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Closing the Protection Gap: Data Protection Must Be More Than a Box to Check

Closing the Protection Gap: Data Protection Must Be More Than a Box to Check

There are major gaps when it comes to business and IT, which should come as no surprise to anyone who has worked in either discipline. Four out of five organizations say there’s a gap between what business units expect and what IT services can deliver. And what’s more distressing, 82% say there’s an availability gap between how quickly they need systems to be recoverable and how quickly IT can bring them back.

With ransomware attacks on the rise, this is a serious consideration. Uptime Institute found that more than 60% of failures result in at least $100,000 in total losses, and 15% cost almost $1 million.

How can you ensure your backup strategy addresses these challenges?

A New Era of Data Threats

There are multiple threats to an organization’s data these days. Ransomware and cyber-attacks are on the rise. One report found that 85% of organizations had at least one ransomware attack in 2022 (compared to 76% in 2021).  

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In addition to ransomware, organizations face threats to their data via software bugs, planned and unplanned outages, data center failures and natural disasters. Then there are the infrastructure failures. For instance, if not bought in pairs, backup appliances generally have a single point of failure; however, buying two backup appliances costs twice as much. Also, they suffer a considerable performance hit while restoring data rather than backing it up.

Rethinking Backup Strategy for Better Data Protection

The common denominator for all these issues is that data needs enterprise-wide protection. Security can’t just be a box to check for compliance or audits; data security must also include backup and restore. However, even though many companies are diligent about backing up their data, 58% of backups fail

Not only do the majority of backups fail, but they are also under attack. As the occurrence of ransomware increases, 94% of attackers try to destroy backup repositories to make sure their victims can’t recover their data without paying the ransom. Attacks like this are at least partly successful 72% of the time. And even though 76% of victims admit to paying their attackers, one third still cannot recover their data. These statistics make the necessity of good backups crystal clear.

Tape usage also needs an upgrade. While tape still has a place in long-term archives and remote or and air-gapped backup copies, it still has issues for modern backup requirements.

Managing tape can be challenging since it requires regular data rewriting to keep tapes reliable long-term. Over time, tape drives may become outdated or lose vendor support, making it challenging or impossible to read tapes made on certain drives. These disadvantages of tape outweigh its lower cost. 

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Engage Key Stakeholders

As organizations work to modernize their data protection, support needs to come from the business unit. Business goals must align with IT, and vice versa. These two aspects of the business can find themselves at odds because they often have different goals and ways of achieving those goals.

For instance, the IT department’s focus on data security can impede the speed at which business gets done. So, it and business can come to loggerheads if there is not a clear channel of communication that results in shared goals and actions.

Silos are making this difficult, where IT and business expectations don’t match, and the lack of understanding of what the other does results in unreliable integrations, lack of visibility across technology stacks, and difficulty in scaling and optimizing efficiency. This must change so that each side can work together toward the good of the company rather than maintaining their own departmental fiefdoms.

Prioritizing Data Protection

Given all the possible threats to data security, organizations have to think and collaborate in new ways. Ransomware is the most visible threat, but many others lurk behind the scenes and within the infrastructure – from data center failures to software bugs. Closing the “protection gap” entails, first of all, a backup strategy that can withstand ransomware attackers and backup failure. This may involve an upgrade from tape or other methods of storage. And, business and IT teams need to come together to make a better backup strategy a priority.

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Taking this approach will  strengthen an organization’s data protection posture beyond merely checking a compliance box.

[To share your insights with us, please write to sghosh@martechseries.com]

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