‘Back it up’ should be a business battle cry

A few months ago everyone was in a frenzy celebrating World Backup Day. There were comments and articles whirling around reminding IT professionals about the importance of backing up critical data. But, in fact, it is clear that every day should be backup day – it’s vital to the health of any business. This is more clear today than ever before, following the GoldenEye ransomware attack that devastated organisations across the world yesterday.

Data makes today’s world go round. A successful business knows this and will make it a priority to constantly analyse and extract the most value from its data to provide customers with the best possible product or service while staying ahead of the curve.

>See also: Ransomware attacks will continue to rise

But, data is only valuable if it is easily accessible, reliably stored and above all, secure. So, here are some helpful tips to ensure your data is useful, and available, for all business needs.

Backing up to the cloud

Many organisations are utilising the cloud to store mission critical data, assuming it is protected as part of the service. But, having data in the cloud doesn’t necessarily mean that it is protected.

The fine print in cloud contracts should often read “your data, your responsibility”. This has never been more apparent than after recent AWS and Azure outages that caused organisations worldwide to be without access to data for prolonged periods. These cloud outages starkly highlighted the fact that many organisations simply didn’t have a data backup and disaster recovery plan in place.

>See also: How to approach cloud computing and cyber security in 2017

Businesses are not turning just to the cloud to store data – cloud file-sharing solutions, such as Dropbox, have seen high rates of adoption because of ease of use. While these solutions offer access anytime, anywhere, they are still dependent on public cloud instances and often offer even less backup assurance.

Backing up big data

Big data initiatives leverage new approaches and technologies to store, index and analyse huge data sets, while minimising storage requirements and driving faster outcomes.

Nevertheless, due to complexity, performance and cost issues, companies often forgo applying data protection and disaster recovery routines to these large data sets. This decision can often be driven by the fact that these data sets sit outside their traditional systems and infrastructures, but that should be an even more convincing reason to implement extra precaution. It’s essential to backup big data sets, or risk big data loss.

Backing up to defend

Although backing up critical data is key, it is only a small piece of protecting data. With cybercrime, and ransomware in particular, on the rise, embracing a multi-layer security strategy is a must.

>See also: Avoiding an outage disaster: continuous availability

Specifically, regularly scheduled, automated backups of all data and a robust disaster recovery plan needs to be in place to avoid business disruption, should the worst occur.

Organisations need to ensure that data protection processes are implemented not just for primary data, but also for secondary and tertiary data. Endpoints such as laptops are particularly vulnerable to cyber threats, therefore endpoint data protection should be front and centre in any security plan. By protecting data properly, organisations can mitigate the risk of potentially the greatest risk faced by today’s enterprises.

Backing up to comply

Additionally, companies need to bear in mind that they need to be working towards the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which comes into effect in May 2018.

Part of the regulation that businesses need to employ is a ‘breach notification procedure’. In order to meet this requirement, businesses must know exactly where their data is – and where it should be – at any given time.

>See also: The cyber security challenge for retail branch IT

This doesn’t just apply to primary copies of data; it also extends to backups. So not only is backing up data crucial to ensuring business continuity, it must also become part of the strategic compliance strategy. Businesses that find themselves unable to comply will find themselves in quite a data management crisis – not to mention facing potentially crippling fines.

It would be very foolish not to place data management at the heart of business – regardless of size. With the abundance of data that businesses produce and store, organisations need to ensure that any data stored or created, including in the cloud, has the appropriate backup in place. It’s a company’s best insurance policy against data loss.


Sourced by Rob Van Lubek, area vice president of Northwest Europe at CommVault


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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...