How 5 Popular Tools Protect and Backup Your Data

Seth Godin quote technology requires new work be better.

"We're in the cloud" is a phrase we hear often. It's delivered with confidence and certainty that someone is taking care of everything. But the reality is you, the customer, are responsible for managing, protecting, and preserving your valuable data.

Here's a quick recap from our What You Don't Know About the Cloud Shared Responsibility Model blog post.

  • You are completely responsible for the security, protection, and access to your data.

  • Your popular everyday web apps do not backup your data.

  • If your data is lost, stolen, deleted for whatever reason, you – not your cloud provider – are responsible for recovering it.

  • The Mini-Cliffs Notes of Cloud Services

    Since most of us don't read the Terms of Service, I set out to discover what the cloud providers we all rely on say -- and don't say -- about serving you. Plowing through the word salad these providers publish reinforced why no one bothers to read them.

    • Vague
    • Incomprehensible
    • Frustrating

    It's easier to just go with assumptions and hope for the best. Your data is one of your most valuable personal and business assets. You deserve to know what these services are doing for you, and how to practically safeguard your work.

    Here is the mini-Cliffs Notes interpretation of 5 popular tools most of you rely on every day.

    (A quick note: Deleted data means any file, email, user, etc. that you or someone deletes. It can be intentional, accidental, or malicious. The result is the same: deleted = gone.)

    1) 365 Email

    Microsoft is the rabbit hole of epic depth and darkness. Without getting lost in the nuances, exceptions, and if this/then that twisted logic, these are useful highlights.

    Backup policy : you do it

    Deleted mailbox retention : 30 days

    Deleted emails recovery : If you have a business account, your system administrator has access to tools that might recover deleted emails. Best to go with the assumption that deleted means gone.

    Recovery after the retention period : you do it

    What you can do:

  • If manual tasks are your thing, then you can use the Outlook Import/Export feature to make a backup of your mailbox (.pst) file.

  • Set a recurring Outlook reminder to do this regularly.

  • Save your backup .pst to an external drive or local network shared server.

  • If you prefer to have technology do the work for you, we developed an automated tool to handle regular backups for you.

  • 2) OneDrive

    Backup policy : you do it

    Deleted data retention : 93 days

    Recovery after the retention period : you do it

    What you can do :

    This leads to a whole lot of twisty turns.

  • You can sync files with your desktop.

  • If you have a business account and a company system admin, then they manage file ownership, access, and where files can be stored locally.

  • Or keep it simple. Regularly copy your files to a local server or external device.

  • 3) Dropbox

    This is what a provider's simple, straightforward explanation should look like.

    Backup policy : you do it

    Deleted data retention :

  • Dropbox Basic, Plus, and Family: 30 days

  • Dropbox Professional and Business: 180 days

  • Paid add-ons can extend the retention period.

  • Recovery after the retention period : you do it

    4) QuickBooks Online

    If you're a QuickBooks Desktop user, then you're familiar with the full backup feature. For that reason alone, the Desktop version is my preferred solution.

    Backup policy : you do it

    Unlike the Desktop version, you can't create a true full backup.

    Deleted data retention : none

    If you delete a transaction – or worse, an entire company file – there's no way to restore it. It is gone immediately. You can use the Audit Log to see the details of a transaction and re-enter it manually. Not helpful for a lot of files.

    What you can do :

    You are limited to exporting some of your data to CSVs. It's not great, and it's not a full backup. That's all there is.

    5) LastPass

    Backup policy : you do it

    Deleted data retention : 30 days

    Recovery after retention period : you do it

    What you can do :

    LastPass provides two do-it-yourself backup options.

    One More Word About Preserving Your Online Data

    You can see why adopting a regular backup policy that includes secure local storage is a must.

    There are third party vendors that offer backup and recovery services for many of these applications. We haven't used any of these services so we can't recommend them. If you are interested in exploring any of these, we're happy to help you with the evaluation.

    Thanks for Stopping By on Thursday

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    Linda Rolf is a lifelong curious learner who believes a knowledge-first approach builds valuable, lasting client relationships.

    She loves discovering the unexpected connections among technology, data, information, people and process. For more than four decades, Linda and Quest Technology Group have been their clients' trusted advisor and strategic partner.

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