Source code protection – do we need GitHub and Bitbucket backup?

Source code protection – do we need GitHub and Bitbucket backup?

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Today, the software is the driving force of the world, and developers are game-changers. With nearly 40 million people in the world that are involved in writing code or programs, the real revolution is happening in front of our eyes. And with thousands of startups coming up worldwide, the demand for software developers and their source code is soaring.

Thus, developers, startups, and software companies are responsible for generating most of the data processed daily. And just to mention the scale – the data nowadays is compared to Oil in the 18th Century driving the digital economy more than ever. The number of generated data is growing at an exponential rate. In 1992 it was 100 GB generated daily, in 97’ – 100 GB per hour and today it reaches the number of 50 000 GB per… second.

How much is it worth the Oil of the 21st Century?

Source code, as an Intellectual Property is one of the most valuable business assets. When it comes to software development companies and startups – is a key factor of a company valuation. There is no wonder that businesses put more and more effort and expenses into cybersecurity and data protection. However, there is one area software development companies cannot underestimate. Protecting the source code itself.

Let’s get back to numbers for a while. Software developers use version control systems like git and hosting platforms like GitHub, Bitbucket, and GitLab as a daily routine. That’s the place where code is created, stored and where the development teams spend thousands of hours (and money) to write, support, and improve projects.

GitHub states to have over 56 million developers registered and 60 million repositories created last year. Even 72% of Fortune 50 companies belong to its community. It makes it the largest source code globally. GitLab estimates its users for more than 30 million while Atlassian’s Bitbucket reached 10 million professional teams users in 2019.

But even if hosted within such reliable companies like GitHub, GitLab, or Atlassian, the source code might get lost or unavailable.

Ups, something went wrong…

Outages are one of the reasons. No service provider can ensure customers with 100% availability. For example in June 2020, there was a major outage of the GitHub service that lasted for hours and impacted millions of developers. In 2017 happened the biggest outages of GitLab service. The incident made it unavailable for many hours. They also lost some production data that they were eventually unable to recover. And it’s just the tip of an iceberg…

Ransomware does not bypass Git users. In 2019 tech media reported that attackers were targeting GitHub, GitLab, and Bitbucket users, wiping code and commits from multiple repositories and leaving behind only a ransom note. It is worth mentioning that this year ransomware hits every 11 seconds and it is projected that by the end of 2021 it will generate global losses of… 20 billion dollars.

And just to mention human error which is the biggest risk for most organizations. Mistakes at work happen everywhere. Head overwrite, branch deletion, old repository deletion, losing or not having a local copy – that’s some of the developers’ mistakes that can put source code in danger or even wipe it out irreversibly.

Shared responsibility

As most SaaS providers, also GitHub, GitLab, and Atlassian rely on shared responsibility models that define which security duties are handled by the service provider and which belong to the organization as a user. In short: version control systems providers are responsible for maintaining the infrastructure and making sure data is available and accessible while companies as users are responsible for protecting their GitHub, GitLab, or Bitbucket data in general – safe processing, protecting, restoring.

While there is a lot of management, monitoring, code quality, and security apps available in both the Atlassian and GitHub marketplace, there is a big niche when it comes to backup software.

How do companies handle source code data protection today?

Generally: they don’t handle it at all. And if so, there are usually DIY methods based on git-clone command and self-written scripts. Some businesses rely on snapshots of their local git instances. But those approaches have their limitations – high-long term costs of script administration, no backup verification, no automation, and no restore guarantee which makes backup useless.

The source code backup market is still crawling – the first backup solutions start to appear as a result of internal development teams’ needs. However, there are also some established and experienced backup vendors, like Xopero Software that discovered and decided to develop this niche with GitProtect.io, making it the most professional backup software for GitHub and Bitbucket environments. This solution is based on a company flagship backup product that now brings its all professional, enterprise-class features to GitHub and Bitbucket users.

Considering Intellectual Property value and GitHub and Atlassian’s emphasis on adequate data protection, we might foresee that GitHub and Atlassian backup, in the footsteps of Microsoft and Google Workspace, will become another, key data protection field.

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