The annual World Backup Day takes place on March 31, reminding us again of the importance of backing up data. These statistics, provided by the organization behind World Backup Day, demonstrate why backing up data is critical.
Think about it. What would happen if you lost your phone – and all the contacts, photos, apps, and everything else stored on it – and you didn’t have any of it backed up? What if malware infected your computer and destroyed the data on it?
Any data loss could have serious repercussions, from exposing your private information to the wrong people to losing years of work to putting a company at risk of downtime – or worse, going out of business.
There’s a lot of Data Out There
Let’s face it. Data has become an integral component of our personal and professional lives, from mission-critical business information to personal photos and videos. It’s estimated that 328.77 million terabytes of data are created daily, including newly generated, captured, copied, or consumed data.
The amount of data will only increase with the growing number of smartphones, wearable electronics, and other devices with sensors; the prevalence of the Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud computing; the adoption of 5G; and other technological advancements. There’s a lot of money going into producing that data, and there’s a lot of value in the data. Companies across almost every industry increasingly do their best to maximize and leverage that value. If that data is lost or damaged and can’t be replaced, the results will likely be painful – or even devastating.
The Need for Backup
As the value and volume of data grow, so do the potential adverse effects when it’s lost. At the individual level, cherished photos and important documents could be lost forever. For companies, lost data could be costly and put them out of business.
According to the latest data breach report by IBM and the Ponemon Institute, the cost of a data breach in the United States in 2022 was $ $9.44 million. That’s more than double the previous year. While some of those costs are due to lost productivity, lost sales, and other issues, a large portion is strictly due to the loss of data and the downtime that loss creates.
With all the emphasis on the importance of data backups in recent years, it may be surprising that 21% of computer owners have never backed up all the data on their systems. The message seems to have resonated better on the business side. According to Acronis, in 2020 alone, nearly 90% of companies were backing up the IT components they’re responsible for protecting.
The problem is that only 41% were backing up daily, leaving many with gaps invaluable data needed for recovery. What’s also disturbing are studies stating that between 20 to 40% of companies don’t have a fully documented disaster recovery (DR) plan in place. Those studies also show that of the companies with a plan, only 40% test it at least once a year.
Disasters can and do happen. A DR plan or backup service that doesn’t perform as expected when needed can result in downtime, potentially irreplaceable data loss, and more.
What’s also disturbing is what was noted in Acronis’ 2022 report. Half of the organizations reported allocating less than 10% of their IT budget to IT security (including backup). And 76% of organizations experienced downtime due to data loss in 2022, a 25% increase compared to 2021.
DR and data backups go hand in hand to support business continuity. A DR plan aims to maintain critical functions before, during, and after a disaster event, thereby causing minimal disruption to business continuity. Data backups are essential for restoring data in the event of a disaster event.
Neither has to be overly complicated. They must fit your needs — and be regularly tested to ensure they work as planned.
In support of World Backup Day, here are some key components to consider for DR and backup. They can help ensure your data is backed up and available when you need it. You can also use US Signal’s free DR Checklist and the eBook: Data Protection.
Roll Back with Backup
A backup creates data copies at regular intervals that are saved to a hard drive, tape, disk, or virtual tape library and stored offsite. If you lose your original data, you can retrieve copies of it. This is particularly useful if your data becomes corrupted at some point. You simply “roll back” to a copy of the data before it was corrupted.
Other than storage media costs, backup is relatively inexpensive. However, it may take time for your IT staff to retrieve and recover the data, so backup is usually reserved for data you can do without for 24 hours or more. It doesn’t do much to ensure continued operations.
Application performance can also be affected each time a backup is done. However, backup is a cost-effective means of meeting specific compliance requirements and for granular recoveries, such as recovering a single user’s emails from three years ago. It is a “safety net” for your data and has a distinct place in your DR plan.
You can opt for a third-party vendor to handle your backups. For maximum efficiency and security, many companies that offer cloud-based backups, such as US Signal’s Backup-as-a-Service (BaaS), are preferable. Some allow you to back up data from any physical or virtual infrastructure or Windows workstation to their cloud service. You can then access your data at any time, from anywhere. Some also offer backups as a managed service, handling everything from remediation of backup failures to system/file restores to source.
Stay Current with Data Replication
Like backup, data replication copies and moves data to another location. The difference is that replication copies data in real- or near-real time, so you have a more up-to-date copy.
Replication is usually performed outside your operating system, in the cloud. There’s no need to wait for backup tapes to be pulled. Because a copy of all your mission-critical data is there, you can “failover” and migrate production seamlessly.
Replication costs more than backup, so it’s often reserved for mission-critical applications that must be up and running for operations to continue during any business interruption. That makes it a vital component of a DR plan.
Remember that replication copies every change, even if the change resulted from an error or a virus. To access data before a change, the replication process must be combined with continuous data protection or another type of technology to create recovery points to roll back to if required. That’s one of the benefits of a Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) solution.
The DRaaS Option
DRaaS solutions offer benefits that make them an attractive option for integrating into a DR plan. By employing true continuous data protection, a DRaaS solution can offer a recovery point objective (RPO) of a few seconds. Applications can be recovered instantly and automatically — sometimes with a service level agreement (SLA) based RTO of minutes.
DRaaS solutions also use scalable infrastructure, allowing virtual access to assets with little or no hardware and software expenditures. This saves on software licenses and hardware. Because third parties manage DRaaS solutions, your internal IT resources are freed up for other initiatives. DRaaS platforms vary, so research your options to find the one that best meets your needs.
Celebrate with BaaS and DRaaS
Use World Backup Day to evaluate how you’re handling data backups and disaster recovery. Conduct an audit of all your systems and data to ensure you know what you have so you can ensure it’s all protected. Identify any gaps in your current data protection processes and technologies. Research best practices and the latest DR and backup technologies to see if they could benefit your organization.
US Signal can also help. Our data protection specialists will be happy to work with you to evaluate your organization’s DR and backup needs and discuss options that can best meet them. Call 866.2. SIGNAL or email[email protected].