Data is the lifeblood of any organization. If you have ever experienced even a small loss of data, you know how true that statement is!
Consider this, you no longer have any financial data, client profiles, ongoing R&D projects, or sensitive internal communications… What would you do? How would you operate? Digital information is essential to the success of your organization, and sometimes we take that for granted. In the modern operating environment, protecting this critical data is becoming a challenging task. The growing adoption of bring your own device (BYOD) schemes has led to a significant increase in the volume and variety of endpoints that need management across the enterprise, while the rise of cloud software applications has created additional security and compliance risks for IT teams.
Despite these obvious vulnerabilities, many businesses are failing to take adequate steps to manage their data. Three out of four decision-makers quizzed in a recent security survey revealed that they didn’t believe their business data was totally secure, yet a surprising number of companies reported that they did not have a formalized data backup and recovery strategy in place. Indeed, 62% of companies rely on cloud services providers to back up critical applications. Although these vendors have a vested interest in ensuring the reliability and integrity of your data, the fact remains that 400% more data loss incidents were reported over the past two years alone.
Here are some key data security concerns that your enterprise service providers may be overlooking.
Has Your Data Been Catalogued and Prioritized?
All data is not equal. The impact of losing inter-office memos would be nothing compared to the loss of customer or financial databases. Before you can respond to a disaster, you need to understand which parts of your information infrastructure are most critical to your business so that you can focus your resources towards recovering this data first.
All data should be ranked based on this metric. Once you have completed the ranking process, identify a clear and targeted timeframe of recovery (this is also known as a Recovery Time Objective – RTO) for each specific data grouping. You will also want to set a Recovery Point Objective as well. Example: Servers will be backed up every 15 minutes, PCs each night. Within that time frame is the amount of data your company can stand to lose and will need to recreate. For more detail about RPO and RTO read here. These simple steps will help you determine how often to back up data and how long older backups will need to be kept for different groups.
How Are You Storing Backups?
Off-site backup solutions like cloud storage help to minimize your up-front investments and ongoing IT management costs while protecting your data from physical threats like flooding or fire. But these advantages also come with some clear drawbacks, including the risk of third-party breaches and delays in starting data recovery when Internet connections are down.
For maximum effectiveness you should adopt a hybrid model that integrates an on-site backup solution such as a network attached storage device (NAS) which can help you recover data quickly. You will need to ensure that any on-site backup solutions are physically secured and accessible only to authorized personnel.
Are Your Backups Being Tested?
The last thing you want to worry about after a malware attack or hardware failure is whether your backups are up-to-date and intact.
A policy of testing your backups can help you identify any deficiencies in your existing systems and develop strategies to mitigate them. Remember, each business is different, if you depend solely on standardized backup solutions offered by an enterprise provider then you might find that these solutions need customization to suit the specific needs of your computing environment. Routine testing should also help you assess whether your backup provider can recover your systems to full functionality within a practical timeframe.
Does Your Backup Provider Follow Best Practices?
Before entering a partnership with backup provider, confirm that they are following data security best practices.
Verify whether your backup vendor produces secondary copies of your data to allow easy roll-backs in case primary backups are corrupted.
Verify that all backups are performed at regular intervals based on the recovery point objectives identified through your initial data discovery and cataloguing.
Verify that your backup vendor has sufficient storage capacity to keep backups for as long as they are required as certain industries impose strict regulations regarding data retention periods.
Has Your Backup Provider Implemented Data Encryption?
Your backup provider should provide end-to-end encryption to protect data from being intercepted and monitored during the transmission process. You should also ensure that any data compression is done before encryption. Once data enters storage, your backup administrator must maintain and protect the security keys which unlock access to your data. If these keys are ever lost, then your backups will be inaccessible.
Does Your Backup Provider Follow the 3-2-1 Rule?
The 3-2-1 rule is a best practice rule for data backup which states you should retain at least three copies of your data, which covers the original file and two backups. The two backups should be stored in two different storage mediums in case one fails. At least one of these backups should be at an off-site location to protect against the threat of localized disasters.
Do You Need a Proven Data Backup Solution?
If you suspect that your business is challenged with implementing these data security policies, then let us help you. We offer specialized data backup management services that can integrate with your existing backup and recovery solutions. Contact us today to find out more.