Did you know that March 31st was World Backup Day? No… that’s okay. Better late than never. The annual event is designed to remind people to “back up their data before they lose it, by accident or malice.” There’s nothing more traumatizing than losing your phone or having your hard drive crash only to find that valuable documents or cherished photos have been erased from the planet forever.
According to excerpts from an article by Forbes, they wrote, “Backing up your data can help prevent loss in the event that [devices are] damaged or stolen. It may also help you recover your data if your computer is a victim of malware, such as ransomware. Jeff Costlow from ExtraHop says that “Ransomware attacks have become increasingly common. In fact, their recent survey revealed that 85% of organizations have fallen prey to ransomware in the past five years.”
WHAT IS A BACKUP?
A backup is a copy of all your important files — for example, your family photos, home videos, documents, and emails. Instead of storing it all in one place (like your computer or smartphone), you keep [at least one] copy of everything somewhere safe.
BUT WHY SHOULD I BACKUP?
Losing your files is way more common than you’d think. Did you know that: 21 % of people have never made a backup, 113 phones are lost or stolen every minute, 29% of data loss cases are caused by accident, and 30% of all computers are already infected with malware? One small accident or failure could destroy all the important stuff you care about.”
Imagine if you came in tomorrow, turned on your computer and there was nothing there. All your work efforts, contracts, legal documents, contacts, pictures – wedding and family photos – gone. With no way to get any of it back. It’s sickening to think about, especially because it’s a real possibility.
The article by Forbes went on to say, “Backing up your data can be done using an external storage device or an online backup service. In addition to backing up data, it is important to know how fast you can restore your data, particularly if you are running a large organization.”
According to excerpts from this article, “Planning for the worst can help your business achieve its best, even during difficult times. With risk management and disaster recovery planning swiftly becoming essential elements of a successful management strategy, companies are realizing the importance of data backup as a significant component of business continuity and disaster recovery planning.
The intent of business continuity planning is to have a recovery plan in place, practiced, and adhered to in order to maintain company health and preserve the company mission after a devastating event. A comprehensive solution should have all your bases covered; including the ability to retrieve important data and reprise vital staff roles as quickly and seamlessly as possible. If your business continuity plan is successful, it will minimize loss and create the best environment for rebuilding.”
What are the top 10 reasons data backup is so important?
According to excerpts from an article by Conosco, they wrote, “Backing up data is the process of creating a copy of your data or systems and storing it elsewhere (preferably at an offsite location) so it may be used to restore the data in case it is lost or corrupted. Human error is inevitable, but if a file is accidentally deleted, it’s comforting to know that it can be recovered from a backup. Depending on the type of recovery plan, entire computer systems can be restored effortlessly.
The top 10 reasons why data backup is so important
*** Quotes 1 – 9 in the bullet points below are from the Forbes article mentioned in paragraph 2
1. Prevent data loss
Perhaps the single most important reason for backing-up data is to prevent it from getting lost. Errors and system failures are not uncommon, in fact, 68% have reported losing data due to accidental deletion or hardware/software failure. Having a backup ensures you always have a plan B.
“Backup is a critical first step to data protection, but organizations must think strategically and strive for holistic cyber resilience; realizing that backup is just one component of a much larger equation. Achieving true cyber resilience means developing a comprehensive strategy to safeguard digital assets, including integrated defensive and recovery measures that give organizations the very best chance of weathering the storm of a cyber-attack.” – Brian Spanswick, CISO of Cohesity
2. Competitive advantage
Should a disaster occur, your business will need to get systems online and operations running again as quickly as possible. Many businesses fail to back up their data allowing better-prepared competitors to take advantage of their misfortune and essentially win new business that may have been heading their way. Especially for larger organizations, with lots of valuable data, data protection measures beyond simple backup and recovery are essential.
“In today’s digital era, it’s absolutely critical that organizations not only invest in a solid backup approach for their data, but also implement a multitier data protection architecture to build both resilience and durability for a meaningful recovery strategy.” – Andy Stone, CTO of Pure Storage for the Americas
3. Reduce downtime
Any IT downtime can have a negative impact on a business. If something goes wrong you will need to remediate it as quickly as possible, that’s why data backup is so important. According to a report by Acronis, 42% of companies have experienced a data loss resulting in downtime. By having a data backup you reduce the amount of time wasted trying to find missing data, keeping downtime to a minimum.
“Data is growing at a rapid, exponential pace, so much so that some businesses can’t afford to protect everything. To reduce a negative impact on revenue and reputation, organizations must make informed decisions about which data systems are essential for running backups. Understanding your data set and then intelligently planning for when things go wrong allows organizations to recover prioritized data faster and optimize how and where money is being spent.” – Adrian Moir, Principal Engineer at Quest Software
4. Essential to your disaster recovery plan
The growth of remote work over the last two years of the pandemic has created more opportunities for data loss and increased malware targets. An effective disaster recovery plan will provide your business with a set of policies, tools, and procedures to follow to protect your organization and ensure business continuity. Data backup is an important component of your disaster recovery enabling your business to get back to critical operations and avoid disruption.
“The shift to remote working completely transformed the way organizations protect and store their data. Today, there is a greater focus on protecting data no matter where it lives — on-prem, on the laptops of remote employees, in clouds, and in SaaS applications… Cybercriminals have taken advantage of the remote and hybrid work environments to conduct increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks, and the data recovery process post-incident has become more complex due to new cyber insurance requirements.” – Joe Noonan, Product Executive from Unitrends
Data backups form part of a business’s history enabling them to develop archives over time. Depending on the type of business, you may be required to keep records for many years. This is usually the case in the finance, legal, government, and healthcare sectors.
“In 2022, investment in Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS) will be a major theme for businesses of all sizes to ensure long-term business success and survival —no matter the disruption.” – Pat Doherty, Chief Revenue Officer for Flexential
6. Quick recovery
People make mistakes, and fairly often too, although seldomly deliberate. Emails containing viruses are opened or malicious links are clicked. There are many ways to infect a network, but with up-to-date backups, your business can rest assured that all is not lost. A simple restore from a snapshot taken before the virus happened can revert a major incident.
“If you’re not regularly testing and validating the integrity of the back-ups, you’re living dangerously.” – Ian McShane, VP of Strategy at Artic Wolf
7. Avoid extra work
Silly errors or oversights can cost a business dearly, with 41% of organizations losing productivity and money due to data inaccessibility. If you have backups you can swiftly recover information. If you don’t it may mean duplicating your workload, retyping entire documents, and often missing things that were once included.
“One underutilized way to protect and backup your data against cyber threats and ransomware is through object-level immutability in your cloud storage, which means certain files and stored objects cannot be modified or deleted by anyone, even a systems administrator.” – David Friend, CEO of Wasabi
Data backup is important to governing bodies. Tax authorities and regulators often carry out audits for various reasons. By having a data backup you can guarantee that any financial, accounting, or other regulatory information will be available.
“With ransomware proliferating…it’s also vital for organizations to upgrade their IT toolbox with ransomware-resilient solutions that offer such protection as immutable snapshots, data encryption, multifactor authentication, and multi-site replication.” – Betsy Doughty, VP of Corporate Marketing at Spectra Logic
9. Annual Reporting
Smart business decisions are made off the back of data-driven insights. By storing backups of information you have a point of reference to draw comparisons and produce reports.
“A proactive approach with more intelligent tools that provide data resilience, data observability, and data recovery are required to truly secure an organization’s data from cyber criminals.” – Anneka Gupta, Chief Product Officer at Rubrik
10. Peace of Mind
The final reason why data backup is important is simple – peace of mind. No more sleepless nights worrying about what would happen if all that precious data got lost.
“The main thing that makes data backup important is disaster recovery (and business continuity). From a deleted business file to a company-wide ransomware infection that encrypts all files, having a data backup solution in place and managed allows for the faster recovery of information and assets. It enables you to restore deleted files and rebuild critical servers in a fraction of the time it would take to start from scratch.” – Hylton Stewart, Head of Security at Conosco
What are the consequences of not having your data backed up?
No matter the type of business or the size, data loss can have potentially devastating effects. From reputational damage to downtime and lack of productivity, data privacy and compliance issues to loss of customer trust and loyalty – not having a backup could have long-lasting effects on business operations and integrity.
There are several factors that drastically increase the chance of data becoming compromised, stolen, deleted, or lost including:
- Cyber attacks such as Ransomware and Phishing
- Human negligence
- Human error
- Failure to backup systems regularly
- Disgruntled employees
- Natural disasters
- Hardware failure
- Software corruption
What challenges do businesses face when backing up information?
1) Have you got a reliable data backup storage system?
Is the type of storage/media you use for data backup reliable? How sure are you that the data is not corrupt? Older backup systems such as tape drives are extremely vulnerable if exposed to fingerprints, or if they get too close to magnetized areas, leading to data becoming unusable. The unfortunate result is that you will not know the data is useless until you need to restore it.
2) Where should you store data backups?
Another challenge is where to store the backups. It’s one thing to have the data offsite, it’s another thing to have a disaster recovery plan that will get you up and running in the quickest possible time. Having a copy close by aids in a quick recovery, but having an offsite copy can be invaluable in the event of a disaster. Many businesses turn to cloud-based storage systems as opposed to physical locations as it guarantees accessibility from anywhere.
3) Have you got enough capacity to store your backups?
Another challenge is data retention. How long can the backups be kept with the chosen solution? Not all companies have embraced the cloud, and the majority of businesses who use older, on-premise technologies face the problem of storage capacity, therefore it’s important to rotate the backup data often.
What are the most popular ways of backing up information?
- USB Thumb Drives
- External Hard Drives
- Network Attached Storage (NAS)
- Time Machine (Apple Mac)
- Cloud storage (Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive)
How can you ensure you’ve backed up everything you need?
1) Perform a data audit
To successfully back up all of your information you must begin by gaining an understanding of what you have and what is critical to your business. By performing an audit you can map out your IT infrastructure and your data estate. Your audit will need to cover:
- How does data enter your business and how regularly?
- What type of data do you hold? e.g. transactional data, structured data, operational data
- How much data do you have?
- What needs does your data serve?
- Where is data currently being stored?
- What departments have access to it?
- How much would it cost to replace it?
2) Prioritise the data you want to back up
Once you have an understanding of all the information you hold, you can then identify which data/files/systems need to be backed up as a priority. These usually include things like your user accounts which include your documents, pictures, downloads, and desktop folders.
Alternatively, many businesses will choose to backup entire systems ensuring they have a failsafe option.
3) Backup your data daily
By understanding your data and identifying the most important parts you then need to ensure that the data is backed up regularly. Although 91 % of businesses back up their IT components, only 46% backup daily, 28% weekly, and 20% monthly. If you don’t back up regularly it leaves gaps in the data available for recovery. Therefore you must train your staff on why data backup is important.
Data backups are invaluable to your business. They are your plan B should the worst happen and a safety net for human error. Having data backups will save you time and money, give you a competitive edge and guarantee business continuity. Here are the key takeaways, and the reasons why data backup is important:
- Prevent data loss
- Competitive advantage
- Reduce downtime
- Essential to your disaster recovery plan
- Quick recovery
- Avoid extra work
- Annual reporting
- Peace of Mind
Data Backup – RPO and RTO
In excerpts from an article by Acronis, they wrote, “An important decision is how often you need to back up and define a backup schedule. Your colleagues are constantly changing data, and in the event of a disaster, all the data created from the latest backup to the moment of failure will be lost. This period is called the Recovery Point Objective (RPO) — the maximum period that you are willing to lose data on your systems because of an event.
A shorter RPO means losing less data, but it requires more backups, more storage capacity, and more computing and network resources for backup to run. A longer RPO is more affordable, but it means losing more data.
Many small and medium-sized companies usually define an RPO of 24 hours, which means you need to back up daily. With modern backup solutions, you can implement RPOs as short as a few minutes. You can also have tiered RPOs — shorter RPOs for critical systems, and longer RPOs for secondary systems.
Another important variable is the recovery time objective (RTO) — how fast you can recover from the moment of a disaster to the moment you return to normal operations. When systems are down, your company loses money and you need to recover fast to minimize losses. However, as with RPO, a shorter RTO requires faster storage, networks, and technologies – so it is more expensive. For many companies, an RTO of a few hours is the norm.
Involve your business stakeholders in discussions on system RPOs and RTOs. Once these are defined, you can decide on your solutions and storage.
Data Backup Solutions
There are multiple types of backup solutions and tools available on the market that deliver different RPOs, and RTOs, and handle different scopes. Here are the most popular ones.
These appliances often include storage, which comes as a 19” rack-mounted device that you install and connect to your network. The appliances are easy to install and configure. In most cases, you do not need to provision a separate server, operating system, or install any software. The agents installed on your systems perform the backups, and you access the solution via a graphical interface provided with the appliance.
However, remember that if you have a hardware appliance and it fails, you lose your entire data backup solution. Even if you backed up to a secondary location, you need to re-provision the backup solution before you can recover, which increases your recovery times.
Numerous vendors offer backup-as-a-service (BaaS) – a cloud-based offering that allows you to provision and run your backups from the vendor’s or service provider’s cloud infrastructure by installing lightweight agents on your machines. The BaaS is even simpler than software because there are no systems to provision and no operating systems to configure.
Of course, if your organization deals with sensitive data or is subject to regulatory requirements, you will need to check if cloud backup with a BaaS solution is acceptable.
Hybrid Data Backup Solutions
The latest innovation in the backup world is an all-in-one hybrid backup solution, which gives you the freedom to install the software or use it as a cloud service at will. These solutions combine the best of both worlds, making them the best choice for many organizations.
Your company’s survival depends on the survival of your company data. To implement a reliable data backup strategy, define your business objectives — the backup scope, RPOs, and RTOs; implement proper solutions; provision the storage or combination of multiple storages; and execute and monitor the backups. Only then can you be sure that your company can continue to safely operate, even when unforeseen events occur.”
In a PHENOMENAL article by TomsGuide, they wrote, “With hacking and malware attacks increasingly targeting businesses of all sizes, it’s critical to establish a data backup and recovery plan, as data security goes a long way towards keeping systems safe. However, a single mistake should never mean that years of digital work should be lost forever.
With most businesses now backing up with the best cloud storage, data backup and recovery will revolve around cloud storage. However, there’s more to that than just finding the best cloud storage for business. Below, we outline five tips that can help you to ensure your data is protected, and available when you need to access it.
5 top data backup and recovery tips for businesses
1. Redundant backups are key
Although having a single, complete backup of your business’s files and computing network is better than nothing, it’s still not all that secure. Both you and your cloud storage provider could be affected by the same piece of malware. Or a regional disaster like an earthquake could destroy digital infrastructure both at your offices and at your cloud data center.
So, it’s essential that your backup and recovery strategy includes multiple backups. Ideally, your data should be mirrored at multiple data centers that are thousands of miles apart. Even better, store your data with two different cloud vendors so that your files live on multiple, disconnected networks.
2. Take advantage of automated scheduling
If you have to remember to back up your files to the cloud, there’s a chance that sooner or later you’re going to forget to do it. If that happens, your business could potentially lose days’ or even weeks’ worth of critical data in the event of a breach.
Thankfully, you can rely on automation. Most business cloud storage providers offer software that helps you designate files for backup and recovery and then keeps them synced to the cloud. Look for the option to run incremental backups, which can help reduce the amount of bandwidth your backup regime requires.
Occasionally, you’ll also want to run large backups that include your network applications and company databases. Try scheduling these to upload overnight so they don’t suck up network resources during the workday.
3. Encryption is critical
Most businesses need to back up at least some sensitive data, such as customer information, billing details, or employee records. Even if your data isn’t necessarily sensitive, you don’t want all of your company’s files to leak out in the event that your network or cloud provider are hacked.
That’s why encryption is so important when it comes to backing up data to the cloud. Your cloud provider should offer end-to-end encryption so that data is encrypted before it ever leaves your computer. Even if a hacker is able to steal files from your backup, the files cannot be decrypted without your company’s key.
4. Keep an eye on regulations
Your business’s obligation to follow privacy laws like the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) doesn’t end when you send your data to the cloud.
In fact, it’s up to you to make sure that your data will be stored in compliance with all applicable regulations. Be sure to ask your cloud storage provider about what steps they take to achieve compliance.
Another thing to consider is whether your data will be stored in the same country as your business. Storing data internationally can sometimes cause regulatory headaches, especially if you’re backing up sensitive customer data. In addition, some countries have stronger data privacy laws than others. Always know where your data will be stored and how it could affect your data privacy.
5. Recovery time matters
When your business network goes down, every second of the recovery process matters. For most companies, a day without data means a day without revenue. Downloading terabytes of application data, databases, and files from the cloud can take weeks. But many cloud providers will put a complete copy of your business backup on a hard drive and mail it to your business overnight. This type of courier service can enable your business to get back up in running within a day or two.
Data backup and recovery: Summary
Backing up your data to the cloud is an essential part of protecting your business against hacks and system failures. But signing up for a storage platform isn’t on its own a reliable backup and recovery solution. You need to establish a robust plan that considers elements like data security, redundancy, and recovery time. With all those pieces in place, you can feel assured that your business is ready to bounce back from any data loss event”
Adaptive’s Pro Tip: Never store all of your data on a single device. We suggest you use cloud storage exclusively. External drives can be lost, stolen, or damaged. Also, store the information in multiple locations: Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive are great options, as they backup in real-time.
At Adaptive Office Solutions, cybersecurity is our specialty. We keep cybercrimes at bay by using analysis, forensics, and reverse engineering to prevent malware attempts and patch vulnerability issues. By making an investment in multilayered cybersecurity, you can leverage our expertise to boost your defenses, mitigate risks, and protect your data with next-gen IT security solutions.
When you know your technology is being looked after, you can forget about struggling with IT issues and concentrate on running your business. By making an upfront investment in your cybersecurity, you can lower your costs through systems that are running at their prime; creating greater efficiency and preventing data loss and costly downtime.
To schedule your Cyber Security Risk Review, call the Adaptive Office Solution service hotline at 506-624-9480 or email us at email@example.com