Facing a constant rise of cyberthreats from ransomware attacks to social engineering scams, businesses are under increasing pressure to prepare for the worst. In doing so, they need to implement multiple layers of security to protect their most valuable assets. This includes an IT backup strategy that they can fall back on should a serious incident occur.
What should an IT backup strategy include?
No business leader likes to think about the worst possible eventuality. Yet it’s an inescapable truth that, for many companies, large-scale data loss can result in far worse than expensive downtime and lost customers alone. In some cases, particularly where the company is unable to demonstrate a reasonable attempt at remediate, it might even face law suits or bankruptcy.
One of the most common industry standards is the 3-2-1 IT backup strategy. Although it’s not a fix-all approach that works perfectly in every case, it does serve as a baseline rule. It states that you should keep at least three copies of your data, with two backup up on different storage mediums, and at least one backup stored off-site. However, some experts now recommend a 3-2-2 or 3-2-3 approach, whereby two or even three copies of your data are stored off-site.
When formulating your IT backup strategy, you also need to think about your recovery goals. These will help you prioritize your resources based on factors like the following:
- How valuable the data is to your operations
- Whether the data is subject to regulatory requirements
- Which risks face the data systems in question
For each data category and system, you’ll also need to define a recovery time objective (RTO) and a recovery point objective (RPO). These key parameters govern the maximum amount of time your business can be without a specific system or data set and how much data you can afford to lose before suffering irreparable damage. For example, an RTO of two days may be fine for a system that holds employee records in the HR department, but you might not fare so well if your CRM is down for any longer than a few hours.
If you’re still not convinced it’s worth investing in an IT backup strategy, here are some of the most important reasons why you should:
#1. Technology failures
Any computing equipment can fail without any warning, and all devices have a limited lifespan, after which they start developing problems. Threats like power surges can also cause damage to storage devices, especially if the power goes out while data is being written to them. Even today’s cutting-edge data centers have multiple redundancies in place, including those which are impervious to electrical damage.
#2. Human error
While every business leader wants their employees to excel at their jobs, human error remains a significant risk. It might be something as simple as failing to install a critical system update or forgetting to shut down a computer properly. However, by far the most common example of human error is succumbing to a social engineering scam, which can result in a ransomware infection or other threat.
Cyberattacks often exploit human ignorance or unpreparedness by way of phishing scams, but most incorporate various elements, such as malicious code and malware. Cyberattacks can strike anyone in any organization at any time. Ransomware, for example, can render all your data inaccessible, even if you do decide to take your chances paying a ransom. It’s much better to have a recent backup located off-site on an entirely separate network instead.
#4. Physical theft
Physical theft might not seem like such a big deal now that most computing workloads happen in the cloud. However, employees still need local devices, such as smartphones, workstations, and laptops, to access the apps and data they use for work. Mobile devices especially face a greater risk of loss or theft, which could in turn lead to your apps and data falling into the wrong hands. Criminals often use stolen devices to access and compromise cloud-hosted data.
#5. Mother nature
Natural disasters, such as storms, floods, and fires, can wreak havoc on any business. Most companies never reopen their doors to business again following a serious natural disaster, so it stands to reason that you need to prepare for all the possible threats in your region. Today’s reliance on digital technology actually makes that much easier, since it’s possible for many companies to resume operations online, even if their regular workspace is rendered unusable.
Charles IT helps ensure your business leaves nothing to chance with tailor-made backup and disaster recovery plans and cloud-hosted storage solutions you can count on. Contact us today to learn more!