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IDrive launches unlimited backups for 365, Workspace

A new cloud SaaS service from IDrive enables SMBs to backup an unlimited amount of Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace data for an annual subscription.

Businesses looking to protect Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace data can now use a new service from IDrive Inc. to backup unlimited data to a third-party cloud.

IDrive’s Cloud-to-Cloud Backup service, now generally available, enables complete backups of the two popular SaaS clouds to IDrive e2, an object storage service.

Backups cost $20 annually per user, and each productivity and collaboration platform is considered a separate product. The Cloud-to-Cloud Backup service is available to existing IDrive customers as an add-on or as a standalone purchase.

Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace are popular SaaS services but lack the backup and restoration capabilities buyers might assume are included, including granular recovery tools, according to Steve McDowell, analyst and founding partner at NAND Research.

“Google and Microsoft are doing a fairly crappy job at servicing this market,” McDowell said. “I don’t know how much SMBs are paying attention to this space.”

Personal SaaS

Cloud-to-Cloud Backup subscriptions include three automated daily backups retained for 30 days. These backups include point-in-time snapshots and granular recovery for specific types of files such as video, folders or address book contacts.

Protected Microsoft 365 services include OneDrive, Exchange, SharePoint and Teams data. Google Workspace includes Google Drive, Gmail, Google Calendar and user contacts.

IDrive previously enabled users to backup Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace data to its e2 storage but lacked a direct way to copy files from one cloud to another, according to Raghu Kulkarni, CEO and founder of IDrive.

The $20 annual fee also compares better in price to larger vendors, many of which opt for a monthly fee rather than a flat rate, according to Jerome Wendt, analyst and CEO at Data Center Intelligence Group. Services offered by companies such as IDrive are basic compared to more enterprise focused tools, but do offer important and overlooked recovery capabilities for less savvy customers, he said.

Google and Microsoft are doing a fairly crappy job at servicing this market.
Steve McDowellAnalyst and founding partner, NAND Research

“If you’re not doing anything [at all], it makes sense at a low price point,” he said.

Backing up data outside of Microsoft and Google also avoids issues of data inaccessibility in the event of an outage, Wendt said. Additionally, Microsoft 365 contracts and services do not guarantee fully backing up all data within their respective products, leading to data sprawl across apps and services.

“Microsoft 365 products say they back up data, but you have to pull back the covers to see what they’re protecting,” Wendt said.

The Cloud-to-Cloud Backup software will support additional SaaS clouds, with support for Salesforce data planned later this year. The platform will eventually support other S3-compatible object storage for backup targets as well, Kulkarni added.

Small data, big consequences

Backup services for Microsoft 365 data, and to a lesser extent Google Workspace, has become increasingly popular as Microsoft shifts more customers into SaaS services exclusively and continues to adhere to the shared responsibility model, which puts data backup responsibility on the customer. Enterprise-focused vendors offering Microsoft 365 backups include Clumio, Cohesity and Rubrik.

SMBs may conflate file syncing capabilities with cloud backup. File syncing focuses on data in production not data in storage, which means if stored files are lost or damaged, they cannot be recovered.

SMBs may not spend on backup services to the same extent as the enterprise, McDowell noted, but data loss or cyberattacks on SMBs can have a similar effect on both the business and the customer as they do for enterprises.

Beyond SaaS backup, IDrive’s services compete in a highly contested SMB and enterprise market against hyperscalers like AWS and other object storage providers such as Backblaze, Wasabi and Seagate’s Lyve Cloud. The company manages about 400 petabytes of data for 4 million users.

Tim McCarthy is a journalist from the Merrimack Valley of Massachusetts. He covers cloud and data storage news.

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