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World Backup Day 2020: Time for businesses to revamp their outdated backup strategy

To celebrate World Backup Day 2020, which took place on March 31, Data Centre Review reached out to Diana Salazar, product marketing manager, Enterprise Backup & Archive at Quantum, to discuss the steps businesses can take to revamp their outdated backup strategy. 

As the way we work migrates toward more online activities, the ways in which enterprises can potentially lose data are also growing. With many teams now forced to work from home during the pandemic, it’s more important than ever for organisations to ensure that their data is stored efficiently and securely. Having a reliable backup plan isn’t just a good idea, it’s a necessity. Maintaining profitable business operations (and the operations of your customers) relies on it.

Here are my top five tips for businesses looking to revamp their antiquated backup strategies:

Back it up regularly

Ensure that backups are done daily. If your systems suffer a data corruption, a breach or complete data loss, how useful is a restore of incomplete data? Sure, you’ll have a starting point, but if crucial data isn’t backed up regularly, your restored data will be missing critical activity that took place since it was last backed up. This can turn into an expensive project to repopulate, not to mention the human resources that could be spent on critical data and applications vs backups.

Follow the 3-2-1-1 rule

This is a rule that has been proven true time and time again. Make sure that you always keep three copies of your data, using two different storage media types (object, flash, HDD, tape), one offsite (physically separate from the building such as DR site), and one offline (completely disconnected from your network). Keeping a clearly-defined data copy offline and air-gapped to protect against any potential malware attacks will enable you and your employees to retrieve that data and get back up to speed faster and back to business sooner in the case where your network connected copies are compromised.

Tier your backups

When evaluating data backup needs, understand your organisational service-level agreements (SLAs) to help you define which data needs require that they be kept on a hot tier (urgent, must be able to restored close to zero down time) vs. cold tier (not as urgent, can restore gradually). This will help determine which type of backup technology is best suited to your organisational needs. Defining the data’s temperature can uncover both economical and operational benefits that weren’t feasible before, including savings on soft costs such as power and cooling.

Revisit your backup plan quarterly or bi-annually

It’s important that you revisit a backup plan as regularly as possible. Revisiting a plan once a year used to be enough, but this is not the case anymore. With the increase in current threats and market conditions, revisiting your backup plan could prove to be beneficial in the long term. Cyberattacks, human error and natural disaster can occur unexpectedly. Today, cyberthreats are becoming more audacious so IT professionals need to step it up to mitigate this risk and ensure their backup plan is reliable and well tested.

Test, test, test

I can’t stress this enough, backup copies should not only be recoverable, but they should be predictably recovered. In other words, make sure you test, test, and test again for the integrity of your backup recovery system and verify it works accordingly. Not testing restores, underestimating time to restore/not testing time to restore, not having the appropriate backup schedules (frequency, backup types – incremental, full), and not having an endpoint break/fix process in place could prove to be disastrous to an organisation. This can lead to crisis mode management and possibly loss of millions of dollars.

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