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Data is always your responsibility and you need to back up O365

Bar Hori, Regional Sales Executive at Commvault for Africa.
Bar Hori, Regional Sales Executive at Commvault for Africa.

Nigeria is undergoing significant digital transformation, driven by government initiatives and accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The adoption of cloud-based solutions has been at the heart of this, and Microsoft Office 365 (O365) is one of the most widely deployed cloud tools in the country for businesses of all sizes looking to improve on collaboration. However, while cloud offers always-on availability, there is some confusion over the need to back up data. The reality is that if a ransomware attack or data loss event takes place, the ability to successfully recover data still comes down to the effectiveness of data protection and backup solutions. Even when you have O365 in place, you still need to back up your data.

Benefits drive adoption

Adoption of cloud solutions can have significant benefits, including increased availability, flexibility and agility, and the fast rollout of new solutions as a service. This is particularly important in Nigeria, where procuring new hardware can take up to six months due to international availability issues and local red tape.

No business can afford to wait this long, and so the cloud has seen massive adoption. Other benefits to this move have included the availability of skilled support and the ability to access enterprise-grade solutions in a cost effective way. The cloud has made it easier to stay up and running with minimal disruption from a range of external disruptors, including COVID-19.

Data is still your responsibility

However, ransomware remains a real threat, and local experts are warning of an expected escalation in cybercrime and cyberattacks compared to 2021. Adding weight to this, in January of 2022, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) alerted Nigerians to a plan by a cybercrime group to deliver ransomware to targeted organisational networks.

The risk of service disruption remains a real and growing possibility, and the validity and safety of data, regardless of whether it is located on prem or in the cloud, remains the business’s responsibility. If a machine is infected by ransomware, data could be affected no matter where it is stored, and O365 does not mitigate the risk of the human factor when it comes to malicious or accidental deletion of files.

Backup is still the last line of defence

Microsoft operates what they call a Shared Responsibility model, which very clearly states that “for all cloud deployment types… you are responsible for protecting the security of your data and identities, on-premises resources, and the cloud components you control.” Backing up O365 data is critical. Without effective backup, the only options in the event of a ransomware attack are to pay or lose data.

It is equally important, however, to use an agile, cloud-based backup solution that offers a similar experience without the lengthy procurement challenges of hardware-based solutions. Data backup does not need to be expensive or require additional resources. The ability to quickly, easily, securely and cost effectively protect data via a Software as a Service (SaaS) platform, as well as to protect and integrate other workloads, will change the game. With the right data protection and backup solution in place, businesses have the ability to recover their most important asset – their data – and the peace of mind that they are covered in the event of accidental or malicious deletion as well as a ransomware attack.

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