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Steps for securing business data begin with first identifying it

Lost data: Years of hard work can all be lost in an instant, with no chance of retrieval.

Image: © Jonathan Nackstrand, AFP
Image: © Jonathan Nackstrand, AFP

World Backup Day is coming up on March 31, 2013. This technologically-themed event was started by a group of concerned Internet users and tech enthusiasts in 2011. The initiative was led by Ismail Jadun, a digital strategy consultant from Ohio, U.S., and his friends.

The groups were inspired to create World Backup Day after reflecting on the fact that many people were not backing up their data regularly, and as a result, were putting themselves and their organizations at risk.

Consequently, the first World Backup Day was observed on March 31, 2011, and since then, it has become an annual event that encourages people to take action to protect their digital estate.

Data loss can occur due to a number of reasons such as hardware failure, software corruption, malware attacks, natural disasters, and even human error. The amount of money that businesses lose due to data loss can vary depending on various factors such as the size of the business, the industry, and the type of data lost.

Studies suggest that the cost of data loss can be significant, with some estimates ranging from thousands to millions of dollars per incident. The impact is especially acute for essential services like hospital, emergency responders, or military agency lost access to critical data.

Industry insiders like Carl D’Halluin, Chief Technology Officer (CTO), Datadobi says that the event represents an important day in the digital calendar, not least because it affects virtually every corner of the datacentre, across virtually every industry, around the world.

D’Halluin explains to Digital Journal: “Failing to backup your data can have catastrophic consequences, as a single hardware failure, cyberattack, or natural disaster can wipe out all your valuable information, leaving you with no way to recover it.”

Setting out the case, D’Halluin adds: “This means that years of hard work can all be lost in an instant, with no chance of retrieval. Even the cost of losing just a portion of your important data can be immeasurable, with potential financial, legal, and reputational implications that can last for years.”

In terms of developing a suitable strategy, D’Halluin  recommends: “Identifying the vital data that requires protection should be the first step in the process. But even if you know and can ‘describe’ what data must be protected, finding it has always been another matter – and you cannot backup what you cannot find.”

This is a key but intensive activity, as D’Halluin explains: “To effectively address this enormous and complicated undertaking, users should look for a data management solution that is agnostic to specific vendors and can manage a variety of unstructured data types, such as file and object data, regardless of whether they are stored on-premises, remotely, or in the cloud.”

As a further recommendation, D’Halluin adds: “The solution should be capable of evaluating and interpreting various data characteristics such as data size, format, creation date, type, level of complexity, access frequency, and other specific factors that are relevant to your organization. Subsequently, the solution should allow the user to organize the data into a structure that is most suitable for the organization’s particular needs and empower the user to take action based on the analyzed data. In this case, backup the necessary data to the appropriate environment(s). And, if necessary, the solution should enable the user to identify data that should be organized into a ‘golden copy’ and move that to a confidential, often air-gapped environment.”

D’Halluin’s parting words are: “To sum it up… Don’t let the nightmare of data loss become your reality – always backup your data.”

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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