World Backup Day

Prioritising data backup in the digital workplace

Workplace environments have changed forever. Following a sudden need to scale up digitally at the onset of the global pandemic, as the dust settles, many organisations must now look at future proofing these investments and making them work on a permanent basis. A key element of this is ensuring that data is securely backed up and recoverable in the event of loss or theft. World Backup Day, which falls today, is a chance for organisations of all sizes to reflect and assess their levels of preparedness against data loss, be it accidental or through malicious intervention.

A survey carried out by Datapac and backup specialist Datto on SME business owners in Ireland last year found that over a quarter (27%) believe they would go out of business if they permanently lost critical data. Furthermore, 38% said the loss of critical data would impede their business growth. Despite the prevalence of cybercrime and data loss, just 5% of Irish SMEs back up their data in real-time.

Cloud-based doesn’t mean backed up

The increased adoption of software-as-a-service (SaaS) models with the acceleration of the digital workplace can leave organisations vulnerable and open to risks if appropriate backup and security measures are not implemented. As organisations began to realise the many benefits that SaaS can bring – such as enhanced flexibility, adaptability, and cost-effectiveness – they began to expand their SaaS usage further as a key driver of digital transformation. Datapac’s recent survey found that 71% of respondents had implemented SaaS applications in the previous two years. However, of these, a quarter didn’t implement a third-party backup solution.

Just because applications are cloud-based doesn’t mean that data is backed up. While the length of time that backups of data are held in SaaS applications varies depending on the provider, 30 days is generally a good rule of thumb. However, to the best of SME owners’ knowledge, the average time SaaS platform providers held back ups of data in their applications was one year. Many providers operate under what’s known as a shared responsibility model, whereby they have a duty to provide a stable, functional and secure platform while the responsibility of securing data backups lies with the customer. Organisations are typically aware of the value of backing up data stored on-premise, and anything held in the cloud needs to be treated the same way.

The golden rule

The golden 3-2-1 rule of data backup and recovery has long been held as an industry standard for data backup strategies and solutions. Essentially, this means keeping a minimum of three (3) copies of data, as two (2) different media types, with one (1) of them located securely offsite. Over four in 10 SME business owners surveyed didn’t adhere to the rule, either by holding copies of their data offsite in unsecure locations or by not having offsite copies at all. Adopting technology solutions and services that adhere to the golden rule ensures that there is no single point of failure.

The importance of disaster recovery testing

It’s possible for an organisation to be doing everything right from a data backup and recovery perspective – on paper. However, the very worst time to find out that a data backup solution doesn’t meet requirements is during an incident when vital information and data are at risk. This is why it’s so important for organisations to perform regular disaster recovery tests to measure this effectiveness. Carrying out tests once per quarter is a good benchmark, however, the greater the frequency the better. The Datapac and Datto survey found that nearly eight in 10 (77%) of Irish SMEs perform tests three times per year or less, with almost a fifth (18%) only testing once per year.

After the fog of the pandemic and a rush to digitise, often at the expense of proper backup and data security, now is the time to seriously consider data backup as a key element of your organisation’s business strategy. It’s vital that critical company data is securely backed up to ensure business continuity and minimise costly downtime. Enlisting the services of an expert partner can support organisations wherever they are on their data backup journeys and wherever their data may live.

Karen O’Connor, General Manager, Datapac 

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