In today’s digital world, protecting corporate data is tricky businesses. Factors such as intricate IT infrastructures, sophisticated cyber-criminals and the growing value being placed on data have combined to form a perfect storm of complexity – making the lives of IT professionals harder than ever.
Indeed, more than two-fifths (44%) of IT decision-makers believe that it has become more difficult to safeguard business-critical data over the past five years – primarily due to the time, skill level and expense required. And this has been supplemented by a hefty dose of media scaremongering, with ITDMs identifying general data breach coverage (58%), the Cambridge Analytica scandal (42%) and the 2017 Equifax breach (37%) as the biggest factors contributing to their concern.
As a result, the role of backups and disaster recovery solutions have taken on a newfound importance. Ensuring business continuity is now the order of the day, with a focus on restoring data as quickly as possible in order to minimise the impact of IT incidents such as ransomware attacks or power outages.
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No matter the industry, businesses today have to be ready to respond to any unplanned downtime that may occur – or risk the consequences.
The main challenge facing businesses today is that the complexity of modern infrastructure means IT incidents can come from all angles, in all shapes and sizes – as media coverage over the last 12 months or so has shown.
For example, in January 2019 an IT outage at Lloyds Banking Group left it unable to process hundreds of thousands of payments, resulting in a backlog of around 400,000 unprocessed payments in just a few hours. Around the same time Microsoft Azure suffered an outage which resulted in several databases being deleted. As a result, any transactions processed in the minutes after the deletion had to be dealt with manually.
These types of outages can have a major impact on businesses, from a reputational, customer experience and financial point of view. Gartner estimates the average cost of IT downtime to be $5,600 per minute, extrapolating to somewhere between $140K and $540K per hour.
Of course, outages as a result of technical failures aren’t the only threat. There is also the issue of ransomware, which is continuing to cause significant disruption for businesses around the world. Just this month (March 2019) one of the world’s biggest aluminium producers suffered a “severe” ransomware attack that left it unable to access key systems, meaning production had to be halted in some of its factories.
Incidents such as this clearly illustrate why more than half (55%) of IT decision makers are highly concerned about the threat of ransomware attacks, with 26% being extremely concerned.
However, despite the impact such attacks can have, 68% of ITDMs still view ransomware as a data security issue, rather than a data recovery issue. With more and more data residing in cloud platforms, this is a dangerous mindset to have.
Getting up to speed
One thing that has become abundantly clear is that businesses can’t afford to take the issue of disaster recovery lightly. Whether they primarily operate an on-premises, cloud or hybrid architecture, the ability to ensure robust and reliable data backups has to be a central component of any IT strategy.
Businesses have to remember that the overall impact of an attack or outage is determined by the ability to recover stolen, lost or encrypted data as quickly as possible – which means they need to have the right tools in place to quickly recover critical information and ensure business continuity.
For example, backup services that sit across hybrid architectures enable businesses to increase their agility by closing the gap between on-premises and cloud workloads, thereby minimising the risk of data loss.
Other data recovery solutions allow businesses to ‘go back in time’ to multiple predetermined recovery points and recover their data error-free. The process can be configured to ensure that the most important data is always regularly recoverable, saving time and money when the worst does happen.
Ultimately, businesses of all sizes have to be prepared to think more critically about where they store and backup their workloads and applications. Multi-generational IT environments have created a new level of complexity which creates opportunities for cyber-criminals and human error.
This World Backup Day, make sure you are up to speed on the latest business continuity solutions and remember, don’t take the risk of ignoring data backups. If you do, it’ll likely end in disaster.
Mick Bradley, VP EMEA Sales at Arcserve
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