Securo Blog

Just how valuable is your data?

Data Value

Just how much of an impact would losing your data have on your business? Have you considered the repercussions if your business was unable to recover a small amount, or even worse, all of your data? It is a subject that is more relevant than ever in a world where costs are tight and business stability is all the more important.

Yet despite this, it isn’t actually a subject many have spent much, if any, time thinking about.
The number of backup options now available is extensive, from the traditional tape based solution to disk and online alternatives. Whilst having a choice is beneficial it can be a minefield as vendors look to gain market share. Simply having options is not enough; you need to know what one fits. Factors such as cost, quality, reliability and security are obvious elements to throw into the mix.

What is clear is that online (or Cloud) backup is the way forward for the majority but whilst many vendors can provide the service, do they tick all of the boxes?

Let us start with one of the simplest but most critical questions any business should ask…Where is my data? The security blanket that some look for when choosing an on premise solution over Cloud is the knowledge that the data is in their control, using equipment they bought. An understandable perception if you value your data, but one that should not be a concern if you choose an online solution intelligently.

The term ‘you get what you pay for’ is relevant in Cloud offerings. The cheapest would usually indicate that shortcuts are taken on the type and quality of equipment your critical data may be sat on. Is that data in a secure location or replicated in the event of a failure? You also need to ask if that equipment is located in a suitable datacentre. It is not unheard of for providers to use the equivalent of a garden shed, so don’t be afraid to ask!

In a true disaster recovery scenario, you must be certain that you can retrieve your data when the worst happens. If the hardware or software is compromised to shave costs the chances of failure are much more likely and the risks are significant.

If your data backup policy is part of a disaster recovery plan you must be confident that your data is easily retrievable. Even if you don’t have a documented DR plan, the same message applies.

Another important question to ask is what form of replication is used by the provider. In essence, what is the backup to the backup. If lower quality of equipment is used, the chances of a failure are high. If you are trusting a third party to host and store your data you have to know that it is stored on reliable, replicated systems that offer minimal risk of data loss. Again, don’t be afraid to ask these questions.

Software is of equal importance. When you buy your own software, it is reassuring to know that is a Microsoft or Symantec that provides it. It offers familiarity and a sense of comfort that they are established market leaders. It shouldn’t be any different when selecting a backup solution. Research into who are industry leaders and check that the service providers hold relevant certification that reaffirms that they know what they are doing!

A further consideration that impacts any disaster recovery plan is testing of that plan. It is common that many businesses have a backup system in place that they believe is working. There is only one way of being sure and that is to perform periodic test restores. This is a simple yet easily overlooked factor of any backup solution, whether it is online or otherwise. Any provider must be able to demonstrate this process successfully.

The world is driving more and more towards a digital domination. Gone are the days of solicitors storing shelves of paper files in a basement. Even the smallest businesses now operate with PDF files or bespoke applications as the norm. A notable statistic recently published by Gartner is that 50% of companies that suffer a disruption from digital data loss go out of business within 2 years.
So when you determine how valuable your data is, ensure that you invest in a backup solution that matches that valuation.

About the Author

Written by Pete Hughes

Pete is currently Head of Product Management at Taylor Made Computer solutions. Pete has a strong "hands on" technical background that is crucial to his role in developing the TMCS product lines. Pete’s Technical experience includes VMware, Microsoft, Asigra, N-Able and Citrix technologies and is regularly seen at Managed Services and Hosting events in Europe and worldwide. When the time is available Pete enjoys a variety of water sports including Yacht racing and a passion for the mountains and anything that involves snow.