Data can be lost by accident or malice – no matter how strong your cyber security protection is, accidents happen and vulnerabilities can appear. Losing business-critical or customer data could have profound consequences and ruin an organisation’s reputation permanently. However, such disasters can easily be avoided by having backup and disaster recovery solutions in place. A quick recovery means you’ll get back to regular business without any serious financial implications and without impacting customer service.
World Backup Day is an annual event that reminds us of the importance of regular backups to ensure data can be restored and business operations can continue with limited downtime. To coincide with the day, Cyber Protection Magazine spoke to eight industry experts about the importance of backing up data and to gain some top tips on how to ensure that your backup is effective and can protect your data.
The importance of backup
Whilst 87% of businesses do backup their data, World Backup Day was established to urge the other 13% to take the pledge and serves as a reminder to ensure that these backups are regularly updated. As Simon Spring, Senior Account Director EMEA at WhereScape, emphasises: “World Backup Day serves as a reminder for enterprises and individuals to continue to remain proactive when it comes to managing their data. Not only should organisations have a backup strategy, it is also extremely important for IT teams to test it regularly. The first time a business tests its backup tactics should not be during an emergency. Data needs to be easily recoverable and accessible when needed, as a data loss can have devastating effects on a company’s reputation.”
“On World Backup Day, we need to actively review our data backup procedures and consider how to make the mission-critical data generated by our employees, contractors and business partners even safer,” continues Neil Jones, Director of CyberSecurity Evangelism at Egnyte. “Unfortunately, many organisational stakeholders are unaware of how to properly protect their companies’ valuable data, so it’s up to the company to educate them on best practices.”
Backups can be required due to a range of unpredictable and even unavoidable disasters.“From human error, to cyber attacks, or even extreme weather, there are many circumstances that can place an organisation’s operations and data at risk,” explains Terry Storrar, Managing Director at Leaseweb UK. “Even with the most robust infrastructure and cybersecurity measures in place, businesses can never guarantee that unforeseen disaster won’t strike. So, to maintain business continuity and prevent downtime, an integrated approach to backup and disaster recovery is a necessity.”
Stuart Abbott, Area Vice President & General Manager of UK & Ireland at Commvault agrees that:
“Historically, businesses were encouraged to protect their data from human error or natural disasters, but in the modern world a much greater risk to data is the danger posed by cybercriminals. Everyone says, ‘it’s a matter of when, not if, a cyberattack will hit your business’, and it’s true.”
He continues: “The most vital aspect of data protection is how quickly any lost data can be recovered, and this is why World Backup Day holds such importance. Businesses must assume that their data is under constant threat – because it is, not only from the more traditional threats, but from the latest, most sophisticated cyberattacks too. Today serves as an annual reminder to get your backups in order, so that when the worst does happen, your data can be recovered quickly without seriously impacting business operations.”
Top tips for a tip-top backup
It is all well and good knowing the importance of backing up your data, but how do you achieve this effectively and successfully? Our industry experts shed some light on this conundrum.
Tom Huntington, Executive VP of Technical Solutions at HelpSystems shares his “power of three when it comes to backups:
– Consistent daily backups (choose your media!)
– Offsite storage (cloud, VTL, cartridge (tape))
– Test the restore. If you don’t test, do you really have a backup?
“If you follow these three practices, you will at least be able to bring your business back to a point in time that won’t put you out of business, and you will also understand the time it will take to recover because you have tested this.”
A rookie mistake is to assume that your SaaS software automatically offers these services – not all of them do and you may be caught out. Don’t wait until you’ve lost your data to find out that your vendor cannot recover it.
As Myles Currie, Product Manager – End User Compute at Six Degrees explains,“SaaS providers take backups to ensure the integrity of their services, but they will not take responsibility for data loss that results from accidental deletion, malware or operational errors. This year’s World Backup Day is an opportunity for organisations to consider how they protect data stored in public cloud environments. I recommend partnering with a trusted data protection provider to hand control of your mission-critical data back to your organisation.”
“Don’t assume cloud-based accounting and financial software automatically offers built-in backup and recovery services,” agrees Hugh Scantlebury, CEO and Founder of Aqilla, in regards to the financial sector. “Why not use this World Backup Day as the excuse you need to check if they’re included — and see where you need to take action. We’d recommend opting for continuous backup wherever possible so that, should the worst happen, there’s less chance of data being permanently lost. We’d also suggest picking an automated solution so that you’ve one less thing to worry about each day.”
“Organisations need to ensure they are keeping a current inventory of its data and where it is stored, critically prioritising the data and adjusting the backup strategy to align to the 3-2-1 model,” adds Steve Cochran, Chief Technology Officer, ConnectWise. “This means having three copies, on two devices/media, and one off-line for the backup. Having a backup service storage that is disconnected from the network or system and securely placed in a different, yet accessible location, is hugely important in case all online locations are impacted. As is testing the backups to ensure that, if needed, data can be retrieved, and systems up and running instantly.”
He concludes: “This World Backup Day, organisations need to be prepared to tackle challenges head-on and minimise any impact to the end customers. While backup is not a silver bullet to costly cyberattacks and downtime, it is a critical component to good cyber hygiene and all-around best business practice. It’s important to take backup seriously before it’s too late.”