As digital life gets cloudy, effective backups clear the sky for business continuity

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Imagine a championship-caliber NBA basketball team losing three of its best players to serious injuries halfway through the season. Destroyed fans will immediately lower their expectations from the championship to the bottom feeder and management will inevitably leave the season and focus on rebuilding the franchise. While a sports team can recover even after losing its top assets, in the business world, losing one of your most valuable assets – data – is often a killing blow for the company.

94% of companies that suffer from catastrophic data loss cannot survive. According to the University of Texas, 43% of them never reopen. And despite the assumption that the cloud has our backs to the backup, user error, overwriting data, or losing data by malicious actors is actually quite prevalent.

The past year has seen an increase in data breaches, with the number of incidents increasing by 68 per cent year-on-year. Ransomware attacks, which at best result in unwanted downtime and have the potential to wipe out the company’s entire data pool, are also expected to increase in 2021. Related trends are unlikely to return anytime soon.

These and other data-security trends put increasing pressure on companies to ensure the maximum possible security for their networks, but also to properly back up every critical service in a way that suits their business needs.

Evaluate your data

Before developing its comprehensive backup strategy and business continuity plan (BCP), any company must start with a strategic valuation of its digital assets. The company must establish how critical each service and dataset is to its operations, how long it can maintain activities without access to it, how much data it can lose without going down, and how severely it can be affected in the event of a leak.

Based on this assessment, the company should establish what data it should back up, how often it should, and how to secure the backup. Where applicable, it should also create a BCP that is a factor in the failover solution. Ultimately, the assessment comes down to calculating the financial risk – the probability of the timing of the loss.

Modern organizations rely heavily on software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions to handle most of their day-to-day operations. Hundreds of companies rely on services such as Salesforce to do their CRM, Hubspot to automate their marketing campaigns, MailChimp to handle their email outreach and hiring, and dozens of other services for customer support, development and more. In addition, they rely on these SaaS solutions to take care of backups and expect high availability and security at any time. However, most SaaS systems operate in the cloud, making many commercial applications publicly accessible to a certain degree and therefore increasingly vulnerable. This includes their backup options. The lesson here is that the company cannot rely solely on the seller and on a single cloud storage solution in general.

Best backup deal

The Well-Architected Framework Concept, which includes design principles and architectural best practices for creating and running a cloud workload, is a must for any DevOps engineer and leader. In addition, it is a good starting point for developing concrete steps and protocols for backup. Working to improve their data breach security, companies should explore a variety of measures, ranging from cloud-risk assessments and updated security protocols to smart authentication policies and counter-phishing exercises.

A thorough review of the company’s SaaS stack is sure to reveal services that are more valuable than others. This requires extra security in terms of backups, as losing them could mean losing the entire business, not just the winning year. Most popular SaaS solutions such as Salesforce and Google Workspace work with third-party SaaS businesses that can manage users’ backups. It’s a good option – if it’s available.

However, third-party service can also go down, so companies should make sure to walk those extra miles to ensure the safety of their data. Backups also need backups. That’s why companies are wise to opt for backup solutions equipped with robust application programming interfaces (APIs). Setting up another backup for data stored in a separate cloud environment is just a matter of writing a few custom scripts.

Less developer-friendly solutions will result in more manual work for their customers. In addition, the user must actively pull backup data from the service and push it to secure storage, whether it means another cloud environment or an air-gapped archive containing an offline copy of the organization’s data. While this process causes more headaches, its value in protecting the integrity of the entire business operation cannot be underestimated.

Backup is a crucial security that every company should take seriously. It’s not the sexiest component of CloudOps and getting it right can have an impact on operational budgets. But with complex data backups, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Not to mention, data backups are essential to reduce ransomware attacks.

Our digital future is always clouded, with effective data backups, including ransomware attack risk preparedness, the need to focus on aligning the company’s architecture, which is crucial for business continuity in the long run. Turning the corner and not taking these steps will not take long to rebuild a company like the NBA; Instead, it means the end of business.

Shalom Carmel is the CIO of GlobalDots,

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