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World Backup Day: comments from various professionals

World Backup Day takes place on March 31st each year and 2020 is no exception. Despite the majority of organizations being occupied with pandemic planning, strategies, and survival it is important not to take the organizational eye of the ball when it comes to business continuity fundamentals. World Backup Day provides a timely reminder of this. Here various industry professionals offer some points to consider…

Dave Demlow, VP Product Management at Scale Computing:

Backup and disaster recovery plans are crucial in today’s data-driven society. Faced with ever-increasing volumes of data, along with the growing threat of ransomware, malware, and a rapidly increasing remote workforce due to the outbreak of coronavirus, IT professionals are under tremendous pressure to protect everything while ensuring production systems aren’t impacted.

World Backup Day serves as an important reminder to raise awareness on the cruciality of data protection, backup and business continuity plans. Data loss prevention can be achieved through performing frequent backups and should be considered a high priority to individuals and businesses alike.

Due to the increase in cyberthreats and the rapidly growing remote workforce, it’s important to secure and protect IT infrastructure with a disaster recovery plan. Implementing a recovery plan allows users to proactively prevent or recover quickly from disasters, ensuring data is safe and mission-critical business applications are available.

Steve Young, Principal EMEA SE at Commvault:

World Backup Day is a great way to remind companies to ensure that the companies' relevant data is not only protected but also the solution meets the business requirements for recovery.

As with all other disciplines within infrastructure, it's imperative to keep pace with an ever evolving infrastructure landscape. The ever increasing adoption of cloud, and container solutions follow a number of other innovations which backup solutions have to protect. It is because of this, that reviewing, testing, and improving is a continuous activity all year round.

Sascha Giese, Head Geek at SolarWinds:

The data held by organizations in the UK public sector is some of the most critical and sensitive data in the country. From medical records to national defence information, the public sector is responsible for keeping all its data safe and untouchable from unauthorised users. Particularly now that organizations are more likely to use a combination of on-premises and cloud, IT teams need to be confident that all the data across all storage locations is backed up if there’s any unscheduled downtime.

The risks of creating a backup manually without an automated solution are too great for the public sector to consider, and therefore organizations should – if they haven’t already- look to implement a cost-effective backup solution to not only manage all of this complex and sensitive data, but reduce time spent by IT teams keeping backups up to date. It’s also worth noting a backup isn’t a backup until the integration of data is verified, and the restoration process tested; neither of these can be rushed. Though adopting a backup solution means additional cost in the short-term, having this safety blanket in place will reassure millions of citizens their data is as safe as it can be.

Eltjo Hofstee, Managing Director at Leaseweb UK:

World Backup Day is the perfect opportunity for businesses to ponder some important questions: How much time am I prepared to have mission-critical functions unavailable? How much data am I prepared to lose? How much money will it cost while these services are not available? If these questions raise concerns, it is time for a business to address its backup strategy. The most valuable assets should be prioritised and organizations need to be demanding about the quality, scalability and reliability of backup solutions.

Backing-up data is pivotal to a successful disaster recovery plan. Data has been backed up since the beginning of the computer age, but there have been many changes in the methods and storage technology used in this process. There has been an evolution in storage technology from tapes, hard drives, to where we are now, which is cloud storage. One benefit of modern cloud backup solutions is that they are suitable for businesses of any size. A business and its employees can back up data to the cloud from any server or device, anywhere with an internet connection. Cloud backup solutions are easy to manage, and their providers offer hands-on customer support.

Krishna Subramanian, COO at Komprise:

Data is very quickly taking over the world. Whether you have the latest wearable technology or you only use the Internet for shopping, every movement and every click is producing data, and all of this is being collected, moved, analysed and stored by businesses. For many, it is now impossible to run without data. Because of this, knowing that this data is stored securely is crucial, and having a full backup of it is even more so.

But so much of the data that businesses work with now is unstructured - from photos and videos to spreadsheets and documents, unstructured data presents more of a challenge when it comes to backup. It can be time-consuming as well as complex, with businesses often struggling with millions of files that are all completely different and constantly increasing in number. To make backing up this data simpler and quicker, consider implementing a data management solution that helps to sort through and offload cold data that is not changing from your backups. Since 75 percent of the data in most businesses is cold and does not need regular backups, by offloading cold data and backing up just the 25 percent, backups become a breeze. And, they are much more affordable. So, this World Backup Day, give a thought not only to your backup solution, but also to the technology that can support it.

Steve Cochran, Chief Technology Officer, ConnectWise:

There are two major reasons why we should take backups seriously: Hardware failure and human error. Systems are not foolproof and every piece of hardware will fail eventually, so it’s not a question of if, but rather when, these failures will happen. If you haven’t kept up with your backups, you’ll get caught unprepared. There’s also a factor of human error where you might accidentally delete a file or photo.

Hardware failures and human errors happen on a global scale, so backups should be an important consideration for any business, large or small. When you back up your data, your business is better prepared to handle any situation, whether human error, natural disaster or global crisis. With backups in place, you’re proactive, which means your data is safe and you’re prepared to address problems immediately, which minimises the impact on your customers.

Jon Lucas, Co-Director at Hyve Managed Hosting:

World Backup Day was created to remind consumers about the need to backup their most important digital files. But taking a business view on March 31st is just as imperative, and never has this been more clear than in today’s uncertain and digitally-reliant workplace. Few companies would argue that backups aren't worth the effort, however, every year we see stories about lost revenue and lost reputation because a backup hasn’t been there when needed.

One of the ways sufficient backup plans can drop off the IT ‘to-do’ list is because businesses don’t have the time, resources or experience to manage it in-house. But with the cloud computing and managed service era comes a practical and affordable way forward, and working with a partner that offers backup and disaster recovery solutions can be easily built into any IT environment. So, although awareness of its importance is – for most – improving, understanding its urgency and where to go for help remains a key message this World Backup Day.

Gijsbert Janssen van Doorn, Technology Evangelist at Zerto:

Back in 2011, World Backup Day was initiated in order to remind us how essential it is to have a copy of our data and information. But, while the day has only grown in significance over the years, backup technology has barely begun to evolve. From tape, to hard drive and now cloud – which is really just tape in many cases – the target and management has changed, yet it is still fundamentally based on periodic snapshots of information.

But in our ‘always-on’ business landscape, and especially in times of crisis like we are currently experiencing, can an organization still be truly protected with an antiquated backup strategy?

The short answer is – it can’t. Data should be protected continuously, ensuring that every change, update and added piece of data is always available. This gives the reassurance that all data is protected up to a moment before anything disrupts it. If your organization doesn’t have a solid strategy and supporting tactical plan in place, now is the time to implement one.

Steve Nice, Chief Security Technologist at Node4:

No matter what size or sector a company operates in, backup and disaster recovery solutions provide continuity to organizations and should be seen as essential components of any business’ IT plans. When planning backups, organizations need to consider:

Operational impact - carefully map out your backup windows to ensure there is no performance degradation for your systems and applications

Location - consider whether your backups are going to be stored locally or off-site. You will need to determine what is the best option for your business and take into consideration factors like bandwidth availability and thus the time taken to transmit the backup data, to meet your backup window targets.

RPO & RTO - to successfully build your strategy based on your desired recovery point & recovery time objectives you’ll need to consider multiple factors, including the media you’re writing to, the backup location and the backup window available.

Another consideration would be working with a managed service provider to see how they could take this off your hands. Sufficient security, capacity, recovery times and meeting compliance needs are all integral to success when backing up, but can be hard for an internal team to keep on top of. By working with a backup as a service (BaaS) provider businesses can have peace of mind that, whatever is backing up and wherever the data is stored, it is being efficiently managed and is available on request should the worst happen and a backup be required.

Tom Cotton, Agile Workspace Technical Director, Six Degrees:

If your organization is transitioning workloads to public cloud, you may well have concerns around losing control of your data. These aren’t unfounded – SaaS providers take backups to ensure the integrity of their services, but they will not take responsibility for data loss that results from accidental deletion, malware or operational errors. This year’s World Backup Day is an opportunity for organizations to consider how they protect data stored in public cloud environments. I recommend partnering with a trusted data protection provider to hand control of your mission-critical data back to your organization.

Adrian Moir, Senior Consultant and Product Management, Quest:

Backup is being put into a new perspective with this year’s World Backup Day. In light of the current healthcare pandemic, not only a growing number of employees are working outside the office, but we’re seeing organizations enforce a work-from-home policy for all employees. Even if workers are using cloud applications that do not care where they are located, the files and data they share could be anywhere, and this puts a glaring spotlight on new backup challenges for IT teams.

Having a growing distributed workforce puts any organization at risk when it comes to content sharing. If employees aren’t using applications that enable secure sharing (Microsoft OneDrive is an example), corporate content could be left in the open when shared through online services, creating gaps in data protection. Companies need to give their workforces a solution that can be controlled and that offers visibility into what is being shared, where, and with whom.  

Beyond challenges created by a distributed workforce, driven by the need to work remotely, we’ll start to see more attention paid to backup of data associated with containers this year, as containers continue to grow in popularity. Particularly, companies will learn the importance of backup in this space - Yes, high availability can be built into container infrastructure, but what do you do when you need to recover from a disaster? The process for backing up containers and related data will be thought about differently than, for example, virtual machines.

We’re set to see more challenges this year, certainly with the current conditions creating more opportunity for risk as much as changing technology landscapes. What will be interesting going forward as organizations that have re-focused on their risk strategies in the current climate will inevitably be ensuring that their infrastructure and data are kept secure.

More details on World Backup Day can be found at www.worldbackupday.com



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