Reflecting on data backup best practices on the eve of World Backup Day
For many firms, data backup plans are like insurance policies: they figure they’ll never really need them and every dollar invested is done so with regret. But woe to any organization that finds its systems going offline for any length of time and its vital data rendered inaccessible. Consider these sobering statistics: 93% of companies that lost their data center for 10 days or more during a disaster filed for bankruptcy within one year of the disaster (National Archives & Records Administration); and of companies that suffer catastrophic data loss, 43% never reopen and 51% close within two years (University of Texas). With those stats in mind, March 31 marks World Backup Day, the perfect time to reflect on how well organizations are doing at protecting their data. To aid in the process, Information Management asked several IT security experts for their best practices advice.
Good data security begins with good security professionals
“Research by Ponemon in 2017 shows that the average total cost of a data breach reached $3.62 million, with a 27.7% chance of the likelihood of a recurring material data breach over the next two years. With the overload of data being created by devices and apps, that number will soar over the next few years. But what can companies do to secure their digital business? They can proactively address the security challenge, and World Backup day can be the perfect reminder for individuals and businesses to secure the applications that are the lifeblood of their business: back-up, patch-up, and remediate vulnerabilities. To address this challenge, however, we need to encourage security education across all teams responsible for developing and maintaining secure apps. It’s on us—security vendors—to help organizations bridge the divide between the security and development teams so that they’re all working together towards the safety of the business, and the safety of everyone navigating the digital ecosystem through applications.” Craig Hinkley, CEO, WhiteHat Security
The first steps in a data security strategy are testing, testing, testing
“Undoubtedly, data protection is a growing challenge for IT teams, and on World Backup Day, it is important to remember that organizations should not only have a backup strategy, but also test it regularly to determine if data will be easily recoverable and accessible when needed. It is no secret that data loss can have devastating effects on a company’s brand reputation and customer trust, making the ability to recover data quickly after a disaster critical to business survival.” Neil Barton, CTO of WhereScape
A good backup plan includes the whole network, not just data
"We all appreciate the importance of backing up our data, but a backup plan for the network is usually given less thought. The question is not whether your business will lose Internet connectivity, it’s when. In some areas Internet connectivity can experience service disruption up to several times a month, which exposes businesses to risks of lost revenue, reduced productivity and customer experience issues. One possible solution is upgrading to a more robust wired connection, but it’s expensive and still susceptible to outages and service disruption. An alternative option is to bridge the inevitable gap with wireless WAN failover, which is quick and easy to deploy. There are few businesses that can afford to take the risk of network connections failing, so organizations need to place a priority on backing up their network.” Ken Hosac, VP of IoT strategy and business development, Cradlepoint
Data backup should be done early, often, and not too close
“Backing up business critical data is more complex than many people realize which may be why backup and disaster recovery plans fall apart in the hour of need. World Backup Day is an important reminder of this reality, and many fall short with a few common missteps. The closer your backup is to the primary data, the more likely it is to suffer the same fate as your primary data.
Additionally, performing backups as frequently as possible often falls by the wayside of priorities, but this is a very effective way to prevent data loss. Lastly, while emphasis is frequently on the recovery point of when your last backup was taken, recovery time is just as important. The bottom line is that we all need to take some time to review backup plans and find out if you need to be doing more to prevent the next data loss event lurking around the corner.” Jason Collier, co-founder, Scale Computing
Backup systems should be scaleable to keep pace with data growth
“Data has become an integral component of our personal and professional lives, from mission-critical business information to personal photos and videos, with an estimated 1.8 zettabytes of data generated per year. So it’s surprising that only four in ten companies have a fully documented disaster recovery plan in place, and 30 percent of respondents have never backed up their data.
On World Backup Day, we are all reminded of the importance on implementing a disaster recovery and backup strategy that is secure, compliant and scalable to respond to challenging data protection demands. DRaaS solutions also use scalable infrastructure, allowing virtual access of assets with little or no hardware and software expenditures. Data backups are an essential aspect of any disaster recovery plan, because it’s always better to be prepared before a disaster strikes.” Matt VanderZwaag, director of product development, US Signal
Archived storage adds an extra layer of peace-of-mind
“In 2018 backup and data recovery is critical, and it's not enough for it to simply, well, back up. Evolved options like archive storage solutions can help to eliminate data loss as well as provide added layers of security from tampering, corruption and ransomware – business necessities in today’s threat landscape. Archive storage can also help drive cost and performance benefits by allowing for greater long-term retention of data. A fully comprehensive data backup strategy should include business continuity, data protection and enhanced security features on top of fast and efficient storage.” Gary Watson, CTO and founder, Nexsan
Backup systems should be top-of-mind at budget time
“World Backup Day is a good time to remember to not overlook backup and disaster recovery plans as you budget for your primary datacenter,” he said. “All flash is becoming a commoditized market and prices are dropping so there’s no need to overspend in this area. The deals are out there, but organizations will have to work harder than ever to know if they’re truly getting the best deal for the long run on primary storage, which can ultimately free up funds for backup and support solutions.” Bill Miller, CEO, X-IO Storage
Digital transformation makes data backup more challenging, and critical
“For many, World Backup Day probably evokes thoughts of ‘gold copies’ stashed away in a safe place waiting to be retrieved when something goes wrong. However, this simplistic example belies the fact that solutions for these situations are often complex and painful to execute, particularly at the enterprise level as many organizations are undergoing major IT transformations.
The truth is that, planned and unplanned disruptions are only on the rise, sometimes because of the adoption and innovation of the latest technology. The convergence of these factors will require businesses to look outside traditional backup capabilities and develop an IT resilience strategy that’s up to the many challenges of digital transformation.
To deliver an always-on customer experience, especially while undergoing major changes to an infrastructure, businesses need to ensure they have a modern, risk-free platform in place, that utilizes continuous data protection combined with the ability to orchestrate and automate the mobility of applications to the ideal infrastructure. When these capabilities come together, businesses will have an IT resilience strategy to protect their infrastructure and reputation, and also enable innovation and transformation.” Rob Strechay, SVP product, Zerto