Microsoft says Office 365 is now the fastest-growing product in the history of the company. With 40 percent year-over-year growth, Office 365 should top the 100 million-user mark in 2017. As more businesses adopt Office 365, they’re looking to make the most of the included free Microsoft OneDrive accounts. Dangerously, some are attempting to push OneDrive beyond its intended use case—file sync and share for collaborative productivity—and use it as a patchwork replacement for true enterprise-grade endpoint backup.
OneDrive and Endpoint Backup are NOT the Same
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: electronic file sync and share (EFSS) solutions (like Microsoft OneDrive) and endpoint backup are two distinct solutions designed to deliver two distinct outcomes. True enterprise endpoint backup is built to cover all endpoint data—securing that data and enabling fast, reliable recovery. OneDrive, in contrast, is built to cover a specific, user-designated subset of endpoint data—and to enable seamless sharing of that data. Gartner said it best: “File sync and share still can’t replace endpoint backup today because of fundamental design goal differences.” In fact, the very features and functionality that define OneDrive become its greatest liabilities when used in place of endpoint backup.
5 Epic Fails of OneDrive as Backup
To show you just how problematic the OneDrive-as-backup approach can be, here are five common scenarios where OneDrive leaves users, IT, and the business as a whole in a bind—without the complete endpoint data protection and guaranteed recovery they need to ensure business continuity.
- You try to restore all a user’s files—and they’re not there. OneDrive only covers the small subset of files that a user manually selects to share. To be clear, that’s far from every file and every version. But most users don’t realize this until it’s too late. Their laptop crashes or they get hit with ransomware, and they’re left with a mere handful of files.
- You try to restore all a user’s files—and it takes forever. OneDrive isn’t built for fast recovery. To restore the tiny portion of a user’s data that are protected by OneDrive, IT has to go file-by-file. That’s tedious and time-consuming when you’re dealing with a single user. Now imagine the insanity of file-by-file recovery for a large-scale restore project, like an enterprise-wide device migration or OS update.
- A user mistakenly deletes a file—and now it’s gone for good. OneDrive is designed to move files forward quickly—not to go back. It only saves the most recent version of files, and previous versions or deleted files are only recoverable for a few days. That means if a user mistakenly (or maliciously) deletes a synced file, it’s automatically deleted for everyone. And if you don’t catch the error in time, it’s gone for good.
- A user is removing (aka stealing) valuable data—and you have no idea. OneDrive is designed to make it as easy and frictionless as possible to upload, edit, share and download files. That means limited IT and InfoSecurity controls—and pretty much zero visibility into what users are doing with data on their endpoints, once they pull it off OneDrive. In other words, it’s hard to spot malicious insiders that are removing valuable data, and even harder to know what they’re doing with that stolen data.
- One user gets hit with ransomware—and now everyone has it. OneDrive is great at spreading information far and wide. But when that information is corrupted, OneDrive can actually accelerate the spread of things like ransomware and malware: An infected file is automatically synced to a shared folder, other users open it and boom—a ransomware epidemic. Since we already know OneDrive can’t guarantee complete data recovery, you’re forced to play the data ransomer’s evil game.
Still think OneDrive can work as backup? Read “Why OneDrive Does Not Equal Endpoint Backup” and get the full story on the inherent flaws and big risks of this haphazard approach to protecting your most valuable asset.