Backing up Software-as-a-Service Applications

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Cloud-based applications and software-as-a-service (SaaS) are quickly revolutionizing the way companies deploy and manage their business-critical computing resources. The impetus for moving to SaaS applications include lower costs, ease of administration and deployment, automatic scaling of resources, ubiquitous access, resiliency and data security. The cloud certainly delivers all of these benefits to varying degrees. Of these benefits, data security and resiliency are probably the most often cited yet least understood aspects of SaaS applications, because most companies assume cloud-based application providers will fully protect their data with complete backup and recovery services. Though various SaaS providers do perform regular backups of customer data, those backups are not configurable or accessible in any way from the customer perspective. For example, though salesforce.com backs up their customer data nightly, the only option for recovery is to engage Salesforce directly, pay a minimum of $10,000, then wait a few weeks for their data to be restored. salesforce.com does offer customers the opportunity to automatically export all customer data and attachments to a downloadable comma-separated values (CSV) file, though the most frequently that task can be scheduled is once a week. The other area of concern for companies who depend on SaaS applications is the process of performing restores of deleted, missing or corrupt files.