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Data Backup: Valuable Lifeline Or Chore?

Data backup can be efficient and straightforward – or obsolete that only offers the functionality of a filing cabinet in virtual space. But now it is high time to pay more attention to data security and backup, as it is the only insurance against any IT failures because the defence against threats is good, but no one can intercept all attacks. Backup is the only way to resume operations and limit damage quickly if an incident occurs.

However, no employee and manager should think that someone in the IT department will take care of the data backup and cover possible breakdowns after the setup. That’s wrong. Both the nature of the backup solution and a company’s contingency plan ultimately determine how quickly lost, or encrypted data can be restored – if at all.

Create Awareness Of Data Security

Without creating a strategy tailored to the company, the battle is paid half. An important step here is the classification of relevant data to plan the order of their recovery according to importance. Backup and recovery are not a side issue. It should be made a top priority. This is a plea for more attention to data protection strategy and an inventory of the backup culture.

An awareness of data backup always develops when you have had bad experiences. It starts in the private sphere: people who have lost holiday or wedding photos or other important data due to a lack of data backup are compassionate when it comes to backups. Apart from that, there is not too much interest in the subject here. With companies, it is quite different. Almost every company with an existing IT infrastructure uses a backup solution.

Nevertheless, those responsible pay too little attention to the topic in some places. Awareness of data backup is generally not particularly pronounced among non-IT employees. Whether this is even necessary since the IT departments ultimately take care of it arises. However, if an email is accidentally deleted or other problems are noticed, every employee should know what to do or know who to contact and how to describe the issue.

A Recovery Plan Affects All Employees

An essential part of the backup strategy is the recovery plan, which may also be necessary for non-IT employees. However, due to the worsening situation caused by ransomware attacks, awareness has also been raised somewhat here. When working from home and the associated connection to business data, it is essential for non-IT employees to have the particular basic knowledge. If the company does not store necessary data directly on the server, protected by backup software, care should be taken not to overwrite false documents.

It generally helps if every employee thinks about how and where their documents are stored and secured. However, with reasonable backup solutions, there are also locally buffered backups for internet or power failures, representing reliable insurance against losses. The topic is also increasingly being heard on the management floors, and that’s a good thing. Because IT security is a top priority in an emergency, nobody else can decide to shut down the system completely, for example, to prevent the spread of malware.

Act Out Scenarios Of Data Loss

Ransomware attacks are the dominant, although not the most common, cause of data loss. Configuration errors, hardware damage, and human errors are common causes. Still, they are far from having the scope of an attack since recovery can usually be carried out quickly and safely. With SSD drives, there was a case where the firmware had an expiration date, and after that, access to the data was no longer possible. It would be best to inform yourself beforehand because such mistakes are avoidable. But with a suitable data backup strategy, you are also protected here.

The human factor still poses a risk today. If a file is overwritten or something is accidentally deleted, data loss can occur. But even here, the consequences are reasonable. How well the data can be recovered in the event of an attack largely depends on how quickly the incident is noticed, and the system can be shut down if necessary. The main focus should be on this loss scenario and on how to prepare well for such operations with a sophisticated emergency plan by the incident response team.

Prevention And Planning Of Data Backup

For many people in charge, backup storage must, above all, be cheap. You implement a solution once and tick the box like a completed insurance policy. That’s better than no backup. But suppose performance is essential and should be restored quickly in an emergency. In that case, you have to deal more with the topic, consider comprehensive solutions and make the subject a top priority.

The KRITIS operators are further along here. There is higher awareness, and there is more budget available. This helps to dig deeper into the discussion. It often fails due to a lack of planning. The chances of restoring all data depend on how quickly the company can react and which systems are affected. Do you have to restore entire environments, rebuild core systems, restore applications? An analysis in advance is essential so that everyone knows the processes in an emergency. The Incident Response Team should map out all possible scenarios beforehand to be prepared. The decisive factor is whether the attackers have compromised the backup structure or whether you still have control over it.

Consider The Challenges Of Backing Up Data

Shared responsibility is still a big issue for companies—different SaaS providers, different clouds, and additional usage agreements everywhere. You have to realise that the providers are not legally responsible for data backup and should check this on a case-by-case basis. As a rule, however, external solutions are more powerful and safer anyway. The challenge with containers is compatibility. It is not possible to put containers unchanged in the cloud. There are other storage classes in the cloud than on-premises, to name just one example. Box K10 creates absolute workload mobility here, adapted to various services.

Overall, the backup culture is a cultivated one. Most companies have a comprehensive system and plan in place in an emergency. Nevertheless, from time to time, there is a need to check the backup solution used for performance and security and to make all employees aware of the rough functionality and internal emergency procedures. Automation will have progressed from system updates, backup, deployment, and policy management to data classification in a few years. But that is a lot of work initially, and you need qualified staff and a budget. That’s why some companies are still a long way from automating, even if it would be a relief in the long run. 

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