Due to burgeoning regulatory penalties and a seemingly interminable amount of threats, cyber security is a foremost concern for the contemporary enterprise.
Oftentimes, the most dependable protection involves combining methods and technologies to preserve the integrity of IT systems and their data. In this regard, an organizationâs security stack is often as important as its technology stack.
According to BackupAssist Chief Executive Officer Linus Chang, there is considerable advantage to topping the former with reliable, systematic backups to ensure business continuity.
âA few years ago, people were saying that backup is dead, people are moving to the cloud, itâs all about high availability and so on,â Chang mentioned. âBut these new regulations, and especially the onset of crypto ransomware, has really brought back the spotlight for having multiple layers of protection for data. Thereâs a lot of interest in keeping historical versions of data, and having backups as the last layer of protection should perimeter security fail.â
The advent of cryptographic ransomware makes for a compelling use case to preserve backup copies of information assets, and serves to highlight the various areas in which business continuity impacts the enterprise. Business continuity involves elements of cyber security, network availability, organizational risk, and disaster recoveryâmeaning that timely backups are assistive in each of these areas as well. Chang referenced an occurrence in which users âwere struck by ransomware and didnât have a proper backup system. They never got the data back and had to re-key in six weeks of data. Having backups would have minimized that to two, three hours maximum.â Modern backup systems are able to address instances of ransomware (and other types of malware) in three ways:
- ProtectionâProtective capabilities can help ward off ransomware or malware attacks.
- DetectionâScanning mechanisms enable the detection of any sort of large scale corruption or file system modifications typical of ransomware. Such routine scanning is a component of the backup process.
- ResponseâOnce ransomware or infected files are detected, backup jobs are ceased and prevented from running on those files. Alerts are sent to users notifying them of infected files.
Network availability is an integral aspect of business continuity, particularly in the event of security breaches or disaster recovery. Nonetheless, there are a few key differences between conventional high availability methods (which frequently involve redundancy and cloud failover capabilities) and those provided by timely backups. According to Chang, âHigh availability is about minimizing downtime. Commonly you would say three nines [99.9%], four nines [99.99%], five nines [99.999%] of availability. Over the course of a year you might be down for 20 or 30 minutes.â Backing up data can also decrease downtime in certain network failure events. Still, backups issue benefits in addition to availability. âBackup is about being able to restore whole systems to get back historical data,â Chang noted. âHigh availability only talks about the current version of data. It doesnât talk about being able to pull something back from two years ago.â Thus, when prompted by regulators or legal discovery measures for data companies may have possessed years ago, data backupsânot high availabilityâprovide ideal solutions. As such, backups are necessary for business continuity. âBusiness continuityâs all about the business and do they have the data when they need it,â Chang explained.
Viewed from a business continuity perspective, backups require a degree of flexibility to serve an ever evolving ecosystem of enterprise data needs. Cloud backups are usually the most common variety of backups deployed. However, there are certain situations in which backing up data to local, physical storage (typically on disk) is much more preferable to cloud backups. âIf youâve got small data sets, then absolutely itâs more feasible to put that data in the cloud,â Chang said. âWhen youâve got large datasets and complete servers that you need to get up after a disaster, you need to bring it back up for full metal disaster recovery, then itâs always faster to do that when itâs stored on a hard disk at your local office. Imagine downloading terabytes of data from the cloud. Itâs just too slow.â Other backup options involve cold storage backups, in which copies of data are âdisconnected from the computer and the network,â Chang commented. Best practices include storing backups in multiple locations, utilizing cold storage, and leveraging ubiquitous file formats as opposed to proprietary, vendor formats that are difficult to access once versions of software or files have progressed.
In addition to investing in measures to fortify perimeter security, itâs becoming more and more necessary to preserve data with backups for any variety of use cases. Doing so is instrumental to business continuity in all of its facets, which include high availability, risk, cyber security, and disaster recovery.