World Backup Day 2022: Setting it but not forgetting it

There's no excuse anymore not to use automated backup into the cloud or to onsite storage.
Written by Chris Preimesberger, Contributor

Each year, March 31 is designated as World Backup Day, which reminds all of us that we need to back up all our personal and business-related documents, photos, videos — anything digital that we value.

Those of us who have lost important files in the past know what a pain it is — and how much valuable time it takes — to recreate them or make new copies, if that indeed is possible. Thinking ahead and taking the time and attention needed to ensure the protection of data valuables is well worth it and doesn't cost that much.

There's really no excuse anymore not to do this: Automated backup into the cloud or to onsite storage is simple to set up and inexpensive. And there are so many vendors willing to bend over backward for your business that you shouldn't have any problem finding one that fits your needs exactly.

With 60 million computers estimated to fail this year, the time is now to fully embrace the meaning behind World Backup Day, a holiday reminding everyone to take control of data backup plans.

Following are some words of advice from professionals who think about backup and data protection all the time.

Kris Schulze, Director of Product Marketing at Scale Computing: An annual reminder to back up your data, systems, and applications is no longer sufficient. It's not like swapping new batteries into a smoke alarm once per year; we're all vulnerable. Imagine a cyberattack claiming all of your records on March 30 and only having a backup from a year ago. What if your backup has been compromised? Or lost because the equipment was replaced? World Backup Day should be celebrated 365 days per year.

Betsy Doughty, Vice President of Corporate Marketing at Spectra Logic: The importance of data backup cannot be overstated because the loss of data, whether from cybercrime, natural disaster, or human error, has the potential to devastate an organization. Regular backups are essential to ensure business continuity, and it's smart to adhere to the 3-2-1-1 rule: Make three copies of data, on two different mediums, with one offsite and online, and one offsite and offline. With ransomware proliferating; however, it's also vital for organizations to upgrade their IT toolbox with ransomware-resilient solutions that offer such protection as immutable snapshots, data encryption, multifactor authentication and multi-site replication.

Thomas LaRock, Head Geek, SolarWinds: With increasing ransomware and cyber-attacks, a robust database backup strategy is non-negotiable. World Backup Day serves as an opportunity for business and database leaders to think critically about their organization's backup strategy and ensure they are employing the best practices. Consider where you store your data in the cloud, on-premises, or across other systems — because location can have a major impact on cost and the overall effectiveness of your recovery process.

Anneka Gupta, Chief Product Officer at Rubrik: As we continue to see an alarming rise in cyber attacks targeting organizations worldwide–across every industry–it's more critical than ever to have a strong data security posture. And it's not just the sheer number of attacks – the increasing sophistication of these attacks with tools like ransomware-as-a-service, and even wipeware – have made it clear that organizations can't rely on legacy backup and recovery solutions alone. What's more, the potential of cyber warfare as a result of heightened global turmoil is creating even more urgency around the issue.

Adrian Moir, Technology Evangelist and Principal Engineer, Quest Software: Recovering data from a backup after a ransomware attack is the cure to the problem, but prevention will always be better than a cure. Data must be secured from both a data and an access point of view, which can be done through MFA, obfuscating data sets, encryption of data sets, immutable data, and more. With plenty of solution options out there, organizations should choose to provide the level of immutability and access control needed to proactively stop ransomware attacks before they happen.

W. Curtis Preston, Chief Technical Evangelist, Druva: As organizations seek to move their business forward and safeguard critical data against today's threats, solely relying on backup is no longer a sufficient strategy. Businesses must adopt a modern approach to data resiliency -- one that is grounded in the cloud, positions teams to recover data rather than just trying to make a backup, stops ransomware attacks before they spread, and protects data and applications against emerging threats. This World Backup Day, instead of solemnly swearing to just back up your most important data - reevaluate your protection strategies and take the pledge of resiliency.

Steve Petryschuk, Product Strategy Director at Auvik: This year on March 31, I want everyone to join me in solemnly swearing (but in family-friendly language!) to back up our important documents and precious memories. But, before we do, here are some helpful tips to reference during the process:

  • Tip #1: Automate your backups. Don't spend your precious time manually backing up your workstations and network devices. 

  • Tip #2:  Check regularly to make sure your automated backups are running regularly. 

  • Tip #3:  Make an off-site copy of your backup. That could be to the cloud, or to another physical location. You just don't want all your data in one location. 

  • Tip #4: Test your backups. You don't want to find out your backups are corrupted when you're in need of them. Test restoring them often to ensure you have a solid recovery plan.

  • Tip #5: Make sure you're backing up as much as you can. We often think about workstations and servers to back up, but don't forget about other data types, such as data hosted in your cloud services. 

Ian McShane, VP, Strategy, Arctic Wolf: So it's cool that you backed up your systems and you stored your critical data offline somewhere, but when was the last time you actually restored something from bare metal? If you're not regularly testing and validating the integrity of the back-ups, you're living dangerously.

Do you know how long it takes to bring a server, a system, or an entire site back online? Remember what works for someone else isn't the same benchmark for you. I am aware that this is time-consuming and a pain - it's often out of hours and there are always more important things to do. However, incident response is not just about stopping adversaries and preventing malware; incident response includes the recovery phase.

If you have confidence in data integrity, and confidence and experience in the process to bring something back, not only will your incident response be smoother and predictable, you'll sleep better, too.

Eddy Farrat, Senior Director, Product Management, OpenText Security Solutions: Here are three tips for those looking to strengthen backup and data protection policies in 2022:

  • Don't confuse cloud storage and cloud backup. Cloud storage supplements existing hard drive space and requires manual selection of the files an organization wants to store in the cloud. There are security risks involved; it doesn't include data integrity checks, and the data in transit is not necessarily encrypted. Cloud storage also lacks file versioning and point-in-time restore. Cloud backup service, on the other hand, lets organizations restore files in the event of data loss, automatically saves and syncs files on designated devices to the cloud, and often includes private-key encryption.

  • Know your data. Learn what data your business cannot function without. Identifying mission-critical data allows businesses to prioritize backup tasks based on desired recovery options. Take the time to learn what data is part of a critical application and how it impacts business operations and/or revenue. Consider whether the data needs to be archived, whether it lives in a legacy system or if it is subject to regulatory frameworks. Backup plans should account for all data and storage a business has, from cloud to local, including archived data.

  • Determine whether backup and disaster recovery solutions are best kept on-premises or in the cloud. With the shift to remote work, many businesses and IT organizations have accelerated their cloud adoption. However, many IT decision-makers still rely heavily on traditional on-premises infrastructure to support business operations. This is especially important if organizations have stringent recovery time objectives (RTOs) or if they want to keep a central repository of data. Regularly reviewing data policies and procedures is highly recommended. 

Lee Caswell, SVP of Nutanix:

  • It's not a matter of "if" but "when" your organization will experience an outage or data security breach. It's essential that businesses make their backup and recovery solution a strategic advantage instead of a liability to minimize service interruptions. Unplanned outages can result in losses of over $9,000 per minute, loss of productivity and damage to a business brand.

  • Many businesses find themselves purchasing cyber liability insurance following a loss because suddenly the risk has been realized. Adopt a proactive cyber risk mindset and ensure you have protections in place, like insurance policies, that will help minimize the fallout from cyber-attacks. 

  • Just because you operate in the public cloud, don't assume that your applications and data are backed up or easily recoverable. Businesses need to conduct an audit to know exactly what's backed up, how often it is saved and where they can access the backup when needed.

  • Businesses should confirm that their backup and disaster recovery systems provide efficient snapshot, cloning and replication capabilities and have the ability for further customization to meet their specific needs.

Raghu Kulkarni, IDrive CEO: Over the past few years, the need for affordable and secure cloud backup has grown exponentially. With more people working from home, the release of 5G, along with advancements in phones, data is being generated more than ever before, and it's important to protect that data from personal family photos to critical business data. Cloud backup is an essential part of everyday business along with everyday living now, and consumers & businesses need to have it.

Deepak Mohan, EVP at Veritas: World Backup Day 2022 is a powerful reminder that there has never been a more critical time for all organizations to prioritize robust data protection practices. Leaders must work with their IT teams to take the necessary steps now to implement the right tools and protocols that can autonomously self-provision, self-optimize and self-heal data management services to keep their critical data safe and available no matter where it is — from edge to core to cloud.

Paul Speciale, Chief Product Officer of Scality: The major transition to remote work we've all experienced over the last two years consequently changed the demands for data protection and how organizations do storage and backup. It's important to understand how the appropriate storage solution is the make-or-break element in a company's backup and disaster recovery plan -- particularly in the current hybrid and remote work landscape. 

If organizations don't have strong backup and recovery infrastructure, they are in jeopardy of losing their most valuable assets -- their data. An object storage system creates a platform that eliminates many problems present with legacy solutions: unlimited scale, a global pool of data for deduplication, single-system management and cloud-like pay-as-you-go costs. In conjunction with the right backup management engine, it also offers the possibility of providing your employees with the kind of self-service backup and recovery they need in a remote world where speed is of the essence and efficiency is front and center and allows for a more fine-grained authentication and security system.

Ambuj Kumar, CEO and co-founder of Fortanix: In our view, "World Backup Day" should really be known as "World Backup and Secure Day." In other words, backups that aren't secure are useless in today's world. Encrypting sensitive data allows it to be backed up more effectively, because no matter where it goes, it remains secure. And if you don't encrypt your data, it's a safe bet that someone else will. This is particularly important as ransomware becomes a greater threat every day. And the precondition to "peaceful" backups is taking care of the encryption key; most businesses looking to deploy data encryption lack an effective key management strategy, which ultimately increases the risk that their data will become compromised.

Joe Noonan, Product Executive, Backup and Disaster Recovery for Unitrends and Spanning at Kaseya: World Backup Day is a great reminder for businesses to take a closer look at their full business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) plans -- which includes everything from the solutions they use to their disaster recovery run book.

The shift to remote working completely transformed the way organizations protect and store their data. Today, there is a greater focus on protecting data no matter where it lives -- on-prem, on the laptops of remote employees, in clouds and in SaaS applications. Recovery time objectives (RTOs) are increasingly shrinking in today's always-on world, with goals being set in hours-if not minutes. Cybercriminals have taken advantage of the remote and hybrid work environments to conduct increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks, and the data recovery process post-incident has become more complex due to new cyber insurance requirements. These new regulations include critical audits and tests that businesses must comply with in order to restore their data and receive a payout after an attack - which can slow down the recovery process.

With data protection becoming increasingly complex, more organizations are turning to vendors that provide Unified BCDR, which includes backup and disaster recovery, AI-based automation and ransomware safeguards as well as disaster-recovery-as-a-service (DRaaS). Unified BCDR has become a necessity due to the growing amount of data organizations must protect and the increasing number of cyberattacks taking place against businesses of all sizes.

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