Do You just Back Up, or Do You Protect Your Data?

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I ran into an issue not too long ago where I found myself in need of some major car repairs. Fortunately, my warranty covers a free loaner car while it’s being serviced, so the overall experience wasn’t too painful. I was able to drive away in a matter of minutes and carry on with business as usual. This got me thinking about the kind of impact this same issue would’ve had on me just a few years ago…

I would’ve had to arrange for a ride, potentially rent a car and, basically, have my life disrupted for a few days while the issues were repaired.

Service and delivery has changed significantly over the last few years. The same is true when you look at data protection in technology. Not that long ago, files were backed up to some type of storage so people could mount and recover files in case of an emergency. These back up solutions allowed for peace of mind—they knew that, regardless of what happens, if their back up is reliable, then their organization could recover.

The challenges that we face today, however, are different from those a few years ago…

  • Data storage has increased, and recovery times have increased with it
  • There are more threats against your data today than ever before
  • Many organizations cannot withstand a disaster

A lot more data exists today

Data storage has grown drastically; high-definition digital files are now larger, many offices have gone paperless and the overall electronic media need is growing. This presents larger challenges for organizations to address, not only for storage needs, but also in the amount of time it takes for recovery. Even in optimal conditions, the data recovery of many terabytes of data could impact your organization anywhere from several days, up to a week or more.

New threats emerging

More and more threats are discovered every day. For instance, ransomware has the ability to encrypt every file on your network, and Trend Micro is calling it one of the biggest threats of 2016.

The challenge with these types of threats is that, once infected, a large portion of your operations is impacted until recovered. Intermedia surveyed IT consultants who reported that 72 percent of infected companies are impacted for a minimum of two days, but 32 percent of those impacted were locked out of their files for five days or more.

How long can you be down, and are you really covered?

The US Small Business Administration estimates that 25 percent of small businesses will not reopen following a disaster. Many businesses do not have a disaster recovery or business continuity plan in place, and, therefore, will find themselves scrambling in the event of a major disaster.

Many businesses feel that they are protected through insurance to cover costs, but the truth may be more alarming to some businesses who haven’t made further plans. Some financial impacts may, indeed, be lessened by insurance; however, that financial relief may not be enough to cover the impact of a week-long interruption to your business. Additionally, many businesses today may not even be covered by all of the threats that currently exist.

A way forward

There are several easy items that organizations can address to bring some peace of mind:

  • Have a reliable back up system that gives you the ability to virtualize locally or in the cloud. The ability to stand up a server in real-time minimizes your overall risk of long and/or prolonged outages.
  • Create and maintain a disaster recovery or business continuity This plan should identify key contacts as well as provide detailed plans for recovery. It must be detailed enough to identify how long your organization could withstand an outage based on numerous potential attacks, along with the plans to accelerate the recovery effort to meet your business demands.
  • Conduct and maintain a thorough security audit of your network. This audit will highlight your business’s key vulnerabilities that need to be addressed, and it will prepare you for incident response needs in the event of a data breach.
  • Review your insurance coverage. You should know what your coverage is in the event of a harmful virus outbreak, the flooding of your server room or even from a hacking incident where sensitive data is exposed.

The majority of small businesses, today, lack well-thought-out data protection plans, and it has most certainly played a role in the quarter of impacted small businesses that didn’t reopen their doors.

So, with all of this in mind, let me ask you…is your data protected?