Assumptions are always dangerous in business management, and one of the most problematic things for individuals to assume is that their data is secure. Organizations today rely on digital storage for their most important content, meaning that losses due to human error, intentional attacks or Mother Nature can permanently erase vital business components. It’s time for leaders to take another look back at their storage, with a special focus on data backup systems. Weaknesses in these solutions can turn a one-time catastrophe into a lingering and costly problem that haunts the organization for years. It’s not hard to see how storage can go very wrong.
“It’s hard to get a frame of reference for a whole data center being knocked out.”
How it feels to watch data disappear
USA Today columnist Christopher Elliott recently explained some relatively small-scale data loss stories, noting that these are the type of events that in extreme cases can take whole companies down. Reading about nothing but large loss incidents could fail to make an impression on leaders – after all, it’s hard to get a frame of reference for a whole data center being knocked out by a hurricane or flood. Elliott’s stories, though, are likely hit close to home for business executives. After all, who hasn’t left a digital device behind at some point? Understanding that the same kind of disappearance could strike corporate data is a stark realization.
Elliott gave one example in which his author Susan Solovic lost 150 pages of manuscript when her computer failed – one passerby’s soda dropped on the laptop, and all that work was gone. Individuals traveling without backups of their content may end up in these tense situations. Elliott quoted recent Acronis report which found that individuals love their data and put a high price tag on it – but they largely don’t back it up. If this philosophy applies to business data centers as well as individuals’ devices, there will likely be costly losses.
Fortunately for companies today, the simple solutions keeping personal devices and small projects safe scale up to the corporate level – namely, cloud backup is worth a look in both types of settings. Elliott spoke with IT field experts, with SymQuests’s Mark Jennings telling him that the cloud is a reliable place to put content. He noted that not only will the information remain secure in the cloud, backup times are comparatively low. Not just getting content back, but recovering it in a hurry could help firms cope with server meltdowns – such as the one that took down three months’ worth of Elliott’s blog posts.
Key information must exist in multiple locales
Tech Cocktail contributor Zaid Ammari recently made a case for offsite backup, stating that organizations must have many copies of their most important information to feel safe. He actually went beyond suggesting one backup and posited that there should be at least two copies of organizations’ valuable files. This may seem excessive, but the items in question are absolutely required for firms to keep functioning. Businesses that have to tell clients the digital documents regarding their interactions have been lost and can’t be retrieved are unlikely to meet with much sympathy.