For IT professionals, data security often follows us home. To many, it lives in the back of our minds – the knowledge that a cyber-attack or simple human error can quickly affect mission-critical functions of a company – functions you are likely responsible for.
Relaxing with loved ones, or finding any time to ourselves, can be tricky when dealing with the heartache of threats like cyber-attacks or errors hanging over our heads. This is because without proper backup software solutions in place, these kinds of worries and incidents can lead to major losses in revenue and business operations.
About the author
Nick Turner, VP EMEA, Druva.
With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, IT professionals need to remember that data backup and data recovery are not just nice to have; they are critical to ensuring data integrity, business continuity and - most importantly - sanity for those with the greatest level of responsibility for a company’s most critical assets. By adopting a new perspective, one that embraces the benefits of a holistic backup and recovery strategy, it is possible to ‘back up and chill’. Reclaim your peace of mind and that time you’ve been missing with loved ones.
Back to basics
Firstly, companies must get the basics right – and that means storing data to secure drives in separate locations and backing up regularly. Many organisations make the mistake of storing on-premises or using cloud backups with the same service and OS that operates core aspects of their business, such as Microsoft Office 365. Given the central purpose of data backup is to have duplicate information available if primary data platforms are compromised, keeping data separate and robustly protected – on a separate OS and in a different, unconnected location - is key.
The cloud is the perfect platform for online storage - when it comes to scalability, security, and capability, no other infrastructure comes close. Best practices, including the use of an independent vendor, like AWS, hosting on an independent OS, role-based access controls and end-to-end encryption all help create an important gap between your critical backups and any potential attack on your server or other cloud-based systems.
Dealing with duplicates
Regular, current duplicates are also critical to ensuring you’re prepared in the event of a disaster. Instead of undertaking this task individually or as a team, automated backups can easily ensure this is always happening. Even free backup software sends full backups and full-file incremental backups to an appliance that then duplicates them. Well-written source de-duplication system, on the other hand, sends only the new, unique blocks each time a backup runs.
These efficiencies make the difference between automated backups measured in seconds, versus minutes and hours. As business applications become more intricate, and interdependencies become more complicated, your approach to data protection should become more simplified - anything else simply isn’t scalable. For example, automating runbook execution and streamlining core processes for rapid recovery remove opportunities for human error and shortens the potential recovery window.
Microsoft Office 365 is arguably the most prominent example of significant data protection gaps IT professionals contend with on a regular basis. While many may assume their data is safe because “it’s in the cloud,” without a proper backup solution that follows the basics of separated, regular and automated backups with runbook execution for rapid recovery - the ability to meet business continuity, data retention, and compliance needs can be in serious jeopardy. Contrary to what others may tell you, the Recycle Bin is not a backup strategy.
A perfect example is a ransomware attack. If files are deleted or corrupted, users can’t restore an entire account to a point in time – without literally doing so one file at a time from the recycle bin. Or, reverting an entire site to an earlier version simply to fix one person’s system. While Office365 does provide a number of tools to protect against ransomware, they are mainly perimeter tools aimed at stopping the penetration in the first place. When a rogue administrator or hacker gains access, they can turn off versioning and generally wreak havoc within the system to a degree that renders any stored backups almost unusable.
In essence, Office 365’s inherent protections ignore the foundational rule of storing backups on a separate platform, and lack the sophistication or urgency that modern businesses require when such an attack takes place. With intelligent, user-based and file-level recovery capabilities, recovering from an event, whether intentional or unintentional, can be completed in as simple as a few clicks.
Retention of OneDrive, Exchange and SharePoint data is more than just key to protecting users, it can now be a critical regulatory requirement. Just like losing company functionality due to a breach, catching a GDPR fine of up to 4 percent of your company’s global revenue can ruin a perfectly good Valentine’s Day (or any day for that matter). Customers need to store such data within a robust, intelligent and autonomous platform designed for cost-efficient long-term data management, preserving user data at a fraction of its normal cost while enabling full regulation and compliance.
With security and regulatory demands more pressing than ever before, is your team prepared to ‘back up and chill’ this Valentine’s Day?
- Protect your files and folders with the best antivirus software.