes the task of backing up your systems out of your hands so you can focus on what you do best. Backing up your data is an essential task, and BaaS is easily the safest, simplest, and most cost-effective way to accomplish it.
What is BaaS?
BaaS is a cloud-based managed backup service that helps you protect your vital data in case of loss, breach, or disaster. BaaS installs on your systems quickly and runs continuously, maintaining a running backup of your systems, applications, and all associated files. Should the unthinkable happen—whether it’s through malicious intent, unforeseen disaster, or innocent human error—you have a backup copy of your favourite SaaS tools to restore from.
Most enterprise companies maintain a full-time IT staff to oversee and maintain backups, but SMBs don’t always have the resources to support that. Today’s cloud backups deliver enterprise-grade service for a predictable monthly subscription, making best-in-class data security accessible for any organization.
Keep in mind, just because you’re a small business doesn’t mean data loss wouldn’t be as devastating. Data loss threatens your business continuity. Time is money, and if your systems are down for any length of time, you risk losing more than just sales. If financial data were to be lost or breached, your business could face steep fines and legal consequences. SMBs that don’t prioritize backups may well find themselves in rough waters.
Think of BaaS as an insurance policy—only it’s better in some ways. It’s there to protect you if your data becomes compromised, and it’s a way for you to get back up and running quickly, even if you lose your physical device.
How BaaS Works
BaaS is a reliable, secure, managed cloud backup solution that helps you avoid having to invest in a lot of additional hardware, such as standalone hard drives and servers. You simply connect to the backup application in the cloud, configure your preferences, and let it work its magic.
Depending on the level of service you want, your backups could run continuously in the background or at set intervals. Each time your system is backed up, data is transmitted over a secure network to the cloud server. Instead of being saved to an on-premise server, data is written directly to the cloud, where it is stored until needed. (Most BaaS providers rely in turn on industry giants like Amazon, Microsoft, and Google for distributed cloud storage, data processing, and application services.)
The BaaS provider manages the entire backup process, providing the client with a user-friendly dashboard to manage their data in the cloud.
BaaS is delivered on a subscription basis, billed either monthly or yearly. Pricing for the plan you choose depends on bandwidth, storage, frequency of backups, how much data you need to back up, and how often the data is accessed. Your backups will contain an exact copy of all your business data and often the associated metadata. If you experience data loss, you can recover what you need from your backup, whether it’s the entire system or a single page, product line, or image.
Organizations of all sizes use cloud backups. For the enterprise, it might be a supplemental backup in addition to other modes, but for SMBs, it is usually the only offsite backup solution. SMBs don’t always have an in-house tech department, so choosing managed services is an excellent way to run lean and still maintain a high level of protection and availability. By outsourcing to a BaaS provider, SMBs employees can focus on their jobs, not on running data backups.
Why it’s Critical to Back Up Your Data
Let’s not mince words – data loss can destroy your business. For example, if you run an ecommerce store, potential buyers are not likely to stick around if your site was unavailable, if crucial pages were missing, or if certain functions didn’t work as they should. Shoppers don’t hesitate to click away if they don’t immediately get what they’re looking for.
Not only will you lose a potential customer, but they might even tell others about their experience. Negative reviews tend to stick around online for a long time, and it will take a lot more effort to turn the tides back in your favor.
Of course, there are many different types of data loss. Some are more concerning than others, but if it means your site is down or your productivity has halted, the result is the same.
Some of the ways your data could be at risk include:
- Cybercrime, like hacking or ransomware
- Malicious actors on the inside, such as a disgruntled employee
- Accidental human error
- Faulty CSV files
- Third-party app failure or incompatibility
- Physical loss from a storm event, fire, or flooding
- Vandalism, terrorism, or theft
You can do many things to protect yourself against exploits but backing up your data is fundamental. In best practice, you should have three complete backups. Known as the 3-2-1 backup method, it consists of three copies: one that’s stored on-premise, one in the cloud, and one on separate media (like an external drive you can take home with you) in an entirely different location. This strategy ensures you have a complete copy of your data when you need it.
Other things you can do to secure your systems include:
- Establish and publish an official company policy about data privacy and security. Ensure every employee reads and signs the document to encourage accountability
- Be firm with your policies. Do not make exceptions
- Educate your employees on the risks of phishing and other email scams
- Reinforce the message periodically and update as needed
- Set up role-based access for your systems, so only qualified personnel have access to critical files. For example, your content creators and customer service associates probably don’t need access to back-end code
- Enable multi-factor authentication for all users
- Use a secure password manager, like 1Password
- Do not share passwords between employees
- Use strong passwords—ideally, passphrases with 12-16 characters
- Update third-party apps and plugins judiciously. If plugins are incompatible after an upgrade, remove them from the system immediately
- Read all service agreements with third-party SaaS providers. Ensure you know how they use, store, and leverage data, as these details might be at issue if you were to experience a breach
- Upgrade older devices and equipment regularly to avoid vulnerabilities
- Use a managed cloud backup service (BaaS) for ultimate peace of mind
Probably best of all, BaaS saves you and your team tons of time and money. You don’t have to buy extra hardware or invest in infrastructure, there’s no need to hire outside IT staff to manage it, and you’ll get more done because you won’t be spending all your time putting out fires.
Not least of all, BaaS is a scalable solution, which means if your company grows, your backup strategy grows right along with it.
What Needs to be Backed Up?
All company data should be backed up, including applications, databases, analytics, settings, back-end code, images, correspondence, log files, and third-party APIs. When you choose a BaaS provider, it’s always a good idea to learn exactly what they back up and what they don’t—just so there are no surprises.
DO assume that every bit of data is essential. You wouldn’t want to be in a situation where you’ve restored your systems successfully, but some of your third-party integrations aren’t working. If that’s the case, it might take a lot longer to get back up and running because you’ll have to reinstall, reconnect, and reconfigure every third-party connection you lost.
DON’T assume that your Saas platform has your back, either. Most do not provide full backups, and they may not be able to restore your site—even if it’s their fault. Under the Shared Responsibility Model, individual account data is the responsibility of the individual user, not the platform.
BaaS Solutions and What They Include
The best BaaS solutions are like a silent partner. It’s always there in the background, but you’ll never even notice it until you need it.
BaaS services are typically charged based on usage. Ecommerce merchants with thousands of orders per month will pay more for their backups than a small indie store with only a handful of monthly orders.
Large accounting firms with hundreds of employees and thousands of clients will pay more for backing up all their client files, compared to a bookkeeper managing only a single file.
Large software developer companies will pay more to back up a large number of code repositories than the freelance developer who only needs to back up a single repository.
The more transactions you do, the more data you’ll produce, and the more backup features you’ll need.
At a fundamental level, you’ll get real-time backups that can be used to restore files, images, or the entire system as needed. Premium backup services, like multi-location or multiple account capabilities and metadata backups, are available for high-volume clients with more complex data.
Be sure you know how long your BaaS backups are available, how many restores are included in the plan, and if there are any limits on version history.
You’ll also want to understand your service level agreement (SLA), as this sets the tone for your relationship with your managed service provider. Essentially, an SLA is a document detailing what one party has agreed to provide the other.
Lastly, be sure you know how to contact support if you need it. Ideally, you’d want 24/7 support and access to a team of experts, or at the premium level, a dedicated account manager. Data loss doesn’t always happen at convenient times. You need to know you have a capable team to connect with who will take the time to walk you through processes and answer all your questions and concerns.