Why Backing Up Your Data is Critical To Your Business

Data is the lifeblood of modern organizations, powering critical processes, insights, and decision-making. As businesses rely more on data, robust backup and disaster recovery solutions are paramount. 

The first step is understanding the significance of data backup and recovery strategies and the impact on an organization’s ability to bounce back after an outage or cyber-attack.

What is Backup and Disaster Recovery in Data Storage?

Data backup is how you create copies of your data so that there is multiple copies at all times, reducing the risk of data loss. 

Disaster recovery refers to the plan and strategy that is in place to ensure seamless recovery in the event of data loss or system failures. 

Why Your Organization Needs This In Place

As ransomware attacks, natural disasters, and human errors become more frequent, organizations of all sizes and industries need to be protected from data breaches, hardware failures, natural disasters, and ransomware attacks.

Losing data at any level has severe business consequences, including financial losses, legal liabilities, damaged reputation, and operational disruptions. Organizations have not survived data loss, which is why IT teams need to ensure their business is set up to get their data back in a timely, safe fashion. 

A comprehensive backup and disaster recovery plan is crucial to minimize downtime and ensure business continuity in the face of unforeseen events.

Backup and Data Recovery Strategies

Now that we know how important backup and recovery is, let’s look at how organizations can create tailored data backup and recovery strategies that meet their specific business requirements. 

These strategies include determining data retention policies, setting recovery point objectives (RPOs), and defining recovery time objectives (RTOs) and then building a platform that can hit those requirements. 

How would an organization determine its RPO?

Organizations determine their Recovery Point Objective (RPO) by evaluating the amount of acceptable data loss in the event of a disaster or system failure. This assessment is closely tied to their data criticality and business continuity requirements. 

The RPO defines the maximum interval between data backups or snapshots, representing the point in time to which data must be restored to minimize data loss. 

Organizations consider various factors, such as the frequency of data updates, data transaction volumes, and the potential impact of data loss on business operations. Through a comprehensive analysis of these factors and close collaboration between IT, data management teams, and business stakeholders, the organization can establish a suitable RPO that ensures data integrity and supports effective disaster recovery planning. 

How would an organization determine its RTO?

Organizations determine their Recovery Time Objective (RTO) by assessing the maximum tolerable downtime for critical business processes and applications in the event of a disruption or disaster. 

The RTO represents the targeted time within which systems, applications, and data must be fully restored and operations to resume normal business operations. Factors such  as the complexity of the IT infrastructure, the availability of resources, the type of data, and the complexity of applications all play a role in determining the RTO. Business stakeholders, IT teams, and data management experts collaborate to set a realistic and achievable RTO that aligns with the organization’s business continuity goals. 

By understanding the impact of potential downtime on business processes, the organization can implement appropriate data protection and disaster recovery strategies to minimize downtime and ensure timely restoration of services in the face of any unforeseen events.

What is the 3-2-1 Backup Rule?

The 3-2-1 backup rule is a widely recommended standard for data protection as it sets you up to recover fully when needed. 

This rule suggests that you should have the following:

 3 copies of critical data on 2 different storage media, with 1 copy stored off-site 

As you can see, this strategy provides a structured template to work off of to ensure redundancy and resilience against data loss.

Off-Site Backup / On-Prem Backup / Cloud Backup

Organizations have multiple options for storing their backups, such as off-site backups in secure locations, on-premises backups using dedicated hardware, or leveraging cloud backup solutions. Each approach offers unique advantages, and a combination of these methods can enhance data protection.

1. Physical Security1. Complete Control1. Scalability
2. Geographic Diversity2. Low latency2. Accessibility
3. Regulatory compliance3. Cost-efficiency 3. Automation &
4. Redundancy 4. Data sovereignty 4. Rapid recovery
1. Physical transportation1. Hardware maintenance1. Internet dependency
2. Limited access2. Scalability constraints 2. Security concerns
3. Cost considerations3. Disaster vulnerability 3. Data transfer times
4. Dependcy on service providers 4. Complexity 4. Long-term costs

Immutable Backups – What Are They?

Immutable backups are write-once, read-many (WORM) snapshots that cannot be altered, deleted, or modified. This feature ensures data integrity and protects against cyber threats like ransomware attacks, where malicious actors target backup data to render the organization vulnerable.

An example of an Immutable Backup strategy leveraging StorONE as a backup target is as follows:

Consider a financial institution that prioritizes data protection and resilience against ransomware attacks. The organization uses StorONE as its backup target in a hybrid backup approach, employing immutable snapshots, snapshot schedules, and vReplicate for added security and redundancy.

  1. Backup to StorONE: The financial institution backs up critical data from its primary storage systems to StorONE’s highly reliable and scalable backup target utilizing the advanced features allow the organization to create efficient and space-saving backups of their data.
  2. Immutable Snapshots: Leveraging StorONE’s Immutable Snapshots, the institution establishes periodic backups that are immutable in nature. Once the data is written, it cannot be altered, deleted, or tampered with, providing a secure foundation for data integrity.
  3. Data Integrity and Security: Immutable backup strategies guarantee data integrity and protects against ransomware threats. In case of an attack, the organization can confidently restore its data from a known good state without fear of ransomware encrypting or modifying the backup data.
  4. Snapshot Schedules: StorONE’s flexible snapshot schedules allow the financial institution to create regular and consistent backups. By setting up automated and immutable snapshots at scheduled intervals, the institution ensures that critical data is protected without manual intervention.
  5. vReplicate for Redundancy: To enhance data protection and further safeguard against data loss, the financial institution leverages StorONE’s vReplicate feature. vReplicate allows the institution to replicate the Immutable Snapshots to other locations or secondary StorONE systems, creating additional copies of the backup data for disaster recovery purposes.
  6. Access Control: StorONE enables multi-admin authorization for any system changes, ensuring that only authorized personnel can manage and protect the Immutable Snapshots. Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) adds an extra layer of security, preventing any unauthorized modifications to the backup data.

By employing Immutable Snapshots, Snapshot Schedules, and leveraging vReplicate with StorONE as a backup target, the financial institution ensures that its backup data remains tamper-proof, secure, and redundant. Utilizing the advanced snapshot  capabilities, combined with vReplicate, they can safeguard critical data and provide robust protection against potential data loss or cyber threats.

Do My Backups Need to be Immutable?

In a short answer, yes. 

Incorporating immutable backups in your data protection strategy can be a game-changer in safeguarding against ransomware and other data manipulation threats. By preventing unauthorized changes to your backups, you can ensure data availability and integrity during disaster recovery scenarios.

If your backups are not immutable, they are susceptible to unauthorized changes, which can have severe consequences during disaster recovery scenarios. 

Look at an example of what could happen if backups are not immutable:

A healthcare organization is facing a ransomware attack that successfully infiltrated its systems, including the primary storage and backup infrastructure. 

The attackers identify the location of the backup data and manipulate the backups, rendering them unusable for recovery purposes. 

Since the backups are not immutable, the ransomware can easily encrypt or modify the backup data, leaving the organization without a reliable and unaffected data source to restore from.

In this situation, the organization’s ability to recover its critical patient records, medical histories, and operational data becomes compromised. The lack of immutable backups opens up vulnerabilities in the data protection strategy, and the organization will be forced to pay the ransom to regain access to its own data, leading to potential financial loss and reputational damage.

However, if the backups were immutable, the ransomware attack would have been thwarted from altering or deleting the backup data. The organization would have a secure, tamper-proof data source to initiate the recovery process, ensuring minimal data loss and downtime during the restoration.

How Does Your Backup Affect RPO/RTO? 

A well-designed backup system can reduce downtime and data loss, enabling faster recovery and mitigating the impact of disruptive incidents. By incorporating features like immutable snapshots, vReplicate for data protection across locations, and efficient data placement, you can optimize RPO and RTO, enhancing data availability, resilience, and overall business continuity. 

Reducing RPO and RTO is highly advantageous for organizations, as a shorter RPO means less data will be lost in the event of an incident, ensuring minimal disruption to business operations and reducing the risk of critical information being permanently lost. 

A lower RTO enables faster recovery, allowing businesses to resume normal operations swiftly and preventing potential revenue loss, customer dissatisfaction, and reputational damage. By investing in a robust backup and disaster recovery solution like StorONE, organizations can achieve these goals, providing a solid foundation for data protection and peace of mind.

What To Do Next

Data backup and recovery are not just optional practices; they are essential components of a robust data management strategy. By implementing reliable backup solutions, adhering to the 3-2-1 backup rule, and embracing immutable backups, organizations can protect their data and ensure seamless recovery when faced with adversity. Prioritizing data protection is a proactive step towards building resilience and ensuring uninterrupted operations in an increasingly data-driven world.

In today’s data-centric world, ensuring comprehensive data protection is paramount for any organization. StorONE’s 360-degree data protection backup strategy offers a cutting-edge solution that aligns perfectly with the principles discussed above. By combining advanced technologies such as immutable backups, vReplicate, and optimized data placement, StorONE empowers organizations to take their data protection to the next level.

Learn more about how StorONE can help you create a 360° Ransomware Recovery Plan that will keep your data safe and get you back up and running in no time. 

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