Failures and disruptions are a question of when, not if. This means you need a rigorous and dependable data protection plan in place for the inevitable loss of data.
With more and more enterprises relying on a remote workforce just to keep operating, it’s critical for IT teams to have strict data protection plans in place. These plans should include:
- Solutions that allow for secure network access to data
- Governance measures that ensure proper access to data sets
- Clear visibility and consistent monitoring of workloads using data
- Automated backups of all data or leverage multiple warm repositories
- Simple auditability for ongoing compliance management
- Integration to security solutions and processes
- Deletion or grooming of non-required data to lower potential exposure risk
Any enterprise that has not invested the time and resources into implementing each of these data protection measures is at risk of substantial data loss, downtime, and potential legal hassles associated with data breaches.
Having basic solutions deployed to satisfy compliance requirements does not lower risk to the business if it is not tuned and managed going forward. Continual testing and evolution of data management solutions is required to ensure minimal risk.
Another factor to consider in data protection is where the compute is executed from against the data. Data is slow and expensive to move, so having a solid roadmap for where workloads will be located is critical to designing the correct data protection architecture.
The levels of data protection maturity
While every enterprise has different needs when it comes to data protection, in our experience, there are three general levels of readiness. These are:
Level 1: High risk
Enterprises at this level are most at risk for data loss, hacks, and major disruptions. They have not classified their data and are not regularly conducting backups.
In addition, they lack actional plans for disaster recovery and data restoration if a major loss of data were to occur. In other words, if things break, they have absolutely no idea how long it will take to get up and running again.
Level 2: Medium risk
An enterprise has classified all of its data and follows best practices when it comes to governance and access.
That’s the good news. The bad news is that enterprises still at Level 2 tend to have no firm plans in place for restoration of data during disruptions, which risks their business continuity and can be financially catastrophic if and when data is lost or systems fail.
Level 3: Low risk
The Eagle Scouts of enterprises when it comes to data protection, companies at Level 3 have tiered their data based on relevance and follow best practices when it comes to governance and security.
These enterprises also conduct regular, automated backups and understand their own elasticity in dealing with failures, attacks, or outages. When things break, they know how to fix them and how long it will take for them to return to normal operations again.
Beyond these frankly base-level measures, Level 3 enterprises have avoided vendor lock-in, utilize hybrid cloud or multi-cloud platforms, and have fully integrated data into operational and security processes.
Finally, Level 3 enterprises deploy auto-scanning of datasets for sensitive data, leverage tokenization to remove sensitive information, and are vigilant about deleting data that is no longer needed.
Getting started on a data protection plan
Regardless of whether your data storage and backup is on premises, in the cloud, or in a hybrid environment, your first step in developing a data protection plan should be a calculation of your recovery point objective (RPO) and recovery time objective (RTO).
RPO is an estimation of the amount of data your enterprise can lose before it severely harms your ability to operate. RTO is the length of time one of your applications can be down before your bottom line begins to suffer.
Both of these are used to inform how often your enterprise needs to back up its data. As for the backups themselves, they need to be automated on a regular schedule, and all the data should be:
- Cleaned and categorized to make restoration as quick as possible
- Properly governed to ensure only those who need access to data are able to get it
- Complete so all the data you need is readily available whenever you need it
Is your business protected from data loss and corruption? Download our free eBook to learn how to develop a data protection system that keeps your data safe and secure.
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