Saturday, November 25, 2017

World Backup Day: 10 experts on changing digital culture habits so you avoid falling victim to April Fools’ day pranks

Every year around the globe companies are reminded on March 31st that backup is not just a sales pitch but a critical practice to any business with digital assets.

According to the World Backup Day organisation, the day was chosen to be the day before April 1st (April Fools) “in order to drive the message that one should backup all those pictures, spreadsheets, love letters, cat pictures, and important financial documents before it is too late”.

World Backup Day founder Ismail Jadun, has previously said:  “We all know someone who has lost critical data, whether it was their videos, photos, music, book reports, or personal stuff.

“Hopefully this day will make everyone think about their situation, learn about the various options and get their files backed up.

“I hope that World Backup Day sparks conversations about the enormous task of saving our digital heritage for future generations.”

With that in mind, Data Economy has gathered the views of ten industry experts to share their thoughts and concerns surrounding data backup best practices.


‘This World Backup Day, the stakes are raised’

Steve Lewis, CTO UK&I, Hitachi Data Systems


“With just a year to go before organisations operating in the EU must become GDPR-compliant, it’s now more important than ever for companies to focus on safely and securely storing organisational and customer data.

“The amount of data captured by businesses every day can be a huge asset, unlocking valuable insights and creating competitive advantage. However, this same information can also cause serious headaches for those tasked with securely storing and managing it – and GDPR is putting a time limit on the need to get this right.

“As a result, it’s no surprise that many organisations are looking to new solutions to help them navigate the regulatory landscape – with Data Protection Officers increasingly being hired to guide organisations and provide a bridge between the IT department and the boardroom, and companies looking for technology solutions to help them better manage and govern the data they hold.”


‘Data storage could cost companies $891bn by 2020.’

Ian Wood, senior director at Veritas


“Storing all data could cost companies as much as $891bn by 2020. This is a data storage cost that can be avoided and reduced considerably.

“When it comes to backup, simply investing in ever-greater storage capacity is not the answer. Recent research found that 41% of files hadn’t been modified in the past three years. In a 10PB storage environment, it would cost in the region of $20.5m per year to manage and retain 41% stale, redundant data.

“Today, most organisations struggle with exponential data growth. Many are hoarding every scrap of data, irrespective of value, on the off-chance it is needed in the future. Businesses should use World Backup Day to break this cycle.”


‘Encouraging backup one day a year is not the right approach.’

Jon Leppard, Director, Future Facilities


“Given the value of data to the modern enterprise, duplicating company data is undoubtedly good advice. However, the immediate call to action may not be so wise.

“A comprehensive backup policy should involve keeping copies of data on a local server or hard drive, but most importantly it should also be stored in an external location –usually a data centre. But even data centres have capacity limits on the volume of data they can store at any one time. If everyone were to back up at the same time there would be considerable pressure on network bandwidth and global data centre capacity.

“Data centre operators must ensure they have a backup strategy in place, in terms of predicting the impact of a sudden spike in demand. After all, backup must be failsafe, or it is of little value. With that in mind, maybe encouraging everyone to backup on one day of the year is not the right approach.”


‘Make sure you have a plan B.’

Peter Godden, VP of EMEA, Zerto


“If it hasn’t happened already, your data centre will experience a significance outage at some point in time due to a wide range of causes such as simple human error, common power failure, cyber attacks, or more catastrophic natural disasters.

“Talking in terms of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’ it happens is the first step towards building a more flexible and resilient IT infrastructure to withstand these types of disruptions that can negatively impact business performance.

“World Backup Day reminds IT and business leaders about not only the importance of having a plan B in place to keep businesses moving forward no matter what happens, but what technologies help enable them to work in an uninterrupted fashion.

“Business leaders are taking a holistic approach that leverages cloud-based technologies to support disaster recovery plans, complete with regular testing and automation to ensure ease of use and avoid business disruption.”


‘Resilience isn’t the same as recovery.’

Nigel Tozer, Solutions Marketing Director of EMEA, Commvault


“It may be April Fool’s day tomorrow, but it is very foolish to not place data management at the heart of every business regardless of its size. For a company to grow and succeed in today’s connected world, it must extract as much value as possible from its data, and look to new ways to collect and use data to provide customers with the best service possible.

“Many organisations are turning to the cloud as the enabler to do this, assuming that their data is protected as part of the service.

“On World Backup Day this year, I urge every business with data in the cloud to look at their contracts and see exactly what’s in the small print; it normally states ‘your data, your responsibility’. Resilience isn’t the same as recovery, and without backup tools in the cloud you can easily find yourself less well protected than you ever were with your on-premises systems.”

‘Physical space is not an issue.’

Jake Madders, Director at Hyve Managed Hosting


“No longer do companies have to worry about having the physical space to establish a backup location for data, using cloud servers and storage enables offsite backups that are protected from many issues that can arise on-premises.

“Company data is one of the most valuable parts of a business, but unfortunately loss of or damage to data can happen at any time.

“Investing in backup and replication from the production environment to a secure cloud computing environment should be a priority for every business. World Backup Day serves as a reminder that if it isn’t backed up, there is a huge opportunity for loss and that can have serious business repercussions.”


‘Object storage is your friend.’

Jon Toor, CMO, Cloudian


“Data backup and disaster recovery used to be treated as separate processes, which added complexity. But with object storage as a backup target you now have multiple options to bring backup and DR together in a single flow.

“You can configure a hybrid cloud and tier a portion of your data to the public cloud, or you can locate object storage nodes at different locations and use replication to provide geographic separation.

“So, this World Backup Day, consider how object storage has increased your options for meeting this critical need.”


‘Data protection should be your top priority.’

Jason Howells, EMEA Director, MSP Solutions Business as Barracuda Networks


“With ransomware now running rampant, initiatives like World Backup Day are a great way to highlight the importance of backing up. Although worrying, ransomware is at least helping to expose IT weaknesses and the extent to which small businesses manage their data in a cavalier manner.

“Backup and recovery may not have always been the sexiest of IT topics, but thanks to the rise of ransomware it is now one of the hottest. That’s because the single most effective defence against ransomware is an ability to recover an organisation’s data from another data source.

“Without backups in place, the majority of businesses simply wind up paying the ransom to recover their data. It’s not like these backup and disaster recovery technologies haven’t been around for a long time, it’s just that it has been hard to get businesses to focus on data protection until now.”


‘Data and functionality needs protection at all times.”

Richard Agnew, VP NW EMEA, Veeam


“In today’s connected world, businesses need to ensure availability to avoid a breakdown in operations. The recent AWS outage paints a clear picture that businesses cannot afford to have unavailable data. Not only does brand reputation take a toll, businesses are also left out of pocket.

“Organisations have become more aware of the dreaded ‘availability gap’ emerging –  which includes data loss, extended recovery times, unreliable data protection, and a lack of knowledge of the IT environment leading to unplanned issues and downtime.

“With AI, machine learning and the Internet of Things driving IT modernisation, it’s imperative that data and functionality is protected at all times.

“The boardroom discussions need to evolve from the backup and recovery strategy to availability. It’s high time for businesses to take action and introduce an IT strategy that ensures their business is Always-On 24/7.”