Why businesses must back up their data – and much more

An abstract image in blue and white of a database.
(Image credit: Pixabay)

Data is the lifeblood of the digital economy, helping businesses create new products and services, target their customers, and make decisions every day. According to IDC’s 2022 Global DataSphere forecast report, 221 zettabytes of data will be generated worldwide in 2026. As companies become ever more reliant on digital technology, and the amount of data they use grows exponentially, the value of all that data increases with the risk of losing it.

85% of UK businesses handle digital data, with almost all organisations with 10 or more employees doing so. World Backup Day is a timely reminder that, now more than ever, companies of every size and sector must be prepared against data loss and theft, by backing up and better protecting their data. But that’s not enough when there is so much at stake.

Here are some ways businesses can better handle their data to help increase efficiency, streamline workflows and drive revenue gains, as well as protect their information. 

Hugo Bergmann

Hugo Bergmann is Lyve Cloud and Data Services Lead for EMEA at Seagate Technology.

Make data backup part of your cyber hygiene

Backing up regularly or setting up automatic backups is critical, so no important information stays unprotected. Overall cyber hygiene should become a matter of course for all employees, considering almost four in 10 (39%) of UK businesses reported suffering a cyberattack in 2022, according to the Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2022. These steps are key to improving online security, as well as maintaining system health. Making these practices part of a regular routine will help ensure the safety of identity and other confidential details that could be stolen by bad actors or corrupted.

Prioritize data protection and security

Use a clear and comprehensive data classification policy to categorize all your stored information, based on its sensitivity level, to ensure it is handled properly, and accessed only by the people who should have sight of it. This will help to lower organizational risk and prepare for potential data leaks. Implementing an objective data lifecycle policy will help identify and protect confidential data with a clear framework of rules and processes for each category of data. It should guide you on when and how to store and then delete data in line with regulatory requirements.

Actually use the data you have

While businesses are using unprecedented levels of data, it is still highly unlikely they will use all the data they create and capture. They may even suffer from analysis paralysis. According to our Multicloud Maturity Report, 39% of UK businesses say the complexity and volume of data their companies produce makes it hard to understand what data they can use to generate business value. Keeping a dynamic data lake or warehouse to store data for the sake of storing is an unnecessary expense rather than an investment. Your data will start acting as a drain on your resources if you don’t use it properly. It’s not about having the data, it’s about the questions you’re able to ask it that matters. It is therefore important to have actionable data that is put to best use, fueling decisions to achieve greatest return.

Embrace a cloud operating model that drives innovation

Where you store your data has a huge impact on your ability to use your data effectively. Develop a multi-cloud strategy that ensures consistency and efficiency for managing all types of clouds and helps bring down costs without stalling innovation. Findings from a report by Deloitte found that as much as 85% of businesses use two or more cloud platforms, and 25% use at least five. This enables them to manage data where they need them and without added complexity. Having the freedom to create such a strategy means you can choose the cloud capabilities that best suit your specific business needs.

Foster a data-driven culture

A data-driven culture is one that's built on a strong foundation of numbers and analytics, placing facts before instincts. Fostering such a culture needs to start from the top, so leadership buy-in is crucial. The C-suite must understand and agree that data is an asset worth investing in to inform vital business decision making. However, with around a quarter of UK businesses saying their sectors have insufficient data skills, investment in data literacy is more of a priority than ever before. By upskilling your teams and rethinking collaboration practices, you can empower employees to take advantage of data and analytics in their daily working lives.

One of the four pillars of the UK government’s National Data Strategy is ‘data foundations’ - ensuring data is of sufficient quality, consistent, accessible, properly documented, easily usable, interoperable, secure, timely and up to date. As we mark World Backup Day on 31 March and prioritize backing up our precious data to ensure it is not damaged, attacked or lost, just remember that this is just one piece of an increasingly complex puzzle.

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Hugo Bergmann is Lyve Cloud and Data Services Lead for EMEA at Seagate Technology.