Data is the lifeblood of busy organizations. Worldwide data is expected to explode to 175 zettabytes by 2025, representing 61% CAGR1. 51% of the data is expected to be in data centers and 49% will likely be in the cloud. 90 ZB of this data will be from IoT devices in 2025. And 80% of data is predicted to be unstructured by 2025.2 With such exponential growth and dependency on data, the stakes of protecting mission-critical data have never been higher.
The need to build resilience to avoid downtime
Organizations today are being digitally disrupted almost daily. Rising cybersecurity threats. Unpredictable natural disasters. Power outages. Equipment failure. You name it. Data backup and recovery safeguards critical data, applications and systems from permanent loss that can cause major business disruptions.
As a busy “as-a-service” managed security provider serving customers nationwide, our teams at Magna5 regularly tell our customers to be prepared for the unexpected. Recently, one of our customers, a multi-state supplier of technical motion and control systems and industrial lubrication solutions, was a victim of a ransomware attack. Fortunately, they were able to bounce back quickly. We were providing VMware image-based backups with off-site replication leveraging Commvault software. As a result, we recovered multiple Windows systems, including web servers and Microsoft SQL servers, on our hosting platform located in our secure Iron Mountain datacenters. The customer also had an offsite air-gapped copy of their data that allowed them to fully recover and resume business operations after the ransomware attack.
Many organizations are not so fortunate. Research shows a business will fall victim to a ransomware attack every 11 seconds in 2021.3 The average cost of a data breach is $3.86 million.4 Roughly 40-60% of midsize businesses never reopen after a disaster.[add source citation] Even more eye opening … 90% of businesses that experience a disaster and do not resume operations in five days go out of business within the first year.5 With regular data backup, organizations can ensure data security and business continuity in the event of data loss. To bounce back quickly in the event of a disaster, a fully managed backup-as-a-service strategy makes a lot of sense to avoid downtime when catastrophe occurs.
What questions should you be asking when determining the right Backup-as-a-Service for your organization?
- How quickly do I need to get back online in the event of an outage? How much data loss can I tolerate? Will the solution meet those needs?
- Can my environment be managed and monitored 24/7with recovery time objective (RTO), recovery point objective (RPO) or service level agreements?
- Can I deliver compliant-ready data governance so organizations can streamline their information collection and handling? Do my processes allow contextualizing, rule application and implementing regulation requirements to satisfy GDPR, HIPAA, PCI, CCPA and more?
- Do I have built-in redundancies and failover capabilities to prevent downtime, are such connections impacted if, for example, power lines go down in a natural disaster?
- Can I restoredata across multiple types of data layers and locations – on-premises environments, public and private clouds?
- Do I have a testing schedule to ensure your backup recovery works? How often should data backups be performed?
A checklist to get you started
To avoid business disruption or downtime, here is a good checklist to help ensure your organization can respond rapidly when disaster strikes.
- Define your tolerance for downtime and data loss.
Know in advance which networks, applications and data are mission critical. Which ones must be restored in a matter of milliseconds vs. those that can wait to be restored within hours? For example: If you are a Tier 1 bank with high-transaction applications, you cannot afford a high RPO. You need a short RTO to get your business back up and running full speed. Data types can be assigned to multiple tiers with specific RPO/RTO, personalizing recovery to business-critical data first and restoring non-critical data later.
- Build in redundancies and failovers to reduce downtime.
In a typical natural disaster, power lines may be down, buildings flooded, internet connections slowed, or the virtual private network cannot handle the extra workload. Be sure you have multiple layers of WAN connectivity to failover to unimpacted links for smooth network operations. Built-in dynamic traffic orchestration can also make a difference in redirecting struggling traffic connections to a better connection without a session drop.
- Ensure backups are offsite and disconnected.
A hosted backup and disaster recovery-as-a-service solution in a cloud environment copies your data in a secure data center disconnected from your network. Backed up data can be stored locally and replicated to an offsite data center or sent directly to the data center from your servers. You can specify recovery for an entire virtual environment or specific end-user systems, cloud applications and enterprise infrastructures.
- Verify that you can restore data across multiple types of data layers and locations.
Your data backup and disaster recovery should be deployed to and from multiple platforms – on-premises environments, public and private clouds. Check to see if you can recover both the state and data inside hypervisors. Choose the quickest route for recovery – full recovery vs. rebuild – and populate data.
- Review and test your data backup and disaster recovery regularly.
You would be surprised how many data backup and disaster recovery plans are collecting dust on the shelf covering systems five years old when the company was half the size. When it comes to disaster recovery, you are only as good as your last test! A testing schedule is the single most important part of any data backup and disaster recovery plan. Remember, a failing test is not a bad thing as it alerts you to problems early rather than finding them during a crisis. It is important your data backup and disaster recovery plan is up to date on current systems and have been tested at least once a year. This way you can feel confident that your business can fully recover without data loss or problems in the event of a real data disaster.
- Monitor backups to ensure they work.
More and more companies are relying on managed service providers to manage and support their organizations’ scheduling, alerting and testing process 24/7/365. They can easily failover and back up virtual machines or an entire site, with zero data loss and minimal disruption.
Safeguarding your data with reliable backup should not be a battleground. Managed data backup-as-a-service with seamless recovery can provide organizations with better assurance their data and network recovery are in good hands. If you need to team up with a trusted partner, do not wait for a disaster to strike. Let Magna5’s experts do the heavy lifting of managing and monitoring your data backup activities to protect your organization’s critical assets … on-premises, in the cloud or wherever your data resides.
Magna5 provides managed IT, voice and connectivity solutions to mid-market and enterprise customers nationwide, including leaders within the education, healthcare, government, financial services and other industry segments. Within the managed services offerings, Magna5 provides security services, data backup, disaster recovery management, hosting services, and IT consulting from their 24/7/365 fully staffed Operations Center. The company also provides voice and data services, as well as a host of “above the net” cloud services, and operates a proprietary, secure network designed to leverage diversified carriers and infrastructure in targeted points-of-presence (PoPs) throughout the United States, a key strategy for network reliability. Headquartered in Frisco, TX, Magna5 operates nationally and has office locations in Pittsburgh; San Antonio; Seattle; and Troy, NY.
3 Cybercrime to Cost the World $10.5 Trillion Annually by 2025 [Cybersecurity Ventures]
4 Average Cost of a Data Breach in 2020: $3.86M [Dark Reading]
5 A Good Business Leader Will Prepare for a Disaster. Here’s How [Environmental Defense Fund]