A Cloud Nightmare: UniSuper Loses Data (and Backups!)

We all know the benefits of cloud storage: scalability, accessibility, and (supposedly) bulletproof security. But a recent incident involving a major Australian pension fund, UniSuper, throws a wrench into that perception of cloud invincibility.

UniSuper Loses Data and Backups

UniSuper, managing a staggering $135 billion for over 650,000 members, had its entire Google Cloud account deleted. This wasn’t a malicious attack, but a human error compounded by a software bug. The result? A two-week nightmare for UniSuper as they scrambled to recover their data.

The scary part? Even their backups were wiped out. While the specifics remain unclear, it seems the “built-in redundancy” of the cloud platform wasn’t enough. Thankfully, UniSuper had the foresight to maintain an off-site copy of their data, which ultimately saved the day.

Here’s a summary of the situation:

  • Cause: Google Cloud unintentionally deleted UniSuper’s private cloud subscription due to a configuration error combined with a software bug.
  • Impact: UniSuper members (over half a million people) couldn’t access their accounts for a week. This outage affected roughly 1,900 virtual machines, databases, and applications used by UniSuper.
  • Data Loss: Although there are reports of data loss, it wasn’t due to a security breach. UniSuper reportedly had backups in place, which minimized the data loss. However, the specifics of data loss haven’t been made public.

It’s important to note that while UniSuper had data duplicated across two Google Cloud regions for redundancy, the configuration error caused deletion in both locations. This highlights the importance of having a disaster recovery plan that includes geographically separate backups, not just regional ones within a cloud platform.

The Moral of the Story: Back Up, Back Up, Back Up!

This incident is a stark reminder that cloud storage is not an excuse to abandon traditional backups. Data loss can happen due to human error, software bugs, or even service outages. Here’s why a robust backup solution is crucial:

  • Cloud Outages Happen: While uncommon, cloud platforms can experience outages. Having an off-site copy ensures you can still access your data during these times.
  • Accidental Deletions: As the UniSuper case shows, even the most sophisticated systems can have glitches. Don’t let a simple mistake cost you your data.
  • Security Threats: Even the most secure cloud platforms are vulnerable to cyberattacks. Backups provide an extra layer of protection against data breaches.

Taking Control of Your Data Security

Storware Backup and Recovery lets you protect your business data, whether it resides in virtual environments, the cloud, containers, and more! Makes it easy to store multiple backups, follow the 3-2-1 backup policy, and keep your data/backups safe from cyber threats. A few highlights:

  • Storware offers support for the largest portfolio of backup sources, including Google Cloud.
  • You can easily set up regular automatic backups to make sure your data is always protected (you can also automatically test data restores).
  • You can store your backups off-site by choosing from a variety of storage options, including local storage devices, external hard drives, tapes, or even another cloud service.
  • Storware makes data recovery a breeze and lets you get back to work quickly in the event of a disaster.

Don’t wait for disaster to strike!

Implement a comprehensive data protection strategy that includes both cloud storage and off-site backups. By taking control of your data security, you can ensure your business remains operational even in the face of unexpected challenges.

text written by:

Angelika Jeżewska, CMO at Storware