Most will recognise that familiar feeling in the pit of your stomach when you drop your phone in a pool of water, or the frustration you feel as your computer unexpectedly crashes taking with it all your hard work from the day.

From a personal point of view, no one wants to lose their holiday snaps and sentimental data. It’s only after you fail to get it back that you promise next time you will be more careful and will backup those precious moments. From a business perspective the feeling is no different, and daily, organisations risk losing highly sensitive and customer data.

Without the correct backup procedures in place, the damage could be irreversible not just financially but also to the brands reputation. Data is arguably one of the most valuable assets to an organisation and has become regarded as a commodity, so backing up this information has never been more critical.

World Backup Day on 31 March acts as a stark reminder and gives us the opportunity to revaluate how data protection strategies are working. However, this year, in light of the current healthcare pandemic, not only are a growing number of employees working outside the confines of their offices in order to self-isolate, but we’re also seeing organisations actively enforcing work-from-home policies for all employees.

Some businesses may have actively embraced remote working previously and will have strategies in place to support with this, but there are others that are still finding their feet. This sheds an interesting new light on what was previously a popular, but by no means the most common style of workforce set-up, from the perspective of the IT team.

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To support with this remote working demand, it is essential that employees still have access to data – in the same they would in the office. Even if workers are using cloud applications that don’t heed boundaries, and therefore can be used no matter where those workers are located, the files and data they share could be anywhere too. This puts a glaring spotlight on the new backup challenges IT teams are facing.

World Backup Day: Ransomware-as-a-service

Firstly, even though work as we know it has changed for most businesses, ransomware propagators are still out there, awaiting a chance to utilise their skills for ill. We’re now seeing “ransomware-as-a-service” and much more systematic methods for infecting organisations. With data breaches constantly happening, the risk of your business falling foul of a bad actor is ever more apparent.

The impact ransomware can have on an organisation is no joke, and companies must manage their files and data, keep on top of available updates to their software and backup all their data to ensure that business can return to normal should a ransomware attack occur.

Regulators, the media and perhaps most importantly, customers, will be quick to turn on businesses that have not followed the proper steps to protect their data and allowed a breach to cause undue disruption.

World Backup Day: Secure your distributed workforce

Secondly, with a growing, distributed workforce, any organisation is at risk of data loss when it comes to content sharing and filing. If employees aren’t fully trained and using applications that enable secure sharing (for example Microsoft’s OneDrive), corporate content could be left exposed when shared through online services with lax information security, creating potential gaps in data protection.

Companies must give their workforces a solution that is easy to use but remains secure. Making things too hard usually results in people trying to circumvent process and using something that falls outside of your security umbrella.

Your IT teams must have visibility of the technologies being used, so that the data can be adequately protected. The current boom in remote working is an excellent opportunity to get ahead of where possible gaps could be and plug them before a problem arises.

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World Backup Day: Think about your disaster recovery plan

Beyond the challenges created by a distributed workforce, driven by the need to work remotely during this tumultuous time, we will no doubt start to see greater attention paid to the backup of data associated with containers this year, as they continue to grow in popularity.

In particular, companies will learn the importance of backup in this space – yes, high availability can be built into container infrastructure, but what do you do when you need to activate your disaster recovery plan? The process for backing up containers and related data will be different from the process to back up, for example, virtual machines. Think ahead and be prepared.

We’re set to see more challenges this year, certainly with the current conditions creating more opportunity for risk just as much as the changing technology landscapes. What will be interesting going forward as organisations re-focused on their risk strategies is that the current climate will inevitably be about ensuring that infrastructure and data is kept secure, even during times of remote working.


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