World Backup Day: How to have a data protection strategy

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A good data protection strategy is one that allows data to be backed up in a manner that not only protects it but also ensures the ability to rapidly recover

Data – the mainstay of the digital economy – continues to grow not only in volume but also in value. Data is, however, as vulnerable as it is valuable, and World Backup Day on March 31st is a welcome reminder of the need to have a well-thought-out data protection strategy in place.

Given the valuable and sensitive nature of data, whether it resides in the public sector, healthcare, financial services or any other industry, organisations should of course, be thinking about backups every day of the year and not just on World Backup Day.

What makes for a good data protection strategy?

A good data protection strategy is one that allows data to be backed up in a manner that not only protects it from corruption, loss and theft but also ensures the ability to rapidly recover this asset with as little disruption to day-to-day operations as possible. To achieve that, organisations need a two-pronged approach: advanced, immutable copies of their data, and the ability to not just backup fast but to restore data rapidly and at scale.

The value of immutable copies is that they can’t be corrupted, deleted, modified or encrypted. This is especially important given the penchant attackers have for not just stealing but also changing sensitive information in order to hold data hostage and increase the ransom they can demand to give it back.

Immutable copies on the source storage system are also relatively easy to restore data, but depending on the situation that may not be enough.

The ability to restore at all from an attack is the primary goal

The ability to restore data at all from an attack is the primary goal but the speed of restoration comes a close second. Traditional tape or disk-based backups can, however, only be restored at a rate of a few TB per hour.

That’s painstakingly slow by modern standards and, depending on volume could result in hours or days of downtime, leading to an immeasurable financial and reputational loss for the world’s biggest businesses. On the other hand, the highest-performing flash-based solutions can restore data backups at speeds over 270TB an hour, enabling organisations to get up and running again with minimal negative impact.

Get to know your data

The final action in creating a good, sustainable data protection strategy is for organisations to gain a real understanding of their data.

What is it? Where does it reside? What is it used for? Which internal and external policies govern its retention? With that information in hand, businesses can draw up policies that avoid a “store everything forever” end-state and put processes in place to ensure that these policies are adhered to. With an eye on the future, they can now also properly plan to ensure that their backup and restore performance capabilities can grow in sync with the amount of data being protected.

Only by executing on a data protection strategy that checks these key boxes, can organisations sustain backups for recovery, regulatory and compliance, and ransomware mitigation purposes.

Fred Lherault, Field CTO EMEA and Emerging Markets at Pure Storage


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