World Backup Day: It’s Time to Review Your Backup and DR Plans

March 31, 2022
Backup, Cloud, Data Protection

“I solemnly swear to back up my important documents and precious memories on March 31st.

“I will also tell my friends and family about World Backup Day - Real friends don't let friends go without a backup.”

A pledge to backup data? Yes, it sounds a bit corny but that’s what the people behind World Backup Day are asking.

World Backup Day takes place March 31 this year, the day before April Fool’s Day. The pledge is just one way the organizers of the initiative are using to impress upon the public ─ individuals and companies alike ─ that the loss of data due to not backing it up is no joke.

The Vital Role of Data

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 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created each day at its current pace.

Data growth will undoubtedly continue to increase with the growing number of smartphones, wearable electronics, and other devices with sensors; the prevalence of Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud computing; the adoption of 5G; and other technological advancements.

The Need for Backup

As both the value and volume of data grow, so do the potential negative 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 2021 is $4.24 million. That’s a 10% increase over the 2019 average cost of $3.86 million. 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 nearly 20% 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, nearly 90% of companies are backing up the IT components they’re responsible for protecting.

The problem is that only 41% are 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 that have 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 it’s needed can result in downtime, potentially irreplaceable data loss, and more.

Kick-Off DR & Backup Review on World Backup Day

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 critical for restoring data in the event of a disaster event.

Neither have to be overly complicated. They just need to fit your needs — and be regularly tested to ensure they work as planned.

In support of World Backup Day, here are some of the key components to consider for both DR and backup. They can help ensure your data is not only backed up but also available when you need it. You can also use US Signal’s free DR Checklist.

  • 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 became corrupted at some point. You simply “rollback” to a copy of the data before it was corrupted.

Other than storage media costs, backup is relatively inexpensive. It may take time for your IT staff to retrieve and recover the data, however, so backup is usually reserved for data you can do without for 24 hours or more. It doesn’t do much for ensuring continued operations.

Application performance can also be affected each time a backup is done. However, backup is a cost-effective means of meeting certain compliance requirements and for granular recovery, such as recovering a single user’s emails from three years ago. It serves as 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, companies that offer cloud-based backups, such as US Signal’s Backup-as-a-Service (BaaS), may be preferable. Some allow you to backup data from any physical or virtual infrastructure, or Windows workstation, to their cloud service. You can then access your data any time, from anywhere. Some also offer backups as a managed service, handling everything from remediation of backup failures to system/file restores to the 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. Because a copy of all your mission-critical data is there, you can “failover” and migrate production seamlessly. There’s no need for wait for backup tapes to be pulled.

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 key component of a DR plan.

Keep in mind is 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 — in some cases with a service level agreement (SLA) based RTO of minutes.

DRaaS solutions also use scalable infrastructure, allowing virtual access of assets with little or no hardware and software expenditures. This saves on software licenses and hardware. Because DRaaS solutions are managed by third parties, 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 as a time 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].