A business’s data is one of their most important assets and without it, they would be unable to function. Most companies understand this and have a disaster recovery plan in place, however 23% of businesses have never tested their plans. There are many risks to a business’s data, so it is important for them to test and reassess their disaster recovery plans often to limit data loss. The backbone to any disaster recovery plan is proper backup, in this article we will discuss the risks to your business’s data and how to ensure your backups will be effective in supporting your disaster recovery plan.
The Risks to a Business’s Data
When considering the importance of data backup, first you must consider what are the common causes of data loss within a business. In the past the three main risks to data were hardware malfunction, accidental deletion and natural disasters. Hardware malfunction is when a storage device ceases to work, this is most common in disk drives where the disk or the arm would fail causing data to be lost. Human error is a common cause of data loss, this occurs when employees permanently delete or overwrite critical data. Physical disasters are not common, however fire, floods and other natural disasters pose a risk to on-premises and off-premises data storage locations. Whilst these risks are remain relevant in 2021, in the past 5 years the most prominent risks to data have been cybersecurity incidents. This includes the rise of ransomware attacks and system breaches leading to data loss. With how prevelant these attacks have become, it is no longer a case of ‘if’ a business will fall victim to an attack, it is a case of ‘when’. For this reason, it is clear that businesses should have a comprehensive backup plan in place to ensure business continuity when these incidents happen.
Types of Backup Storage
The simplest form of backup is data backup to local disks. This is where data is regularly backed up to another drive on a PC or to an external hard drive. Although this is a fast and convenient method of backup, it offers no protection against a natural disaster, or a ransomware attack if it is stored on the local drive. Depending on the amount of data and employees, this solution is often not suitable for large environments.
One of the most common form of backup storage is data backup to NAS. A NAS or Network Attached Storage is a network device that allows all users connected to the network to access and backup their data. As data is regularly backed up it can be quickly recovered in the event of a cybersecurity incident or accidental deletion. The main downside to this data storage method is, as it is on-premises it offers no protection to natural disasters.
In order to overcome the risk of natural disasters, at least one copy of data should be stored off-premises. A traditional method of off-premises storage is data backup to tapes. This is where data is stored on tape devices over 100 miles away from the business location. This enables business continuity if there is a data loss incident or natural disaster at the business location, however the time to recover is increased as the tapes need to be collected or shipped from the off-premises storage location.
The modern equivalent of tape storage is data backup to cloud storage. This has all the benefits of tape storage, but can be quickly accessed to avoid downtime within a business. It is also a more flexible solution as it does not require any additional infrastructure within a business.
Backup Best Practices
The traditional backup best practice is the 3-2-1 rule. This states that business should keep 3 copies of all data, this includes one primary copy and at least 2 backups, copies of data should be on at least 2 types of storage and 1 copy of the data should be stored off-premises. Although this method is still effective, with businesses undergoing a digital transformation, the advent of cloud technologies and the ever-evolving cyber security threat landscape, this rule is being superseded by the 3-2-2 rule.
The 3-2-2 rule states that a business should keep 3 copies of all data, one primary, a synced version through One Drive for Business and a cloud copy. The data should be stored on 2 different clouds, such as One Drive for Business and Acronis. This means that the data is stored in 2 off-premises locations for maximum redundancy. Moving to this rule allows for faster recovery from a data loss incident and easy access of all necessary data, regardless of where employees are working.
Backup Software Solutions
For a business to ensure that backups are completed regularly and effectively, a software solution should be in place to limit downtime after an incident and ensure business continuity. Acronis Cyber Protect combines backup, recovery, protection management and cyber security. With this software solution full-image and file-level backups are completed regularly and can be stored in the cloud or on a NAS. Acronis Cyber Protect also uses an AI-based behavioural detection engine for zero-day attack prevention and has built in ransomware recovery to ensure that all risks to data are accounted for.
If you want to find out more on how to protect your business and backup your data correctly, get in contact with us today.