Industry experts discuss the importance of backing up your data throughout the year – not just on World Backup Day.

Wednesday, March 31 marked World Backup Day. The day served as a reminder for organizations to back up their most precious asset — their data.

Don’t be an April fool this year, and take the time to make sure your organization can continue operations in the event of a cyberattack or accident. Below, industry experts discuss the best ways to ensure business continuity and provide tips and best practices for backup strategies. 

Carl D’Halluin, CTO, Datadobi

“In a single year, we’ve seen and experienced more fundamental changes than many could imagine. Yet, a year marked by change also highlighted a few things that remain constant.

“For businesses, this was clear in the need for adaptability, and the requirement to retain access to its business-critical data at a moment’s notice.

“Maintaining a secure third copy, or golden copy, of this data can help organizations maintain near to uninterrupted business continuity in the face of a variety of challenges. Prior to remote work skyrocketing in the pandemic, incidents of ransomware attacks on vulnerable file storage systems were a growing problem. Organizations had–and continue to have–clear directives to back up their file data to avoid disaster. A key part of that process is having a secure third copy of their NAS data in case of an attack on production or disaster recovery systems. This provides greater security if other means of protection and proper data backups have failed. Putting such an option in place–in a bunker site, behind an air gap, or in the cloud­­–gives organizations reliable data backup and restore capabilities.

“In a landscape of increasing and evolving challenges, needs, and threats, businesses need the ability to protect and back up their data quickly, flexibly, securely, and cost-effectively, so data can be backed up and restored down to the individual file level.”

Surya Varanasi, CTO of Nexsan, a StorCentric Company

“Next to employees, data is the most valuable asset of any commercial business, nonprofit or government agency. Protecting both has therefore become a top priority for organizations large and small, around the world. Horrifically however, this past year saw both under attack, as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic. From a data protection standpoint, the rush to accommodate new and necessary ways to work, shop and live opened the door to cybercriminals. And consequently, we saw a dramatic increase in ransomware attacks and high-profile data breaches that further cemented the importance of backup.

However, the past year also taught us the criticality of ‘Unbreakable Backup.’ Certainly, the overall objective of backup is the ability to recover from any failure or data loss within a specified period of time. The process of backing up, especially to disk, has become highly automated after initial setup across applications, platforms and virtual environments. But now, as ransomware and other malware attacks continue to increase in severity and sophistication, we understand the need to protect backed up data by making it immutable and by eliminating any way that data can be deleted or corrupted. Unbreakable Backup does just that by creating an immutable, secure format that stores the admin keys in another location for added protection,” Varanasi continued. “For those seeking the ideal Unbreakable Backup solution for their environment, they should seek one that delivers data integrity with policy-driven and scheduled data integrity checks that can scrub the data for faults, and auto-heals without any user-intervention. Next, they should seek a solution that provides high availability with dual controllers and RAID-based protection that can guarantee data access in the event of component failure. Recovery of your data will also be faster, because all RAID-protected disk arrays can read faster than they can write. With an Unbreakable Backup solution with these capabilities in-hand, users can alleviate their worry about their ability to recover — and redirect their time and attention to activities that can more directly impact the organization’s bottom-line objectives.”

JG Heithcock, General Manager of Retrospect, a StorCentric Company

“Indeed, this past year has left organizations engrossed in responding to the rapid shift to remote work and the cyber risks from bad actors using the pandemic as a catalyst to continue carrying out their crimes. Across private and public sectors, there was an onslaught of phishing, malware distribution, false domain names, and other attacks on IT infrastructure as teams quickly pivoted to remote working. While we continue to navigate the uncertainties of the pandemic this year and beyond, it is also important to reiterate simple steps to avoid or minimize attacks on businesses, such as identify suspicious senders, exercise caution before clicking on links or opening attachments, and instill a backup strategy that utilizes the 3-2-1 rule.

A strong 3-2-1 backup plan includes having at least three copies of data across multiple locations: the original, a first backup stored onsite, and a second backup located offsite,” Heithcock continued. “In the current environment, where ransomware attacks are commonplace, if all organizational backups are on a single disk that is connected to a main computer, those backups can be encrypted at the same time as source data, rendering them useless. With three copies of data – on the computer, on local storage, and on offsite storage – rapid recovery from threats such as ransomware becomes much more practical.”

Gil Levonai, CMO and SVP Product at Zerto:

“Since 2011, World Backup Day has acted as a poignant reminder for people to prepare for the unexpected by backing up their important files. Data loss can happen in a variety of ways, and while losing family photographs or important receipts can be extremely irritating, for businesses the financial, reputational, and legal damage associated with data loss can be catastrophic. Though World Backup Day strikes a slightly humorous tone – falling the day before April Fool’s Day – the consequences of data loss are anything but.

The 10 year anniversary of World Backup Day comes at a fundamental turning point for backup technology. Data has grown exponentially over the last decade, creating zero tolerance for data loss, and yet backup technology has evolved very little. Traditional backup relies on periodic snapshots often on a daily, weekly, or even monthly basis, which places a massive burden on production environments and often forces IT teams to run these at night to avoid disruption. This has left them struggling to meet or exceed the two primary metrics associated with backup: recovery time objectives (RTOs) and recovery point objectives (RPOs).

Now, as businesses focus on providing an ‘always-on’ service to their customers and the constant increase of cyber threats, organizations are thinking about how they can protect their data continuously with every change, update, or new piece of data protected and available in real time. Continuous data protection (CDP) is enabling this change, saving data in intervals of seconds – rather than days or months – and giving IT teams the granularity to quickly rewind operations to just seconds before disruption occurred. Completely flexible, CDP enables an IT team to quickly recover anything from a single file or virtual machine right up to an entire site. As more organizations join the CDP backup revolution, data loss may one day become as harmless as an April Fool’s joke. Until then, it remains a real and present danger.”

Alex Chircop, Founder and CEO, StorageOS

“Data loss can occur in any number of ways — from natural disasters to cyber attacks and ransomware — so it’s difficult to overstate the importance of backing up important files, whether you’re a small mom and pop shop or a multi-national enterprise. Furthermore, as the pandemic prompted a massive surge in remote work, our dependence on cloud-based applications and tools has risen dramatically. That’s why the ability to manage backup and storage to protect data in cloud native environments is more crucial than ever, and why companies like ours are developing features that work with Kubernetes to manage backup and storage of Kubernetes orchestrated containers.

Whatever environment you operate in, World Backup Day, now in its tenth year, exists for a very good reason — to remind us how important it is to have a solid backup strategy so you can be prepared for unexpected events and minimize damage to your business and your customers.”

Steve Cochran, Chief Technology Officer, ConnectWise

“Data is the livelihood of organizations – whether that’s a hospital, law firm or a bank – and without having instant access to it can cause unplanned downtime that can affect operations. Hardware failure, cyber attacks such as ransomware or even a natural disaster can cause serious problems for businesses, because the risks associated with data loss can be severe. Hospitals need instant access to patient data, and if the database has been compromised and they can’t access it then lives could be at stake. This is why it is absolutely essential to ensure organizations of all sizes, including SMBs, have a backup and disaster recovery (DR) plan in place. This way organizations can resume normal business operations as quickly as possible while minimizing the impact or damage associated with such an event. Benjamin Franklin once said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” The same can be said for not having a backup and DR plan at the ready.  

“The ten year anniversary for World Backup Day is a reminder to organizations to be better prepared to handle any situation. If the past year has taught us anything, it’s that the pandemic hasn’t stopped the world turning, but it has opened cybercriminals up to finding more of those vulnerabilities and launching unprecedented attacks on all types of organizations to cause havoc. Backup is a basic defense against malware like ransomware. Having backups and a DR strategy in place to be up and running instantly means you’re better prepared to tackle challenges head on and minimize any impact to your end customers.  No matter what bad guys do to a computer or system, if you have a backup you are ultimately safe. Even more reason to appreciate World Backup Day!”

Lex Boost, CEO, Leaseweb USA

“We can’t predict the events of tomorrow – 2020 clearly illustrated that fact – but we must do our best to safeguard business continuity despite that reality.

When your business lives in the cloud, there is nothing more valuable than your data. An integrated approach to backup and disaster recovery is arguably the one of the best ways to guarantee long-term viability of data because it protects assets in depth, at multiple points and through multiple infrastructures.

One way of securing data through an integrated approach is by seeking an IaaS provider that offers Backup-as-a-Service (BaaS) as part of its product and service suite. But, the market is becoming more competitive by the day due to increased globalization and market demand for connectivity and bandwidth, making it critical to carefully consider the various options available.

Analyze their success in data protection, visibility, active directory support, flexibility, pricing and reliability to ensure the offering is the right fit for your company. Similarly, consider choosing a provider that offers disaster recovery services for at least the most common issues, like failure of a physical disk, server, network switch, network uplink connection or power feed. An efficient backup solution will also create frequent backups of data, allowing you to restore any compromised data and relaunch your business’ mission-critical functions with minimal downtime.

Use World Backup Day as an opportunity to review disaster recovery plans, backup protocols and overall data protection solutions within your company to ensure they meet all the needs of your growing business.”

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