Waste no time and backup your systems this World Backup Day

World Backup Day is the annual event reminding us how important it is to back up our data, and a chance for organisations to take a step back and assess their data handling to ensure they are following best practice. It might seem as though backups are commonplace and no longer need to be discussed, but there are still businesses that are yet to embrace their benefits.

Information Age spoke to five industry experts to get their insight on data protection, backups and plans for business continuity.

Cyber threats and the growing remote workforce

Dave Demlow, VP product management at Scale Computing, says how now more than ever is it important for organisations to have systems and processes in place to prepare for the unpredictable. “Backup and disaster recovery plans are crucial in today’s data-driven society. Faced with ever-increasing volumes of data, along with the growing threat of ransomware, and a rapidly increasing remote workforce, IT professionals are under tremendous pressure to protect everything while ensuring production systems aren’t impacted.”

Demlow adds that as the number of cyberthreats are increasing and remote workforces are becoming more commonplace, “it’s important to secure and protect IT infrastructure with a disaster recovery plan. Implementing a recovery plan allows users to proactively prevent or recover quickly from disasters, ensuring data is safe and mission-critical business applications are available.”

He continues, “World Backup Day serves as an important reminder to raise awareness on the cruciality of data protection, backup and business continuity plans. Data loss prevention can be achieved through performing frequent backups and should be considered a high priority to individuals and businesses alike.”

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How much data are you prepared to lose?

Eltjo Hofstee, managing director at Leaseweb UK, discusses how backing up data is pivotal to disaster recovery success: “93% of companies that lost their data centre for 10 days or more due to a disaster filed for bankruptcy within one year of the disaster.” World Backup Day should serve as a good reminder for businesses to really think about this number, and consider the following questions: “How much time am I prepared to have mission-critical functions unavailable? How much data am I prepared to lose? How much money will it cost while these services are not available? It is time for a business to address its backup strategy. The most valuable assets should be prioritised and organisations need to be demanding about the quality, scalability and reliability of backup solutions.”

In agreement, Steve Nice, chief security technologist at Node4, says: “No matter what size or sector a company operates in, backup and disaster recovery solutions provide continuity to organisations and should be seen as essential components of any business’ IT plans.

Nice also suggests that working with a trusted service provider that supports data storage and backup can reduce the burden on IT teams – internally there will always be other challenges to face, so having support for backups is valuable. “By working with a backup as a service (BaaS) provider businesses can have peace of mind that whatever is backing up and wherever the data is stored, it is being efficiently managed and is available on request should the worst happen and a backup be required.”

Understand data, reduce costs

Understanding your data is the next step in reducing your costs, says Steve Young, principal EMEA SE at Commvault, and can also help in your compliance of privacy regulations. “It is always a challenge to balance operational obligations for recovery with regulatory compliance, and at the same time maintain an efficient backup environment. If the data required for regulatory compliance is captured and appropriately stored, then the remaining data only needs to be protected to meet recovery requirements.

“Looking at the basic information of your data, such as when was it last accessed, who has access to it, and what private information it may contain, etc, allows you to make informed decisions. Taking actions based on this information such as performing defensible deletions, quarantining, or simply moving data to a cheaper tier of storage not only reduces the cost of the environment, but also assists in your recovery times should a disaster occur as your resources are not focussed on legacy data.

“Operational costs are also an area where efficiencies can be found through integration and leveraging automation. Allowing the backup solution to provide self-service, or integrating the solution with the ITCM to allow for onboarding and offboarding without any manual intervention ensures resources are focussed on more important tasks, and improves SLA’s.”

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Ahead of the day, leading provider of cloud-enabled security and data protection solutions — Barracuda Networks, has put together some tips on how to avoid a backup blunder. Read here

From tape to cloud

Gijsbert Janssen van Doorn, technology evangelist at Zerto, discusses the evolution of data storage and backup. The reason behind World Backup day was to remind all businesses and their IT teams of the importance of keeping backups of all data. “But, while the day has only grown in significance over the years, backup technology has barely begun to evolve. From tape, to hard drive and now cloud the target and management has changed, yet it is still fundamentally based on periodic snapshots of information.

It’s vital that data stays front of mind for businesses and that they are prepared in times of crisis, says Gijsbert: “In our ‘always-on’ business landscape can an organisation still be truly protected with an antiquated backup strategy? The short answer is – it can’t. Data should be protected continuously, ensuring that every change, update and added piece of data is always available. If your organisation doesn’t have a solid strategy and supporting tactical plan in place, now is the time to implement one.”

Many business leaders may simply glance over advice on World Backup Day, but it is crucial that it is taken into account. Those that already have backups in place can always look to make them more secure and more comprehensive; those that are yet to set up their backups should avoid the risk and prioritise finding a solution, before a disaster – natural or cyber – strikes.

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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...