What Happened to My Data?
Understand the Dangers of Insufficient Backup Procedures
By SEAN HOGANToday’s businesses are operating at a blistering pace, and IT infrastructure has become the backbone of small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs) across the nation. The complexity and strain placed on networks has exposed these businesses to greater security threats than ever before.
Natural disasters, power outages, employee errors, and failed system upgrades all pose significant threats to the network, and failing to address these risks can cause severe network damage and immobilize a company for hours, days, or weeks. The best way to combat this dynamic is to understand the risks, address the problem, and make sure the proper precautions have been taken.
One of the risks most easily mitigated is when data simply hasn’t been backed up. Oftentimes, organizations fail to have a regular backup procedure in place, whether partially or completely, and having a data-backup program can help get around this issue.
According to Symantec’s 2011 SMB Disaster Preparedness Survey, “only half [of SMBs] back up at least 60% of their data,” meaning they would lose 40% of their data in the event of a disaster. In addition, organizations often fail to back up corporate PCs, or take an all-or-nothing approach if it can’t be all-inclusive. For example, of those surveyed, 31% don’t back up e-mail, 21% don’t back up application data, and 17% don’t back up customer data.
The biggest benefit to having a process in place is that employees never have to redo work. If data is ever lost, it can be recovered rather quickly and with minimal effort.
Another risk to address is failing to protect branch offices or telecommuters. ‘Out of sight, out of mind’ doesn’t exactly fare too well in the corporate arena. When businesses are subject to compliance or regulatory standards, they must ensure that all company endpoints are protected in an appropriate fashion. When there is a centralized IT support staff, they can often overlook users that are not primarily in the office, as in the case of salespeople, for example.
Failure to consistently back up company data is another common oversight. The benefit of having an automated or regularly scheduled backup is paramount. According to Enterprise Security Group, even with all the advancements in storage technology, only about 20% of backup jobs are successful. This is exactly why consistency and frequency are such key metrics in evaluating any backup solution.
Utilizing outdated equipment such as tape or disk media poses a threat in that these solutions are hardware, meaning they can be lost, stolen, or improperly stored. Any of those situations usually results in irretrievable data, therefore rendering that equipment useless when a recovery is most needed.
Today’s business continuity and disaster-recovery solutions address these risks and provide a software-based solution that virtualizes all data to the cloud. This enhances overall performance by providing greater accuracy, efficiency, security, and archiving functionality to a business’s disaster-recovery plan.
Simply put, technology has come too far for businesses to have to deal with the notion of losing important data and risking going out of business. With today’s powerful solutions and the assistance of a trusted IT advisor, SMBs can protect themselves, their employees, and their customers’ data from these threats.
Sean Hogan is president of Easthampton-based Hogan Technology, a business-technology company that specializes in increasing customer profitability and efficiency through the use of technology www.teamhogan.com