World Backup Day is our annual reminder to reassess our Data Backup Strategy
On March 31, we celebrate World Backup Day, not as a holiday but as our annual reminder to reassess our data backup strategy. It’s also another occasion to take note of the continued explosion of data that is being created, stored, copied, and consumed around the world. Take any market research projection but all, such as the one by IDC that predicts data to grow to 175 zettabytes by 2025, point to exponential growth.
While this means little to the man or woman on the street, to organizations, this means a lot. Especially when it comes to figuring out how to store, manage, move, analyze, utilize and above all protect their data.
Since we’re talking about World Backup Day, let me focus on the data backup side of things. Almost everyone is familiar with the benefits of backing up your data, whether on your phone or laptop, but for an organization, that data could be many terabytes or even petabytes so that is a much more complex process, but they need to do it for many reasons, including compliance or regulatory but more than that, for business resiliency. Keeping a good set of data that you can restore quickly can be a matter of survival for a business that has been hit by for example, a ransomware attack.
Preventing Loss, Damage and Attacks
The impact of critical data loss for reasons such as hardware failures, cyberattacks, natural disasters, human errors, and software bugs can be severe. Such instances not only damage reputation, cause revenue losses, and lead to legal and regulatory consequences but also severely disrupt operations.
While data backup is a must-have for every business, choosing a data backup solution must be based on factors such as cost, scalability, ease of use, and security. It is also essential to have a data recovery plan in place in the event of data loss. Data recovery methods include restoring from backups, using data recovery software, and seeking professional data recovery services.
Currently, many companies rely on cheaper legacy storage options such as hard disk but these are more prone to write errors and take a long time to restore particularly if they are cold data that is stored in remote locations without network connectivity. Flash is increasingly becoming a viable option especially as the cost of nand starts to fall and match hard disk prices.
Following Best Practices
Permutations and combinations notwithstanding, companies need to have a clear strategy in place when deciding how they would want to create and secure their data backup. And, in order to be effective, such a strategy must be informed by best practices. Such as:
- Establishing a backup schedule that fits the needs of the organization. Consider factors such as the amount of data, the frequency of changes, and the criticality of the data. Regular backups can help ensure that important data is protected and minimize the impact of sudden data loss.
- Testing backups regularly. This can help ensure that they are functioning correctly, and that data can be restored in the event of a data loss. Regular testing can also confirm that backups are being completed in the desired timeframe and identify other issues with the backup process that need to be addressed.
- Encrypting backup data. Much of the data breaches and losses stem from unauthorized access and poor security. Encryption should be used for both data at rest and data in transit.
- Formulating a disaster recovery plan. A disaster recovery plan outlines the steps that need to be taken in the event of a disaster or data loss. The plan should include information on data backup, recovery procedures, and executive roles and responsibilities.
- Have the means to rapidly restore your data. In the event of a ransomware attack or a natural disaster, being able to restore your backup data quickly and at scale is critical, especially when we are talking huge amounts of data.
- Securing backup locations. Backups should be stored in a secure location – whether offsite, cloud or onsite – that is protected against physical threats such as theft, fire, and natural disasters.
- Training employees on data backup best practices. Such training should include the basics of how to initiate backups, store backup media, and test backups. This can help maintain standard backup performance across the board and build awareness among employees on the importance of secure data backup.
Data backup is a critical aspect of a comprehensive modern data protection strategy for businesses of all sizes. Businesses not only need to have a backup strategy but they need to re-evaluate it from time to time and there’s no better reminder than World Backup Day.
(The author is Pratyush Khare, Vice President, Systems Engineering, Asia Pacific & Japan, Pure Storage, and the views expressed in this article are his own)