Data Management and Protection Doesn’t Stop After World Backup Day
Another World Backup Day has come and gone, but its significance goes far beyond the day itself. While it’s important to recognize backups and other data protection steps, organizations shouldn’t confine them to a single day. They should be year-round practices.
On World Backup Day, individual users and companies alike pledge to back up their files before the day ends. The idea is to ensure they don’t lose anything if they fell victim to an April Fool’s Day scam the day after. The most secure organizations, however, understand backups should be a regular part of their workflows, not just a once-a-year occurrence.
The Importance of Data Backups
World Backup Day serves as an important reminder that data loss is costly and common. Ransomware attacks hit 66% of organizations in 2021 and even if these victims pay the ransom, they get just over half of their data back on average. Only 4% recover everything.
Data loss can happen outside of cybercrime, too. Employees can accidentally delete files, people can misplace external hard drives and natural disasters can destroy servers. As data becomes increasingly valuable, these accidents become all the more disruptive.
Additionally, businesses don’t just deal with their own information but with that of their customers and partner organizations. Losing any of this could result in a loss of trust, leading to customer churn and missing deals with other companies. Secure backups prevent these scenarios, no matter what happens to an organization’s data.
Why Data Protection Must Be Year-Round
These reasons behind data protection‘s importance don’t fade after World Backup Day. While it’s an excellent practice to have a specific day bringing awareness to the need for backups, backing up files just once a year is insufficient.
Cybercrime is growing too quickly for a once-a-year backup to offer enough protection. Roughly 20% of all ransomware attacks in history have occurred just in the past year, affecting thousands of organizations and millions of employees. Ransomware gangs and other cybercriminals act far more than once a year.
The rate of data creation and consumption is also too high for an annual backup to be sufficient. By 2025, the world will generate 463 exabytes of data daily, which doesn’t include already existing data businesses gather and analyze. A business’s data volumes and content could be significantly different within a few weeks – even days – so they need more regular backups to keep up.
Regularity aside, organizations face a few choices for their backup strategies. Determining the optimal storage medium and backup workflows will help maximize this data protection.
Cloud vs. Offline Backups
One of the biggest choices in data backups is deciding whether to store backups offline or in the cloud. Both have unique advantages and disadvantages. Cloud backups are accessible from anywhere, making recovering from a wider range of incidents easier. Just as electronic documents are more secure than paper alternatives, these systems also have the advantage of being safe from physical damage. However, cloud storage may also be prone to hacking, requiring additional security.
Offline backups’ main advantage is that businesses can easily cut them off from the rest of the network to secure them. Unplugging hard drives from company computers will air-gap them to eliminate hacking-related risks. However, these options are more expensive at scale, less accessible and only support automatic backups if continually plugged in.
Manual vs. Automatic Backups
Organizations must also choose between manual and automatic backup programs. The World Backup Day pledge revolves around the former, as users perform these backups themselves on a specific day. However, automated backup programs are often more convenient and secure.
The key advantage of automatic backups is they minimize the risk of human error. Considering these mistakes play a role in 82% of data breaches, that’s hard to ignore. Employees may forget backup deadlines or overlook some files, but an automated system will deliver the same results every time. Automating this process also lets companies keep pace with their fast-growing databases without requiring extra work from employees.
Manually backing up files can make it easier to choose what data to back up and where to store it, but many automated systems offer these controls, too. It may also be a more affordable option, but its inefficiency and risk of human error make it unideal.
Backup and Data Protection Best Practices
Organizations wanting the most data protection should use a mix of options. Using cloud and offline backups will provide the most security, as businesses still have one if the other fails. This combined approach is more expensive, but companies can manage that by using it only for the most critical files.
It’s also essential to secure backups. Just half of organizations today have an encryption plan for all their data and 13% have no encryption strategy at all. Without additional protection, backups may cause more security issues than they resolve, as attackers could target them instead of primary data locations. Consequently, encrypting these files and implementing strict access controls to prevent breaches is essential.
All companies should also regularly review their backup and data protection policies. As an organization’s data usage, needs and relevant threats change, so will the most effective mitigation measures. Adapting to evolving scenarios is critical to staying safe.
Top Advice From World Backup Day 2023
Businesses can also learn from what security experts had to say this World Backup Day. Many industry experts recommend following the 3-2-1 rule, which says to have three copies of a file across two different storage mediums, one of which is offsite. Mearing also recommends keeping at least one air-gapped backup system.
Other experts emphasize the importance of reviewing cloud backup solutions. It’s important to review cloud vendors to ensure they offer 24/7 support, extensive disaster recovery solutions and comprehensive expertise. Keep in mind – backups alone aren’t enough to stay secure. Backups are just one piece of the puzzle. Companies must also try to stop ransomware before it spreads, have a detailed recovery plan and regularly review their security posture.
Data Protection Goes Beyond World Backup Day
World Backup Day is a vital reminder of the costs and commonality of data loss. Recognizing these threats is the first step to staying safe, but data protection must go further.
Backing up and protecting data is an around-the-clock, everyday concern. In light of rising cybercrime and quickly growing data volumes, organizations must embrace backups and other protective measures in everything they do, not just in one day annually.
The post Data Management and Protection Doesn’t Stop After World Backup Day appeared first on Datafloq.
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