On December 14, 2020, nearly 70 million users were affected when a number of critical Google services went down for more than an hour. The outage highlighted both our daily dependency on essential IT services, which has only increased due to the pandemic, as well as the need to ensure that the critical services running across government, healthcare, finance and business networks always remain available. Ensuring this availability is a key mission behind World Backup Day, one that is especially relevant today.
A backup is simply a copy of critical files that ensures access in the event that the primary location is unavailable. When implemented along with a strong disaster recovery plan, data backups give organizations the chance to restart services quickly in case of a natural disaster or a cyberattack.
Backing up is a key part of robust cybersecurity planning, but especially in today’s world with a 25% uptick in ransomware attacks from 2019 to 2020. And while ransomware victims paid nearly $30 million to get their data back, backup data is the quickest and cheapest way to mitigate the damage and recover from this kind of attack. Backing up data is especially critical in healthcare, finance and government organization. From 2016-2020, about 91.8 million data records were stolen in ransomware attacks where the healthcare organizations either lost the data permanently or ended up paying attackers ransom to regain access to their data. With data backups, organizations can retrieve their crucial data and keep their critical health IT operations running.
There are a number of options for an organization deciding which backup method suits its purposes—Full, Differential, Incremental and Mirror Backup are some of the most common options, each with its own cost and benefit. A more important, and less-often asked, question for organizations however is which deployment option the organization prefers for its backup. The available options are:
- On-premises: This is preferred when the recovery time objective—the time taken to regain operations after an attack or network outage—is too short to involve off-premises elements. While it retrieves data and recovers IT services rapidly, disaster recovery is challenging in cases involving natural disasters and power outages.
- Cloud: This method comes with the benefits of scalability and lower capital investment costs. It is also more efficient during regional disasters and often comes with cloud-managed disaster recovery plans. The only catch is that organizations with strict data privacy regulations might find it difficult to adopt a fully cloud backup solution.
- Hybrid: With this method, the organization can decide to keep the production environment on-premises while storing the data backup in the cloud. While this ensures that critical data stays on-premises, it also ensures that the organization can leverage the scalability and diversification benefits of the cloud as well.
A strong backup and disaster recovery plan is a smart insurance policy that organizations need to protect themselves from data loss and its repercussions on their business. World Backup Day is a great reminder to align our priorities and get ahead of attackers with preemptive measures for a resilient IT infrastructure that can recover quickly from unforeseen outages.