“SaaS [software as a service] represents 70% on average of software used in the enterprise,” said Hycu founder Simon Taylor. “But the problem is that many customers think the data they create is automatically protected in the cloud. It’s not. The applications themselves will survive an outage in the cloud. But if data is deleted due to human error or by ransomware, there’s no way to restore it.”
Hycu’s new R-Cloud offering works by means of partnership between the SaaS application and Hycu with backup functionality implemented in the application, with the user’s backup copy stored in the R-Cloud service. Besides a commercial partnership, there needs to be technical collaboration to communicate via API with R-Cloud.
Hycu said it had programmed this functionality for a dozen or so SaaS products that will be supported on launch. These include Microsoft 365, Salesforce, Amazon RDS and Google Cloud SQL databases, Google BigQuery analytics, and Confluence and Jira collaboration tools.
“Contrary to what you’d imagine, it is very difficult to programme backup functionality,” said ESG analyst and backup specialist Christophe Bertrand. “The application makers don’t have the expertise. That’s also why there is demand for solutions like R-Cloud, and why VMware has never offered a complete backup solution and uses Veeam instead, which has been a great success.”
Hycu offers a simplified low-code development environment in which they can create backup functionality. The technological challenge here is that an application constantly modifies data but it has to make backups in which the latest instance is consistent with the first.
Until now, there have only been backup services dedicated to particular SaaS applications – OwnBackup for Salesforce, for example – and Veeam for Office365. The challenge for R-Cloud is to commercialise an offering for all applications.
Risk of data loss in SaaS applications
Hycu promises 100 or so applications will be compatible with R-Cloud by the end of the year. Right now, the service is uniquely available for customers that already use Hycu Protégé. Others can subscribe, and see the function “backup”, in their SaaS applications from April.
After that, the customer can restore data themselves via the Protégé console. Options include granular restore – an email, a file, etc – and historic, in which it is possible to re-mount a much older version previous to later modifications.
In the margins of R-Cloud, Hycu offers a free online service to map SaaS applications used by an enterprise and show which are not protected. Named R-Graph, this service is connected to authentication portals such as Azure Active Directory and Okta in the enterprise customers to identify services used.
“An important point is that SaaS applications are used by business units without passing before the CIO, who is the only one competent to deploy backup products,” said Bertrand. “So, it’s necessary for enterprises to understand the increase in risk from loss of data represented by SaaS applications.
“Enterprises need to understand that it’s their data and so their responsibility,” he said. “In no case can they go to the service provider if they have lost data to a cyber attack or via human error on the part of their people.”
The R-Cloud service will be charged at between $1 and $3 per user depending on the SaaS application used.