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Team communication and collaboration software revealed its true worth over the past 12 months, as businesses across the spectrum rapidly transitioned to remote work. From Zoom to Slack and beyond, companies that weren’t already all-in on the digital workforce were given little choice — it was either sink or swim.
However, with cloud spending going through the roof in 2020, a trend that’s set to continue in 2021 and beyond, this opens a Pandora’s box of questions for businesses embracing the giant hard-drive in the sky — how safe is all their data? Privacy issues aside, companies that entrust all their mission-critical information to third-party SaaS companies and clouds need a backup plan if disaster strikes.
A recent cloud threat report published by Oracle and KPMG found that 75% of organizations in the study had experienced data loss from a cloud service on more than a single occasion. And this is something that Canadian company Rewind is setting out to solve with automated data backup and recovery services for many of the popular SaaS tools of today.
Up until now, Rewind offered data backup and recovery for Shopify, BigCommerce, Intuit QuickBooks, and — as of two months ago — GitHub. Today, the company is extending support to Trello, the popular team collaboration and project management platform operated by Atlassian.
It’s worth noting that most SaaS platforms offer their own disaster recovery tools for when a systemwide catastrophe occurs, so if a fire rips through one of their datacenters they can restore all the accounts to their former state from an alternative (backup) datacenter. But this doesn’t work at an individual account level, and the SaaS company typically doesn’t enable customers to recover individual data specific to them on-demand.
This is what is widely known as a “shared responsibility” model, where the platform owner (e.g. Trello or GitHub) is responsible for infrastructure-level security and disaster recovery, and the customer is responsible for managing password security, permissions, and backing up all the data in their account.
There are various existing methods open to Trello users looking to create backups for their data, such as setting reminders to capture screenshots of boards, exporting JSON or CSV files, or manually creating copies of project boards. Ignoring the significant time and resource drain this creates for companies, the process of restoring the data in these scenarios doesn’t bear thinking about.
“The main issue with these types of manual backups is the inability to easily restore data,” Rewind CEO and cofounder Mike Potter told VentureBeat. “Manually backing up data means manually restoring it, which tends to be a slow and tedious process. Manual backups are also frequently forgotten and left out-of-date.”
And that, essentially, is the role that Rewind fulfills. It not only creates and stores automated backups of each customers’ Trello instance, it restores it all to its former glory with the click of a button.
The integration is available via Trello’s Power-Up marketplace, and it requires no real technical prowess — the full backup and recovery service is accessible via a browser.
Moreover, Rewind backs up individual items of data and all their dependencies and relationships. This includes each Trello board, as well as all the cards (tasks or ideas), lists (collection of cards), labels, custom fields, checklists, and attachments on that board.
At launch, however, users can only back up their boards and all the associated entities as a whole package. In the near future, users will also be able to choose on a more granular level, so they can just back up specific cards, lists, or attachments, for example.
This all leads us to one lingering question. Why don’t SaaS companies offer such account-level backup services natively? This would surely be a huge selling point, particularly for enterprise clients.
“While backups might seem like basic functionality, the fact is that building and continuously supporting a full-featured, scalable backup and restore solution presents non-trivial technical and usability challenges that tend to lie outside the core capabilities of commonly used SaaS platforms,” Potter hypothesized.
Moreover, it’s good practice to house backups away from the host platform. This isn’t purely for reasons related to natural disasters — how do you access your Trello backup if, for example, you’re locked out of your Trello account?
“A true backup gives you full access to your data at all times,” Potter said. “Best practices for data security and business continuity call for the 3-2-1 backup method — three total copies of your data, two of which are local but on different mediums or devices, and at least one copy off-site.”
This latest launch comes just a few months after Rewind raised its first notable outside funding, securing $15 million in a series A round led by Inovia Capital. In the future, Rewind said that it plans to extend support to other popular SaaS tools such as Jira, GitLab, Xero, Bitbucket, and Zendesk.
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