I’m on the Cloud – why do I need backups?

The question of “why do I need backups or an archive when I’m on the Cloud” gets asked fairly frequently. After all, the Cloud provider generally keeps a backup of your data themselves. This week, Google helpfully answered that question when they accidentally deleted a customer’s data island.

UniSuper, an Australian superannuation fund, had their data island accidentally deleted by Google Cloud. This event has spelled a lengthy and agonizing period of uncertainty and recovery while techs in both companies tried to restore their data.

In the event, accidental tenant deletion ends up being several times more serious and damaging than a cyberattack would have been; one of the advantages of using a Cloud has traditionally been a layer of redundancy where your data is already backed up – the gold standard being that it is backed up to entirely different data centers in different regions, in the case of large providers like AWS or Google. This should prevent even significant cyberattacks or incidents from completely wiping data. When the event in question is internal deletion, though, these secondary data pools can be – and in this case were – wiped as well.

Are there any other reasons?

Besides needing backups just in case of incidents like this, there are other situations that require a data management system, an archive, or a backup. Outside questions of data security, having your data kept purely on a Cloud system fails to cover for other needs.

One of the major added needs is regulatory compliance, which has become a major topic. Whether we speak of NIS2, DORA or GDPR, existing regulations cover data – where it is stored, how it is handled, and what you have to be able to do with it. The Right to be Forgotten, the requirement for mandatory retention periods and eDiscovery all force companies to ensure the presence of a secondary layer of data holding and storage beyond some provider-granted redundancy.


Archive Smarter with TECH-ARROW

by Matúš Koronthály