March 31st was World Backup Day. The annual event, which celebrated it’s 10-year anniversary this year, is meant to remind people and organizations to backup their data in case an incident occurs, by accident or malice, which causes them to lose it.
Backups are a strategic part of any strong business continuity and cybersecurity plan. The ability to recover and continue to operate after the occurrence of an incident affecting a business’ data depends on recovery experience both from a recovery point and recovery time objective viewpoint. The quality of the backups is essential to the recovery experience.
Impact of Global Public Health Emergency
The pandemic has also compelled businesses of all sizes to review their backup and recovery solutions, policies, and strategies.
Remote or hybrid workplace environments come with challenges from an IT perspective for many reasons. From a backup perspective, with a distributed workforce, businesses need to ensure that their backup policies still include regular backups no matter where the data is coming from or where it is being accessed from.
The adoption of cloud solutions and applications has accelerated dramatically since the beginning of the pandemic. There are many benefits to adopting cloud solutions and they have been instrumental in allowing businesses to continue operations during the pandemic. However, organizations must understand that having data in the cloud does not mean that it is automatically backed up or that backing up that data is free. With so much data now in tools such as Microsoft 365 it is important to ensure that the backup of data in the cloud is not being overlooked.
Lastly, and perhaps not surprisingly, cyberattacks have skyrocketed. The physical and emotional toll the global pandemic has taken on people, the sheer number of people who are now working remotely (at least some of the time) and the accelerated adoption of cloud solutions have all contributed to the exponential increase in cyberattacks. Specifically, malware and ransomware attacks have thrived this past year. Not only have the number of attacks increased but the sophistication of the attacks has improved. The threat of malware targeting both production and backup files and documents have become much more commonplace. Proper backup policies and strategies will lead to increased resilience against these cyberthreats.
Essential Questions for Reviewing Backup Strategies
Here are some of the essential areas of focus when creating or reviewing your data backup practices:
- What data is critical and essential to the operation of the business?
- What are your recovery point and recovery time objectives?
- Where and how will the data be stored?
- Are there compliance requirements that need to be taken into account?
- How often will the data backup occur?
- Who is responsible for ensuring the security, encryption, and success of these data backups?
- How often will the backups be tested?
BackUp Best Practices
In today’s world data is critical to the operation of businesses and the ability to access that data is of utmost importance. Keeping that in mind, here are some best practices when it comes to backup:
- Backup the data online and offline. This prepares the organization for any type of data loss scenario whether natural disaster, cyberattacks or human error
- Ensure the data that is backed up is encrypted and cannot be tampered with or changed. With the increase in cyberattackers targeting both production and backup files, this is crucial to recovering from an attack
- Backup your data frequently. The frequency does depend on the type of data being backed up. For some organizations that may mean live backups for others once per day is sufficient
- Although backups should be automated, they need to be monitored to ensure that the backup did indeed occur as planned
- Regularly test the backups to ensure the data is indeed there and accessible
- Don’t forget to backup the data in cloud applications
- Document a recovery plan to ensure everyone in your organization knows the steps, responsibilities and the expected timeline to recovery for different sets of data
- Test your recovery plan on a regular basis
Ensuring the right people have the right level of access to the right data is essential for any organization’s success. The goal of any backup strategy is to ensure the recovery of data and to ensure the continuity of your business should an incident occur.
MicroAge can help you create or review your backup policies and strategies to determine the best backup solutions for your needs. Contact us.