March 31st is World Backup Day. This initiative, which started in 2011, aims to remind businesses and consumers of the importance of regular data backup.

Without adequate backup, businesses are at serious risk of financial and commercial loss. A 2017 survey by data protection firm, Storagecraft, found that IT professionals are most concerned about threats from ransomware and data held on mobile devices.

The survey also found that three areas represented risks to data security – hardware and system failure, human error, and viruses and malware. Mobile data is a high risk area with one industry estimate putting the value of data on a smartphone at $14,000.

Data loss is an increasing threat to the business as volumes grow and data becomes integral to marketing and customer service initiatives, as well as operational efficiency. Industry statistics indicate that 40 percent of businesses cease operations within one year of a critical IT failure. And, high profile data breaches can lead to heavy financial penalties and loss of customer confidence.

Move Backup to the Cloud

The challenge to IT teams is to protect that data. But, that’s no easy task when most enterprises anticipate 50 times data growth, according to Oracle. Backup is therefore an integral element of a data protection program and a business continuity strategy.

Some experts recommend keeping three copies of data, with at least one held offsite. That makes the cloud an important location for backup. Cloud backup removes the risk of data loss from problems such as fire, flood or power failure that could damage onsite backup systems. And data is easily accessible from the cloud by users on site, working remotely or working in temporary disaster recovery sites.

For cloud backup to be effective, the service provider must meet stringent security and privacy standards, particularly for data that is subject to industry regulation. Secure, reliable network connections are also essential to protect data in transit and ensure backup data is easily and quickly accessible.

Reduce the Backup Burden with Managed Services

For data held onsite, backup and storage management can be a time-consuming task. IT staff must ensure that all data, including data held by mobile users and remote workers is backed up regularly. They also need to ensure that the growing volumes of data do not lead to unnecessary storage of data that has no value.

The growing adoption of managed IT services can relieve IT teams of that burden. Experienced professionals take responsibility for monitoring and managing the performance and security of storage systems, servers and networks.

As part of the service level agreement, the service provider should carry out regular backup and security checks. Reputable managed service providers take a proactive approach to IT management, reducing the risk of data loss from unexpected system or network failures.

Implement a Data Protection Policy

Regular backup should be part of a wider data protection strategy that incorporates stringent policies on data access, storage and use. While implementing data backup and protection measures may put an additional burden on IT budgets, the cost is small in comparison to the potential cost of ransomware or regulatory fines.

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