Data protection: how to secure and take control of your data

At sign in lock
Data protection can be a complex business

Data protection is bigger than backing up and making extra copies: It is about protecting critical information from disaster, whether through a fire; human error; or even a cyber attack.

Disaster recovery measures are crucial; if you suffer an outage and you are not prepared, it could be devastating for your business.

So how do you manage the complex task of data protection?

Have the correct measures in place

If you fall victim to an outage, you could lose customer records, historical data and more. Because of their size, small companies will feel the effects more than larger enterprises; and costs arising from a legal fine can wipe out an entire business.

It's critical to consider the way you securely back up your data as part of your wider data protection strategy. Make sure you and employees can be productive if there is an outage, and try out the plan before it is put to the test by a real incident.

Monitor your backup data

You need to understand what your data environment looks like, making sure you have a disaster avoidance strategy in place. Monitoring tools can alert you to back up and performance issues before a disaster strikes. This can be managed by you, or by an external company.

Banish ageing technology

Much of the on-premises data protection technology used by small companies is no longer adequate. The advent of virtualisation and cloud alongside many other business applications, means it's easy to update your legacy systems.

Cloud won't suit all businesses but you must understand which solution is the best fit for your particular needs.

New technologies and techniques

Small businesses don't necessarily have dedicated IT staff, so it's important that your systems are easy to restore. But smaller businesses are flexible and able to easily adopt new technologies and techniques such as cloud.

Cloud is scalable so it can adapt to suit your specific needs, increasing efficiency and reducing costs - a win-win for any small company.

Cloud for disaster recovery

If there was a fire or your workplace collapsed, would your data be safe? For many small businesses the answer is no. Cloud storage, where data is kept offsite by a provider, is a guarantee of adequate disaster recovery.

Backup data is often stored through traditional methods such as tape, but this is not necessarily enough on its own. More suited to backup archiving than reducing exposure after an outage, tape is perishable and it can often be a long and difficult process to recover data in this way.

Separate your data

Adequate data protection isn't going to come for free. For many small firms it will make sense to use a combination of local backup, tape and cloud for complete protection.

You can minimise your costs by working out if you need to move some or all of your disaster recovery data into the cloud.

Cloud is cheap for you to maintain and is often billed on a per use basis, so you can budget for the storage you need for disaster recovery, instead of investing in a more expensive storage array.